Actors Kevin Spacey and Laura Linney attended a screening of their new film, The Life of David Gale, yesterday at Max Palevsky Cinema. The film was shown to a packed house that had waited in line for hours to receive tickets to the special event hosted by Doc Films.
The film, a thriller about a university professor and anti-death penalty activist who is convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to death, is scheduled to be released in February by Universal Studios.
“I enjoyed the film as a story, and feel that it accomplished what it intended to. It was a well done thriller,” said first-year in the College Allie Shapiro.
Fellow first-year Zack Linowitz was not of the same accord. “Had the movie not been a left-wing political punch at the right, there would not have been a sympathetic view towards the characters,” he said.
During the post-screening question-and-answer period, many students inquired about the filmmaking industry–in particular the actors’ contributions to the film outside of the studio, their preparation for roles, their acting education, and the effect of the political and moral views of the film upon the actors themselves.
The actors handled themselves with eloquence, humor, and wit as they were asked a range of questions–some about the death penalty, others about filmmaking and Hollywood. When an audience member made a grammatical mistake in the phrasing of his question, Spacey comically asked if he was to be an English major.
Several questions were directed at the actors’ own personal beliefs about the death penalty and how accurately they believed the film portrayed the issue. Both actors maintained that a great deal of research went into the film, which was not intended to take a side on the issue but rather act as a thriller that would provoke complicated questions about the issues involved.
Questions were also raised about whether Spacey and Linney felt compelled to use their fame to become activists about political issues. When asked what specifically attracted them to the film, both actors mentioned that they liked the script, and loved working with director Alan Parker.
One graduate student in the audience, however, was not as impressed as Spacey and Linney by the end product. “While it might have looked like a great script, the film’s intentions seem to have been lost in the final result,” Marianne Anderson said.
Avi Schaub, a fourth-year in the College and volunteer for Doc Films, perceived the event as a hit. “It was a really successful event. We had a great turnout, and both Laura Linney and Kevin Spacey spoke very well,” he said.