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Six years after his career imploded amid dozens of sexual misconduct accusations, Kevin Spacey has set a return to theaters. The indie thriller Peter Five Eight is set to hit in limited release on March 22, 2024.
Invincible Entertainment CEO Thomas Ashley, who is backing Spacey’s attempt to resurrect his screen career after being found not guilty in a UK sexual assault trial in July, explains his reasoning for distributing the film, noting he hopes audiences judge the movie on its merits, and not the allegations of sexual misconduct dogging the House of Cards actor.
“The film deserves to be seen. It’s a great film. And I don’t believe the filmmakers deserve to suffer. And he has been found not guilty and he deserves a second shot, just like we all would,” Ashley tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Spacey stars in the feature as Peter, a charismatic man in a black sedan who shows up in a small mountainside community.
Ashley acknowledges some audiences will boycott the movie over Spacey’s sexual misconduct accusations and legal woes.
“He was acquitted and he went to court and stood trial. And I believe he should get a reprieve,” Ashley argues. “He’s already paid a heavy price for these accusations, a very heavy price. He lost roles. He lost stature. He was kryptonite for a while. He deserves a seat at the table again.”
The actor’s glittering four-decade career imploded in 2017 after more than 30 people came forward alleging inappropriate sexual behavior. The two-time Oscar winner was famously fired from Netflix’s House of Cards and edited out of Ridley Scott’s All The Money in the World and went without work for years.
But in recent years he landed a few roles in the low-budget indie world, including filmmaker Michael Zaiko Hall’s Peter Five Eight, which filmed in late 2021 and early 2022.
In October 2022, Spacey was found not liable in a civil sexual misconduct trial brought by actor Anthony Rapp. That was followed by his acquittal in a UK court case. He now faces no further legal action.
That’s opened the way for a traditional commercial release for Peter Five Eight to start with a theatrical opening in New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago and Miami. Ashley has hopes other cities may follow suit. Peter Five Eight will then get a home entertainment and video-on-demand release.
Invincible Entertainment has a history of releasing controversial films. In 2016, Ashley’s first theatrical release was Kevin Smith’s horror comedy Yoga Hosers, starred Lily-Rose Depp and Harley Quinn Smith and also featured Johnny Depp, the father of Lily-Rose Depp.
That movie, which Ashley also produced, arrived in theaters not long after Depp faced abuse allegations over his former wife, Amber Heard. “We have a lot of experience with cancel culture. We knew Johnny. We were very convinced he did not do what he was accused of. But the court of public opinion felt very different and our movie really suffered and our investors lost of a lot of money,” he recalled.
Peter Five Eight also stars Jet Jandreau as Sam, a glamorous real estate agent who is revealed to be unhinged and a troubled alcoholic with a dark secret, while Rebecca De Mornay plays Brenda, whom Peter targets for information at the urging of his powerful and shadowy boss, Mr. Lock. The mystery thriller is financed by Mad Honey and LTD Films and is a co-production of Ascent Films and Forever Safe.
While Ashley hopes Spacey will help market the commercial release for Peter Five Eight, he adds it’s up to the actor himself to make good with movie audiences who may not be ready to watch him on screen.
“I think Kevin needs to have that conversation with those people. He needs to reach out and in ways, he already has,” says Ashley.
Putting on his marketing and publicity hat as a distributor, however, he adds: “It’s important to get Kevin out in front of audiences again, to remind them he has this great talent. And Peter Five Eight is an amazing film and Kevin is fantastic in it.”