Kevin Spacey's many talents on the screen are appreciated by the film-watching world at large, but it's taken the director of a new documentary to highlight something else.
"I saw him sweat and strain night after night," remembers Jeremy Whelehan of Kevin's performance of Richard III, which the Oscar winner took on the road in a travelling production that took him from London to New York via China, Australia and Epidaurus, the Greek cradle of live theatre.
"He was charging around the stage - it was exertion both vocal and physical, and he had an extraordinary determination never to let that energy falter, for the better part of a year," remembers Jeremy.
"And because he set the bar so high, it kept the rest of the company at that same level."
The result of such efforts is captured in 'Now: Waiting in the Wings on a World Stage', with Jeremy following the cast and crew through the exertions of rehearsal, the nerves of opening night, the intimacy of a travelling performance company and the sadness of saying goodbye at the end.
"The combination of Kevin Spacey, Sam Mendes (producer) and live Shakespeare, was a big sell for me," says Jeremy. "And there were no restrictions on what I could film. Live theatre can be seen as an exclusive world, but I wanted to go behind the curtain, and show what's special about that community."
Jeremy succeeds, with footage including the company relaxing in the Mediterranean - Kevin relaxed on a boat at the heart of the company - and rolling down sand dunes in Qatar, Kevin included.
At the heart of the film, however, is the paradox of live theatre - although Jeremy is capturing these images forever, the production itself is gone, instant but ephemeral, to be wiped away like the sand mandala in the Chinese temple also visited by the cast and crew on their travels.
"One of the actors in the cast is Steven Lee Anderson, who'd been very ill before the play, and I think he got it exactly right," reflects Jeremy on this contract between what is permanent and not in the film.
"He says during the film, 'The past is gone, The future you have no control, all you have is now.'"
And judging by the camaraderie and intensity caught on film, the company were living every second.
'NOW: In the Wings on a World Stage' is in cinemas now and available to download via nowthefilm.com. Watch the trailer below...