"I actually got cast for this role on Facebook," he quipped to Niteside during a private screening in Washington last month. "It's true, which is why I love telling that part of the story."
The venerated actor was alerted to a post on director George Hickenlooper's Facebook page that said Spacey would be a good candidate to play the businessman who spent 3-1/2 years in prison for corruption. The pair began a Facebook friendship that they eventually parlayed into silver screen match-up.
“I immediately felt a kinship with George,” Spacey said of his director. “He was a remarkably enthusiastic guy -- loved film, loved politics, both the things that are inspiring about it and things that [are] frustrating about it, and I immediately decided that I wanted to do the film.”
Spacey said he was also intrigued by the prospect of meeting Abramoff in at the minimum security Cumberland, Maryland, prison facility where he was housed.
“I spent about 6-1/2 hours with him and George and he was incredibly generous," he said. "He was very open. He was very off-the-record. He was very willing to answer my questions about how things happened.”
The actor said he was more interested in Abramoff's emotional state rather than the facts surrounding his corruption allegations: “I wanted to know how things affected his relationship with his wife, with his family, with his co workers, his reputation.”
He added, “It was really, really helpful, and I walked away feeling I had met an extraordinary, extremely charming, very, very funny guy, and I could see why when he was at the height of his power he was as successful a lobbyist that he was."