Kevin Spacey was once a “geeky” kid.
The Oscar winning star — who recently starred in Horrible Bosses with Jennifer Aniston and Colin Farrell — admitted he had a tough time in junior high when he was mocked by his classmates for wanting to be an actor.
Speaking at the launch of the Amex Be Inspired campaign in London Thursday, Spacey, 52, said: “I like working with these kids at the Prince’s Trust because I was one of these kids once upon a time. When I was growing up and I know sometimes this can be hard for people to imagine after you become successful that you were ever at one point in your life shy and had a difficult time expressing yourself, but that was me when I was in junior high. I was the drama geek that people made fun of in school.
However, Spacey’s life turned around when he got the opportunity to take part in a drama class with his idol Jack Lemmon, and he hasn’t looked back since.
He explained: “I was lucky because I got this incredible opportunity through my drama class, because I got to take part in a theater workshop being run by one of my idols, the incredible Jack Lemmon. I was 14 years old, and I cannot tell you what it meant to me as this young kid with a dream of being an actor, but hadn’t had the experiences that gave me a sense of confidence but after I finished doing a scene, Jack came up to me and goes, ‘That was terrific kid, you should be doing this professionally. What’s your name?’
“It just gave me this incredible sense of, ‘Wow this person I admire so much has just praised me,’ and it just shows what can happen when adults can say just the right thing at just the right moment to a young person. Without question it changed my life and amazingly 13 years later I got to play the role of Jack Lemmon’s son in a Broadway production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night which was one of my first big parts. One of the things Jack said consistently was that if you’ve done well in the profession that you want to succeed in, you have a responsibility to send the elevator back down and help those on the way up and I always thought that was a really succinct way of putting it and that’s what I try to do – send the elevator back down.”
For more information or to get involved and share an inspiration visit amexbeinspired.co.uk. Alternatively tweet your inspiration to @AmexBeInspired or by using #AmexBeInspired. 50p will be donated to The Prince’s Trust for each tweet.