updated 04/23/2004 AT 1:20 PM ET
•originally published 04/30/2004 AT 9:00 AM ET
Kevin Spacey owned the London stage once again on Thursday – only this time, he wasn’t in character, PEOPLE’s London bureau reports.
Looking dapper and confident, the two-time Academy Award winner (The Usual Suspects, American Beauty) announced the rundown for his first season as artistic director of The Old Vic Theatre Company.
But the subject at the jam-packed press conference – filled with reporters uncharacteristically showing a strong interest in culture – quickly turned to Spacey’s mysterious mugging in a London park last weekend.
“Now, before I begin,” said Spacey, 44, with his signature smirk, “I’d like to put to rest a rumor that has been spreading about town for the past few days which I think is entirely unfair. That is, that David Beckham offered to donate 100,000 pounds to The Old Vic if I would take him off the front pages for a few days.”
Beckham, a very married (to former Spice Girl Victoria) soccer hero, is currently making headlines for alleged extramarital affairs.
“Just to be sure, my plan is to text David myself – if someone will let me borrow their mobile, because I seem to have misplaced mine,” added Spacey, whose cell phone was reportedly snatched after the weekend incident, which Spacey says involved a con man he encountered while walking his dog at 4:30 a.m.
Attempting to put the topic to rest, he concluded, “I think I just heard the sound of a very large elephant leaving the theater.”
It didn’t leave for long. One tabloid journalist asked a cultural question, with a second part inquiring what breed of dog Spacey had. Spacey neglected to answer the second part.
The final question of the press conference went back to the alleged mugging. Spacey simply smiled, waved, thanked everyone for coming and exited stage right.