"Peter Five Eight is a film for fans who care more for the art than the scandal."

The producers mounting an onscreen comeback for disgraced actor Kevin Spacey — who was charged Thursday with four new counts of sexual assault in the United Kingdom — have voiced support for the Oscar-winning star in the wake of the ongoing scandal.

"While it's unfortunate that increased negative press is timed with Kevin returning to work, it's also to be expected. There are those who wish for him not to act, but they are outnumbered by fans worldwide who await an artist they have enjoyed for decades returning to the screen," said the producers of Peter Five Eight in a statement to EW.

They continued, "The production has no knowledge or comment on the various swirling allegations, and believe it's a matter for the courts to determine validity if it exists. Peter Five Eight is a film for fans who care more for the art than the scandal."

Co-financed by Mad Honey and LTD Films as a co-production between Ascent Films and Forever Safe, Peter Five Eight — which was shopped this week at Cannes by VMI Worldwide, per The Hollywood Reporter — was filmed in California in early 2022, months before the Crown Protection Service announced the new sexual assault charges relating to alleged incidents involving three men in the U.K., per the Crown Protection Service.

Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey
| Credit: Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

"The charges follow a review of the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police in its investigation," CPS Special Crimes Division head Rosemary Ainslie announced Thursday in a statement, which also confirmed that Spacey was additionally charged with forcing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent. "The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against Mr. Spacey are active and that he has the right to a fair trial."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Peter Five Eight stars Spacey in the titular role, described as a charismatic man in a black sedan who shakes up a small mountainside community upon his arrival. Jet Jandreau, listed as a producer on the project, reportedly portrays Sam, a real estate agent with a troubled alcoholic past, while Rebecca De Mornay co-stars as Brenda, one of Peter's targets for information at the request of his mysterious boss, Mr. Lock.

Last year, Louis Nero, a producer of another Spacey-starring project The Man Who Drew God, told EW he wasn't fazed by the multiple allegations against the Oscar-winning American Beauty actor, including performer Anthony Rapp's accusations that Spacey made unwanted sexual advances on him when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26.

Throughout the accusations from more than a dozen people, Spacey has maintained his innocence. He later apologized to Rapp but said he did not remember the specific encounter.

"In Italy, we don't know details on everything, so we don't speak about what we don't know about," Nero said of casting Spacey in his film. "I cannot speak about these things. I only know that Kevin is a great actor. That was my concern, and no more than that."

Hear more on all of today's must-see picks, and what The Circle host Michelle Buteau is watching, on EW's What to Watch podcast, hosted by Gerrad Hall.

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