(Reuters) - Veteran British actress Judi Dench has criticized the decision to remove Kevin Spacey from a completed Hollywood film last year after the two-time Oscar-winning actor was accused of sexual misconduct.
The makers of “All the Money in the World” decided to reshoot Spacey’s scenes with actor Christopher Plummer stepping in to play the late U.S. oil tycoon Jean Paul Getty in the drama about the 1973 kidnapping of Getty’s grandson.
“I can’t approve in any way of the fact, whatever he has done, that you then start to cut him out of films,” the 83-year-old Dench told a news conference at Spain’s San Sebastian Film Festival on Tuesday when asked about Spacey.
“Are we to go back throughout history now and anyone who has misbehaved in any way, or has broken the law, or has committed some kind of offense, are they always going to be cut out?”
Spacey’s character was also written out of U.S. TV series “House of Cards” after more than 30 men accused him of making unwanted sexual advances.
Dench described Spacey as “a good friend” and “an inestimable comfort” when they worked together on 2001’s “The Shipping News” after Dench’s husband died.
“I don’t know about any of the conditions of it but nevertheless I think he is and was a most wonderful actor. I can’t imagine what he’s doing now,” Dench said.
Spacey became embroiled in controversy in 2017 when actor Anthony Rapp accused him of trying to seduce him in 1986 when Rapp was 14. Spacey apologized for any inappropriate conduct and has since stepped away from public life.
Los Angeles prosecutors this month announced they would not file sexual assault charges against Spacey in one case involving a 1992 accusation citing California’s statute of limitations.
A second case is under review by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office.
Spacey, 59, won an Academy Award as best supporting actor for 1995’s “the Usual Suspects” and another for best leading actor for 1999’s “American Beauty”. He also won a Golden Globe in 2015 for his work on “House of Cards”.
Dench won an Oscar for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love” and has been nominated for an Academy Award six other times. She was being honored with a lifetime achievement award at the San Sebastian Film Festival.
Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; editing by Jason Neely