Send the elevator back down


“If you’ve done well in the business that you wanted to do well in, then it is your obligation to spend a good portion of your time sending the elevator back down.”

– Kevin Spacey

Q: What keeps you going? What get’s you up in the morning?

KS: We had dinner one night on the beach.  We decided to play a game and the game was you had to describe the most important thing in life using one word.  So we went around table. You got health, wealth, family, money. It came to John Huston and he said “Interest.” “Interest.” “Interest” that’s the most important thing in life. And I feel that is something that I have adopted. The idea of being interested in things that I don’t know rather than things that I do know. Peeling back the layer again and again of putting yourself in situations that are challenging and new, that are compelling, and ask of yourself something different than you’ve ever done before. And sometimes this means doing things that scare you and things that you’re not sure you can succeed at.

I suppose that is why I have always loved the theatre and why I love doing plays over anything else. There’s a ritual to it.  There’s also this incredible thing about it where it’s like you are walking on a tight rope. Feeling like you have nothing below you but your faith in what you are doing, your appreciation of the words and the story the author has written and your trust in your fellow company members.

Q: Do you feel that taking risks gets easier and easier over time?

KS: I don’t think you stop being afraid…is this going to work? are they going to like it? is this going to get a laugh? It’s a kind of heart beat that is very very rapid. But over time you learn to deal with it better. It’s not that it goes away. The more you do it, the more you stand up, the braver you get about being able to stand up. When I do workshops with young people…it is about seeing what can happen to somebody when you use theatre and its artists as a tool to try to help somebody with their own sense of self-esteem and their own sense of collaboration and how they feel about themselves and their confidence. I recognize it because I was that kid. I was the shy kid in the corner…

I was a shy kid who had a dream about maybe wanting to be an actor. I’m in a workshop. At the end of the scene, Jack Lemon walked up to me and put his hand on my little 13-year old shoulder and said: “that was terrific. You are a born actor. I’m serious. You should go to NY and study. You were meant to do this for your life.” To be given that type of acknowledgement and praise was life changing…

We ended up doing three films together…Jack had this philosophy that I’ve adopted as my own…if you’ve done well in the business that you wanted to do well in, then it is your obligation to spend a good portion of your time sending the elevator back down.

See entire interview: Levo League Office Hours with Kevin Spacey

Credits: Quote – Swiss-Miss. Portrait:


  1. Further proof that my love for this man is not misplaced… 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. mgbemena91 says:

    I love this! What a nice piece and well put together.

    Visit to view my quotes,Inspirationals and other interesting stuff.


  3. Reblogged this on Executive Training Dubai.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Bright, shiny objects! and commented:
    While I try to never confuse the artist with the art, it’s nice to see something good about one of your favorites…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. and sexy as hell! MJ

    Liked by 3 people

  6. He fascinates me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Utterly my favorite actor of all time. Not only is he an incredibly gracious soul, but he has the uncanny ability to make me ‘forget’ he’s Kevin Spacey when playing any role. That is always my litmus test! Great post, David; thank you! Cher xo

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love it!!! I think I will send the elevator back down too! THank-you for these words of inspiration from an inspiring actor!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Very cool! Kevin Spacey hangin’ with John Huston! Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Reblogged this on THE STRATEGIC LEARNER.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. i love and agree with the concept of taking an interest in things that you may not know anything about or not be very good at. it’s how we grow.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Like everyone else here, I love this guy. How cool is it that he was the artistic director at the Old Vic in London, sending the elevator down and down and down.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This GREAT message was delivered so, um, well, well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. A little late to the party, but like the others, I am enamored of this gifted actor AND his message. If more people would commit to “sending the elevator back down,” just think how many would eventually be lifted up? Sigh….

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Well, I got a Hi dose of Wisdom. Hmm…

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: