Dame Judi Dench has spoken out in defence of disgraced actor Kevin Spacey, branding him a ‘good friend’, several months after a number of men stepped forward to accuse him of sexually harassing and assaulting them.
Speaking at a press conference in Spain while promoting her latest movie Red Joan on Tuesday afternoon, the 83-year-old actress also went on to slam bosses for replacing him with Christopher Plummer in the 2017 film All The Money In The World.
The screen star, who is currently attending the San Sebastian International Film Festival, bucked the recent Hollywood trend as she spoke fondly of the disgraced 59-year-old actor while addressing a room filled with journalists.
Speaking out in defence: Dame Judi Dench, left, spoke out in defence of disgraced actor Kevin Spacey, right, on Tuesday, as she attended Spain’s San Sebastian International Film Festival
Recalling the time after her husband Michael Williams’ 2001 death, she said: ‘I went to do The Shipping News with Kevin Spacey, and Kevin was an inestimable comfort and never mentioned he knew I was in a bad way. He cheered me up and kept me going.’
According to film industry publication Variety, she then went on to attack film bosses for removing the actor from all of his previously-shot scenes in All The Money In The World, and replacing him with Plummer in a matter of weeks.
‘I can’t approve, in any way, of the fact that — whatever he has done — that you then start to cut him out of the films,’ she said. ‘Are we to do what happened when he was replaced with Christopher Plummer? Are we to do that throughout history?
Fond memories: The British actress revealed that Spacey ‘cheered [her] up’ as they worked together on The Shipping News, shortly after the 2001 death of her husband Michael Williams
Enduring marriage: The legendary star had been married to Michael Williams for 30 years until his January 2001 death from lung cancer. Pictured together in June 1999
Good friend: Dame Judi, pictured with Spacey and co-star Rhys Ifans at the February 2002 London premiere of their film, said that she regarded the shunned actor as a ‘good friend’
‘Are we to go back throughout history and anyone who has misbehaved in any way, or who has broken the law, or who has committed some kind of offence, are they always going to be cut out? Are we going to extrude them from our history? I don’t know…’
The Oscar winner went on: ‘I don’t know about the conditions of it, but nevertheless he is, and was, a most wonderful actor. I can’t imagine what he is doing now… And a good friend.’
The conversation then progressed to the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, which rose to the fore in Hollywood, after a number of powerful industry figures were accused of sexual misconduct.
She said: ‘I think there are many things to be redressed and made right. It is an extraordinary moment of change, a sea change at the moment. And there are many.’
Hours later, Dame Judi made her way to Kursaal Palace, where she received the Donostia Award — the San Sebastian International Film Festival’s highest honour — as she was recognised for her widely lauded body of work.
Looking glamorous in a flowing black gown and diamonds, she was seen getting emotional and teary-eyed as she took to the stage while receiving a standing ovation from the well-heeled crowd gathered at the annual hot ticket event.
Dame Judi’s statements come weeks after it was revealed that Spacey will not face charges for alleged sexual assaults that took place more than 25 years ago, according to the Los Angeles County D.A.’s office.
Legal documents from the Los Angeles County District Attorney state that the actor will not be charged in cases that stem from allegations from the early ’90s, with the statute of limitations having expired at the end of that decade.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department had been investigating allegations made in 1992 against Spacey related to sex crimes.
A man claimed that Spacey forced himself onto him in West Hollywood and raped him, according to the District Attorney’s worksheet.
‘The reporting party alleged that he was the victim of a sexual assault by the suspect in 1992,’ the worksheet explained.
‘The allegation is outside the statute of limitations, therefore, an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence is not warranted and prosecutor is declined.’
Spacey is still under investigation for a case prosecutors brought forth last month.
The Oscar-winning actor was said to have sexually assaulted a man in Malibu two years ago, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.