Dame Judi Dench has said she believes it was wrong to remove Kevin Spacey from one of his recent films in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.
Speaking at a film festival in Spain, the actress described Spacey as a “wonderful actor” and a “good friend”, according to Variety.
Spacey had a prominent role in Ridley Scott’s All The Money In The World, but was cut from the film and replaced by Christopher Plummer as allegations against him emerged in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal last year.
“I can’t approve, in any way, of the fact that – whatever he has done – that you then start to cut him out of the films,” said Dench. “Are we to do what happened when he was replaced with Christopher Plummer? Are we to do that throughout history?
“Are we to go back throughout history and anyone who has misbehaved in any way, or who has broken the law, or who has committed some kind of offence, are they always going to be cut out? Are we going to extrude them from our history? I don’t know.”
She added: “I don’t know about the conditions of it, but nevertheless he is, and was, a most wonderful actor… and a good friend.”
Dench attended the San Sebastian International Film Festival to receive the Donostia Award – the festival’s biggest prize for an individual – and to promote her latest film, Red Joan.
She made the comments about Spacey after being asked about moments in her career that she remembers fondly.
Recalling the death of her husband, Michael Williams, in 2001, she said: “I went to do The Shipping News with Kevin Spacey, and Kevin was an inestimable comfort and never mentioned he knew I was in a bad way. He cheered me up and kept me going.”
It is not the first time the Oscar winner has spoken about the allegations.
In November last year, she told Sky News she found the controversy “very hard” as “great friends” were being accused.
“It is scandalous but it’s very hard when a lot of people concerned are great friends of yours,” she said.
“I feel loyal to them and at the same time I feel appalled by what has happened to a lot of young actresses who had no way of getting out.”
At the San Sebastian festival, Dench went on to speak about the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, saying there were “many things to be redressed and made right”.
“It is an extraordinary moment of change, a sea change at the moment. And there are many more parts for women, which is very good indeed, and long may that go on.”