Kevin Spacey Recounts the 2000 Election and Talks Hollywood Politics

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," May 22, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


DENIS LEARY, ACTOR: It actually added 3,000 votes to Bush's total and subtracted thousands of votes from Gore. They went backwards. I mean, Gore's count right now is negative 16,000 in that county.

KEVIN SPACEY, ACTOR: So what are the real numbers?

LEARY: Well, when you recalculate the entire state, we're down by less than 15,000.

SPACEY: So it's a machine recount?


ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: That was clip from the new HBO movie "Recount." The film covers the controversial Florida recount of 2000 and premiers this Sunday on HBO. Yesterday, Sean and I had the opportunity to sit down with one of the film's stars, Kevin Spacey.

Video: Watch Part 1 of the interview I Watch Part 2 of the interview


COLMES: Welcome, Kevin Spacey. Very nice to meet you. Thanks for — for doing the show.

SPACEY: Thank you.

COLMES: Thank you very much. So "Recount," I mean, this really tells the story about what happened in 2000. You play Ron Klain...


COLMES: ... a key Gore advisor.

SPACEY: Yes. Ron, actually, it's funny. I knew Ron Klain for years. I did a lot of work over the years for the Democratic Party and for the Clinton administration...

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: I'm sorry to hear that, by the way.

COLMES: ... alienated...

SPACEY: We haven't started with you yet. Just sit down.

COLMES: Thank you. Could I have you here every night to say that?

SPACEY: I actually — in the second inaugural I hosted the Tennessee ball...


SPACEY: ... for Al Gore. And I spent the afternoon in Ron Klain's office. I could never imagine that years later I'd be playing him. But in a weird way, he is sort of the perfect figure in this whole recount to sort of be the focus of the movie. The truth is, you do follow the Democrats, because it is an underdog story. And the truth is they were always the underdogs in that 36-day battle. And really, what I liked about Klain and what I discovered about him and the process of what happened in that 36 days was really, at the end of the day, it wasn't so much about Al Gore. Of course, that was his candidate. But it was more about Ron Klain's feelings that it was about the process.

COLMES: Gore's not a big part of this movie?

SPACEY: No, actually, Gore and Bush are kind of ghosts in this film. You only really see them from behind or you hear their voices.

COLMES: You were at a screening with — and Klain was there.

SPACEY: Yes, yes.

COLMES: That's got to be sort of — does that get under your skin, the guy's watching you do him?

SPACEY: Well, he seems pleased about it, although I did ask him — he and I did an interview together. And I interviewed him, and I said, "Look, when you found out that this movie was going to be made, who did you dream should play you?" And he immediately said Brad Pitt. And I said, "Yes, but we were trying to make a realistic film." All right. Go ahead.

HANNITY: When did you become a big liberal? What happened?

COLMES: You can tell the stand-up comedy background that you...


COLMES: By the way, your Carson impersonation is pretty good.

SPACEY (as Johnny Carson): I'll ask Sean. Sean, go ahead. Take your best shot, Sean.

HANNITY: I'm going to try. So you're — you were in Democratic politics.


HANNITY: Are you passionately a Democrat today?

SPACEY: Absolutely.

HANNITY: What happened?

SPACEY: What do you mean what happened?

COLMES: It's called being a good American.

SPACEY: The same thing about you. What happened to you, Sean?

HANNITY: Where do you think I'm wrong on? What opinion?

SPACEY: Well, you would — go ahead. Start.

HANNITY: Well, I'm asking.

COLMES: Would you like to fill in for me one night?

HANNITY: First of all, I've only seen snippets of the movie. And I actually have a couple days off, so I've got a copy, and I'm going to take it home. But this — what I love about the fact that you did this movie, and you even said — in one of the press releases, it said this movie is not about who should have won.

SPACEY: That's right.

HANNITY: That this is about our electoral process and gives us insight. I mean, night after night we were right here on FOX News following this, and dimpled and pimpled and hanging and swinging chads, an incredible moment in history. It really is.

