America’s political system has been a favorite subject of filmmakers for decades. The reasons are clear. There’s enough grandstanding, scandal, backstabbing and intrigue in a week on Capitol Hill to fill a season of any network soap opera. Take the latest entry into the genre. Casino Jack, in the early stages of a nationwide rollout, follows the real-life story of so-called super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff who served time in prison for defrauding four Native American tribes out of tens of millions of dollars and trading money and gifts for political favors from some of DC’s biggest power brokers. While the scandal landed public officials in prison, the film has landed Kevin Spacey a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) and very positive reviews for Barry Pepper as Abramoff’s protégé Michael Scanlon.
Pepper recently sat down with Collider for a wide-ranging conversation. Hit the jump for the interview’s full audio and transcript, including his view of Washington, whether he’d run for office, his wild experience on a new Terrence Malick film and his very thorough research to play Robert F. Kennedy.