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.
Matt Damon has been cast to play Robert F. Kennedy in a biopic about the late politician. Deadline reports that the film will be based on the Evan Thomas biography His Life. Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) will direct from a screenplay by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises). The biopic will span Kennedy’s ascent from his brother’s shadow to a powerful nation figure before being assassinated during his 1968 campaign for President.
This may finally be Damon’s shot at a long-deserved Oscar. Obviously, I haven’t read the script and a million things can happen between now and the finished film, but on paper, you have a respected, talented, and bankable actor playing a larger-than-life American icon. The Academy becomes filled with tiny orgasms over that kind of project. While Damon was nominated this year for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of South African rugby star Francois Pienaar in Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, that doesn’t even begin to compare to playing Robert F. Kennedy. Damon is the goods and RFK’s story is worth telling so it falls to Ross and Knight to live up to the potential of this project.
Damon is currently set to star in Contagion for Steven Soderbergh, True Grit for the Coen Brothers, Hereafter for Clint Eastwood, and will next be seen in Paul Greengrass’ Green Zone, which hits theaters on March 12th.