"CULTIVATE the appearance of contrition," the character Jack Lawson, a lawyer, tells a white client accused of raping a black woman in "Race," a new play opening on Broadway next Sunday. As uttered with don't-waste-my-time iciness by the actor James Spader, the clipped and merciless directive telegraphs not only that this is dialogue by David Mamet, but also that it is set in the kind of up-for-grabs moral universe that Spader characters have been occupying in Hollywood for years.
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Robert Caplin for The New York Times
From "Boston Legal" to New York stage: James Spader at Ethel Barrymore Theater, where he is making his Broadway debut in David Mamet's new play, "Race." More Photos »
The Creepy IdSlide Show
The Creepy Id
The New Season | Theater: We Can't Stop Talking About Race in America (September 13, 2009)
Times Topics: James Spader
Video Feature Trailer: 'Race' (RaceonBroadway.com)
Filmography: James Spader
James Spader in scene from one of his early films from the 1980s, "Pretty in Pink." More Photos >
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The sexy sleazes he played in the mid-1980s, most notably the preppy Steff in "Pretty in Pink," gave way to the twisted and perverse protagonists of "sex, lies, and videotape" (1989), "Crash" (1996) and his latest major film, "Secretary," in 2002. Then came Alan Shore, the outrageously sardonic, ethically cynical lawyer on both "The Practice" and "Boston Legal" on ABC. In that role Mr. Spader's instincts for dark, enigmatic characters grounded an entire performance, one that won him three Emmys.