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Spacey set for ‘Superman’ sequel

Actor to play Major Banks in Moran's 'Telstar'

Kevin Spacey will return as Lex Luthor in “Superman: Man of Steel” and appear in “Telstar,” Nick Moran’s film version of Moran and James Hicks’ 2005 darkly comic West End play about flamboyant ’60s record mogul Joe Meek.

“Superman” director Bryan Singer met with Spacey in New York while the latter was appearing on Broadway in Eugene O’Neill’s recently wrapped “Moon for the Misbegotten.” Singer was about to pitch his “Man of Steel” sequel to Warner Bros.; “Superman Returns” scripter Michael Dougherty is now writing the screenplay.

After Singer completes “Valkyrie” and “The Mayor of Castro Street,” he plans to start production on “Man of Steel” next year for a 2009 release.

Spacey hopes to shoot his Luthor role in a six-week block, as he did on “Superman Returns,” after he completes his run in David Mamet’s “Speed the Plow” in April.

This week, Spacey joined the cast of “Telstar,” which started filming Monday in London. Meek is the gay, tone deaf songwriter-producer who produced hits including “Have I the Right,” “Just Like Eddie,” “Johnny, Remember Me” and the instrumental “Telstar.” Con O’Neill reprises his stage role as Meek; Spacey plays his financier, Major Banks.

“It’s exciting to be part of my first British ensemble film,” Spacey said.

Spacey, who has eight years remaining on his 10-year contract as artistic director of London’s Old Vic Theater, corrected recent Internet stories announcing his retirement from film acting in favor of the stage.

“My priorities have changed,” he admitted on the phone from London. “Theater is the No. 1 thing in my life. But I love movies and will continue to make movies when I can.”

In a June interview with “London Tonight” on Brit net ITV1, about a deal with Sam Mendes for the Bridge Project between the Old Vic and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Times of London quoted Spacey as saying, “I don’t care about my personal acting career any more. I’m done with it.”

On Tuesday, Spacey told Daily Variety, “In no way did I use the word retirement. Someone else pulled that out of thin air. It’s false, there’s not a lick of truth to it.”

Spacey has two films in the can: David Dobkin’s comedy “Fred Claus,” which Warner Bros. will open Nov. 9, and Robert Luketic’s “21,” in which he plays an MIT professor who teaches his students to count cards. Latter is set for a March release by Columbia Pictures.

Spacey has also recorded two songs for a tribute CD to Dean Martin, “Forever Cool,” which EMI will release on Aug. 14.