Kevin Spacey will no longer be starring in 1242 – Gateway to the West, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The news of his departure from the film comes on the same day as a date was set for his U.K. sexual assault trial. On Thursday, the two-time Oscar winner pleaded not guilty to five charges against him, which includes four counts of sexual assault against three men dating back to 2005. Justice Mark Wall, who was overseeing the hearing at London’s historic Central Criminal Court, set the trial date for June 6, 2023.
The actor had been set to star in 1242, a historical Genghis Khan drama that was one of two Spacey-starring features shopped at the 2022 Cannes film market in May. Directed by Péter Soós, the cast also includes Eric Roberts, Christopher Lambert, Neil Stuke and Genevieve Florence.
The search to replace Spacey, who is the only actor featured on the movie poster, is underway and will be announced shortly, film producer Bill Chamberlain tells THR.
1242, which is in pre-production, is backed by Hungarian financing and had been set for production in October 2022, Carlos Alperin of Galloping Entertainment, which has been selling the global rights to the film, told THR when the project was announced. Alperin added at the time that Spacey’s acting fees were being held in escrow ahead of the production start date.
The synopsis of the film reads: “When Genghis Khan’s army invades Europe in 1242 it doesn’t expect that a Hungarian castle and a canon will stop it. When the Kingdom of Hungary’s army was annihilated by the Mongols at the battle of Mohi, only the castle of Esztergom now stood in the Mongolians’ way of invading the rest of Europe. Khan Batu, the grandson of Genghis Khan, reaches the walls of Esztergom with his invincible troops. The castle’s defenders, led by Eusebius, the Canon of Esztergom, and a Spanish mercenary, Captain Simon, are preparing for the final battle. The sudden arrival of Cardinal Cesareani, the Papal Legate, coinciding with the Mongol Lunar New Year celebrations and the mystical practices of Eusebius, combine to offer the defenders a small glimmer of hope.”
Spacey is also set to star in Peter Five Eight, with those film producers continuing to back the Oscar winner amid the new charges, as the House of Cards star attempts to resurrect his acting career following the #MeToo-era sexual misconduct allegations that derailed his TV and film roles. The mystery thriller, also shopped at the French film market, is financed by Mad Honey and LTD Films and is a co-production of Ascent Films and Forever Safe.
Spacey remains on unconditional bail until his London trial, allowing him to move freely in and out of the U.K.