Kevin Spacey: "Casino Jack" Reveals the Hypocrisy that Exists in Washington

Two-time Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey sat down with CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante to discuss his latest role as notorious lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the new film, "Casino Jack."

The film, directed by George Hickenlooper (who unexpectedly passed away in October at age 47), explores the inside operations of Abramoff and his side-kick, Michael Scanlon, as infamous lobbyists in Washington.

"I think the film is far more entertaining and far funnier than anyone could imagine it could be," Spacey said in the interview on Friday's "Washington Unplugged."

"I think what I had to try to do when setting up to play Jack Abramoff, was to in a sense, understand what he was going through, what was he being motivated by," Spacey told Plante. "Not to play a caricature of a villain but to humanize him."

Spacey believes that it was integral for the public to understand the processes of Abramoff's choices. "Even for people who do not like him, to try to make people understand how he could have made the decisions he made, use the bad judgment that he did and get caught up, in what I think, as a culture that is still very prevalent today," he said.

He also anticipates that the film will reveal a handful of the "double standards" that exist within the four corners of Washington. "There were a number of senators, including John McCain, who were sitting on that panel pointing fingers at Abramoff saying, 'You are the worst man that ever walked this Earth,' when they had been doing the same thing, in terms of taking money from Indian Casinos," he said. "I hope that shows some of the hypocrisy that still happens in this town."

Spacey also addressed whether there would be an audience for "Casino Jack" outside of Washington.

"The circumstances are so outrages, the choices that people are making you cannot believe, I mean you sit and watch these kinds of films and think, you couldn't write this stuff. Therefore, it is not such an inside film that people outside of the beltway won't enjoy," he said.

Watch Friday's full "Washington Unplugged" above, also featuring CBS News Correspondent Nancy Cordes on the new "Freshman Congressmen Class" and an interview with explorer Alexandra Cousteau.

Watch the complete extended run of the interview with Spacey below:


"Washington Unplugged," CBSNews.com's exclusive daily politics Webshow, appears live on CBSNews.com each weekday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Click here to check out previous episodes.

  • Cass Gundry

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