Actress recalls the controversial actor "gently holding" her before filming an intimate scene.

Mena Suvari has opened up about a "weird experience" during the filming of her 1999 Best Picture-winning movie American Beauty with now-controversial actor Kevin Spacey.

The 42-year-old performer recently told PEOPLE about a particular interaction she had with Spacey, — who, in October 2017, was accused of sexual misconduct against a then-14-year-old Anthony Rapp, among multiple other allegations. Despite that interaction, Suvari said she still "trusts" Spacey.

Suvari says Spacey wanted to help her prepare for the shooting of an intimate scene by bringing the pair together to "lay on the bed very close to one another," she recalls. "He was sort of gently holding me. It was very peaceful but weird and unusual."

AMERICAN BEAUTY, Kevin Spacey, Mena Suvari
Mena Suvari recalls 'weird and unusual' encounter with Kevin Spacey on 'American Beauty.'
| Credit: DreamWorks/Courtesy Everett Collection

After Rapp's allegations broke in 2017, Suvari said publicly: "My heart goes out to anyone who suffers abuse."

In her new memoir The Great Peace, Suvari explains that, at the time of filming American Beauty, she was "living a double life" as she dealt with lingering trauma from personal experience with sexual abuse.

"Every time I would go on a set. Every time I was interviewed, I was acting the whole time. It was another role for me to play. That I was okay," she told the publication of playing the part of Angela, a teenage cheerleader who serves as the object of Spacey's character's passionate obsession. "It was a beautiful experience, being given the opportunity to work and express myself right when I needed to save me."

After Rapp's story went public, Spacey addressed the allegations by coming out as gay, explaining that he did "not remember the encounter," but if he did behave the way Rapp says, he owes him "the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior." EW did not receive immediate responses to inquiries about Suvari's recent quotes, sent to Spacey's lawyer and to the actor's direct contact listed on his website.

Spacey would go on to win Best Actor for his role in the Sam Mendes-directed American Beauty, while Suvari scored a Best Supporting Actress nod at that year's BAFTA ceremony. Spacey has only booked a single acting job since the allegations of misconduct surfaced against him: A role in Franco Nero's upcoming film The Man Who Drew God.

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

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American Beauty
  • Movie
  • 121 minutes

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