Spanking Good Role
Man: Like the movie 'Secretary,' James Spader himself defies expectation
- By Devin Gordon
7 issue - So James Spader is starring in a weird, kinky sex movie?
You don't say. What a stretch.
THE 42-YEAR-OLD ACTOR has made a career out of carnal deviance, most
famously in 1989's "sex, lies and videotape" and most notoriously
in the 1996 cars-and-copulation fantasy "Crash." In "Secretary"
(review) the fetish du jour is S&M, but the office romance in
question is so unexpectedly sweet it feels unlike anything Spader
has done before. "The two of them seemed so innocent to me,"
says the actor. "[Grey] is really struggling away at life to
no avail. And I just liked seeing someone taken so by surprise by
Like the movie, Spader himself defies expectation. On screen, he's
usually playing Yuppie scum. In life, he's more like a soccer dad.
Spader is intensely private and so far out of the Hollywood loop he
lives in Massachusetts. It has been years since his name was on everyone's-or
anyone's-lips, partly because he's landed himself in some terrible
movies like the sci-fi dud "Supernova," but also because
he works only when he needs to. "I like making films," he
says, "but ultimately, I just wasn't willing to give up my life
to it." He speaks fondly, and protectively, about "my two
boys," Sebastian, 13, and Elijah, 10, who are still waiting for
their father to make a movie they can actually go see. "I guess
I'm a firm believer in the separation of church and state," he
says, laughing. "I've often thought I might like to do a film
they'd enjoy, but then I end up choosing something for my own selfish
reasons." That's OK. In 10 years, they can rent the video, watch
Spader deliver loving whacks to Maggie Gyllenhaal's rump, smile proudly
and say, "That's our dad."
2002 Newsweek, Inc.