The multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Kevin Spacey were not an issue when it came to casting him in the upcoming film L'uomo Che Disegnò Dio (The Man Who Drew God), according to producer Louis Nero, who also insists the movie does not involve pedophilia, as has been reported.
"In Italy, we don't know details on everything, so we don't speak about what we don't know about," Nero tells EW exclusively. "I cannot speak about these things. I only know that Kevin is a great actor. That was my concern, and no more than that."
Since 2017, Spacey has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple men, including fellow actor Anthony Rapp, who alleged that Spacey made unwanted sexual advances toward him when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26. Spacey apologized publicly to Rapp, though the former said he did not remember the encounter, which allegedly took place while Spacey was intoxicated. At least 15 more men have voiced similar complaints against Spacey since Rapp first spoke out, though none of the accusations have led to successful criminal prosecutions. (One case was voluntarily dismissed due to the accuser's unavailability, and two were closed in 2019 due to the accusers' deaths.) Spacey has always maintained his innocence.
The Man Who Drew God, based on a true story, is set in 1950s Italy and tells the story of a blind man named Emanuele who has the gift of drawing portraits of people in front of him by hearing the sound of their voice. The lead role will be played by Franco Nero (no relation to Louis), who will also serve as director.
Amanda Edwards/WireImage Kevin Spacey in Beverly Hills in 2015
Emanuele meets a young girl of African descent and becomes "like a grandfather to her," Louis Nero says. He adds emphatically, "It does not involve pedophilia, as I've read in the media. This is wrong."
Spacey joined the cast as a detective with a connection to Emanuele. Louis says the collaboration with Spacey happened "very naturally." The actor liked the script and expressed his admiration for Franco's work. "So he said yes," Louis says. "He was a very easy, easy man [to deal with]."
And the feeling is mutual, according to the producer. "Both Franco and I think Kevin is one of the best actors of a generation," he says. "We don't want to go into the private matter. He's still a great actor."
Louis confirms that filming on the project has already begun in his native Turin — though Spacey has not yet been on set — and he's hopeful that editing will be complete by September.
If the film is completed in the fall, a 2021 debut might be possible. "I hope the same attention that has been given to the start of the project continues throughout so we will be able to show it around the world," Lousis says. "I think that would be great."
Franco's wife, Vanessa Redgrave, was rumored to appear in a small "but loving role" as a piano teacher for the blind, but a representative for the Oscar-winning actress told EW in a statement on Wednesday that Redgrave will not appear in the Italian film.
"Vanessa Redgrave's name is being included in recent stories relating to the casting of the upcoming film, The Man Who Drew God. While there have been discussions about the possibility of her joining the cast, she will not appear in the film," the statement said.