EXCLUSIVE: Australian League legend Ian Roberts says working with Kevin Spacey made him ‘uncomfortable, angry’

Kevin Spacey. Photo: Getty
Kevin Spacey. Photo: Getty

FORMER rugby league champion Ian Roberts has described how his experience working with Kevin Spacey left him “uncomfortable and angry”.

Roberts played for South Sydney and Manly during his 12-year league career, and in 1995 became the first high-profile Australian team sportsman to come out as gay.

Spacey was one of Hollywood’s most respected actors until a raft of accusations of sexual impropriety recently surfaced, firstly from actor Anthony Rapp, who alleged Spacey tried to seduce him when he was aged 14.

Since then further allegations of improper behaviour have emerged, 16 from former male staff of London’s Old Vic Theatre, where Spacey served as artistic director for 11 years.

Roberts appeared with Spacey in the 2006 film Superman Returns, which was shot in Sydney.

Kevin Spacey (front) and Ian Roberts (third from right) on the set of Superman Returns.

The film was directed by Bryan Singer, who also directed Spacey in the 1995 film The Usual Suspects.

Students at the University of Southern California’s film school recently started a petition to have Singer’s name removed from the school after allegations of improper behaviour were aired.

Roberts said Spacey and Singer appeared to be close on set.

But he said his experience shooting the film was not all he hoped it would be.

“I was really quite excited about working with Kevin Spacey,” Roberts said.

“I was on set five or six weeks with him, in close proximity – I played basically his bodyguard in the film, so all the scenes I was in, he was in.

“But he was a very difficult person to like.

“Plus, Bryan Singer the director has also got a dubious past.

“Bryan’s history is quite dark.”

Ian Roberts during his playing days. Photo: Getty

According to Roberts, he was reminded repeatedly that Spacey’s sexuality was not a topic for discussion.

“I thought everyone knew Kevin Spacey was gay, I didn’t know it was a secret,” he said.

“He’s camp as a row of pink tents.

“I didn’t know it was one of those things we couldn’t talk about on set.

“I got reminded about that.

“I was like ‘really, we’re actually supposed to play dumb here? You’ve got young men, late teenagers, hanging around your trailer’.”

Spacey issued an apology of sorts after Rapp’s allegations surfaced, claiming he could not remember the incident and declaring that if it had happened it would have been due to excess alcohol consumption.

He also used the statement to come out as gay.

“I didn’t think there was a bad way to come out – but he f***ing found it,” Roberts said.

Spacey’s coming out drew fire from many quarters, with Star Trek and Heroes actor Zachary Quinto one who criticised the Oscar winner.

Roberts said that after his experience on the set of Superman Returns, he did not find the allegations about Spacey at all surprising.

“Does that surprise me? No, not at all,” he said.

 

“That abuse of power and position, it does not surprise me at all that he’s been accused of that.”

Roberts said men who abused their power for sexual gain angered him.

“I’m as gay as you get,” he said.

“They claim to be gay, but they use the word very loosely.

“They’re not your average gay men.

“The abuse of power with very young men, it’s such a discrepancy – it’s not just the age difference, it’s the power difference.

“It reflects badly on all gay men.

“I just get so angry at men like that.”