According to Slash Film, Schrader expressed the sentiments in a Facebook post, where he said that he felt the disgraced star would be perfect for a script he'd read.
"I was sent a script yesterday. A very very very good script which screamed Kevin Spacey for the lead. I told the producer I'd direct it if they would make it with Kevin. The producer responded that that was not possible," he wrote. "I believe there are crimes in life but no crimes in art."
"Spacey should be punished for any crimes his actual person created. But not for art. All art is a crime. Punishing him as an artist only diminishes art," Schrader continued. "Put Celine in jail, put Pound in jail, punish Wilde and Bruce if you must, but do not censor their art."
The writer/director put out a new film this year, First Reformed, and many have cited it as an Oscar contender. His new comments, however, have some speculating if this will hurt the film's chances for awards.
(Sigh)...this is just wrong. Kevin Spacey should be in a courthouse, not a movie set. I can't disagree with this more, and yeah, this will definitely hurt First Reform's FYC campaign for sure //t.co/5ILseco63i— Billy Business (@billyapatterson) November 30, 2018
"(Sigh)...this is just wrong. Kevin Spacey should be in a courthouse, not a movie set. I can't disagree with this more, and yeah, this will definitely hurt First Reform's FYC campaign for sure," film journalist Billy Business tweeted.
"A24 [the production studio for First Reformed] has been running a flawless FYC campaign for FIRST REFORMED but then Paul decided he was going to log onto Facebook," journalist Kevin O'Keeffe jokingly added.
A24 has been running a flawless FYC campaign for FIRST REFORMED but then Paul decided he was going to log onto Facebook— Kevin O'Wreath 🎄 (@kevinpokeeffe) November 30, 2018
Notably, this is not the first time that Schrader has made controversial statements about someone in his business who was also accused of sexual assault.
In 2017, after Harvey Weinstein first faced claims of rape and harassment, Schrader spoke out about the Hollywood producer but seemed to focus his ire on a different aspect of Weinstein's personality.
"Of course I knew Harvey Weinstein was a sexual gangster. So did most people who crossed his path. It was an odor that preceded him," he wrote in the statement which was also posted to Facebook. "That's not what offended me most about the man."
"It was the fact that he purchased films by both Bernardo Bertolucci and Wong Kar Wai and then recut them," Schrader continued, as reported by Variety. "TWC offered to purchase Bret Ellis and my The Canyons on the proviso that Harvey could recut it — Why would Bret and I, I screamed into the phone, undergo the sacrifice of self financing a movie only to let an a—hole like Harvey recut it?"
A24 does not appear to have provided a comment on Schrader's controversial statement, at this time.