SPACEY: I think what — I guess what we hope is that, by making the film not a boring historical polemic, but trying to make, actually, almost a political thriller. I mean, if you think about it, maybe one of the last great political thrillers that was made was "All the President's Men," which is again, like this, a movie where you know the ending. But it's about the detail. It's about, I think, that probably most people in the United States don't really know what happened in Florida. They have kind of a vague — you know, you hear, "OH, it was stolen" or "it was this," "the whining Democrats" or "the Republicans did that." But I actually think when you look at the film, how we've tried to make it, which is we've just tried to get the story right, that you realize it was not one thing or one person or even the Supreme Court. It is the fact that it was a confluence of events, of personalities, of agendas, some people who perhaps were not qualified for their jobs. It is an important look at the whole thing. And I think mostly what we hope is at the end of the day people will watch this movie and realize that our electoral process is not equipped to handle margins of victory so small.

HANNITY: I agree with that.

SPACEY: Or margins of error so big.

HANNITY: And I think we also need to have a better system where every vote is counted and that we can be confident in the outcome. I wouldn't want to win by, you know, a court fiat, which I don't think happened here. I think if Al Gore made a mistake, it was going for a selective recount. They were going to recount everything. They should have recounted the entire state, which I think was a mistake. The only — in every review that I've read about the movie, you know, gave you and everybody working on the movie credit for being fair, except there seems to be a caricature, an unfair caricature of Katherine Harris. Why?

SPACEY: Did you watch her on television?

HANNITY: I watched the snippets of her. It seemed unfair.

SPACEY: I mean, her.

HANNITY: On television.

SPACEY: On television.

HANNITY: I did. I like Katherine Harris. I like her.

SPACEY: Well, I think then this would actually probably be underplayed.

HANNITY: Why are you being mean?

SPACEY: I'm not being mean. I'm saying she was — she was a very interesting character on television. There's no doubt.

HANNITY: So you think that she — what, the power went to her head?

SPACEY: Until you see the movie, it's difficult for you to criticize a performance. You're going to have to look at it.

HANNITY: You can see in the clips that I saw of her standing up there and — you seemed like, in that character, to create a caricature.

SPACEY: All I can say is that I think if it was enough for David Letterman to start making jokes about her makeup and hair...

HANNITY: David Letterman makes jokes about everybody. That's his job. He does that. All right...

COLMES: Can you do Letterman?


COLMES: Can you do a Letterman impression.


MARK STEYN, GUEST HOST: I like Katherine Harris, too. More with Kevin Spacey after the break. Sean confronts the Oscar-winning actor about liberals in Hollywood. You won't want to miss it. Stay with us.


STEYN: We now continue Sean and Alan's interview with the actor Kevin Spacey.


HANNITY: Let's talk about — a little bit more about your political background. Why is it that Hollywood seems to slant so solidly left?

SPACEY: Well, you know, that's one of those statements that just — I think there are as many prominent Republican conservatives...

HANNITY: Name them.

SPACEY: ... who live in Hollywood and who believe in what the Republicans believe in, as many as there are Democratic, liberal Hollywood actors or people in the media. I think that's an oversimplification.

HANNITY: Well, I can name — all right, we've got Arnold Schwarzenegger, very moderate Republican.

COLMES: Hollywood liberal.

HANNITY: Mel Gibson, Charlton Heston, who recently passed away. I mean, some of the more — the old-timers, the Bob Hopes, seemed to be more conservative. The friends of Ronald Reagan. But it seems that Hollywood today, overwhelmingly, is solidly left. Is there — is there any reason or is there any culture? I have spoken with actors, and I won't mention the names. They say they're punished for their conservative political views.

SPACEY: In what way could they be punished?

HANNITY: In that they're not hired, that roles are passed over because they don't like their views.

SPACEY: You know, look, I can't imagine that anyone in Hollywood is sitting around trying to decide what actor is good or right or qualified for a role and is being denied a role because of their political views. I don't think that's the way Hollywood works. We're not living in an era of blacklisting.


COLMES: I want to ask you more about the film here. James Baker, who saw the film...


COLMES: ... and actually hosted the other night an event at Rice University, has said he's not as ruthless as he's portrayed in the film.

SPACEY: That's the way he likes the performance.

COLMES: And Warren — and Warren Christopher said he's not as much of a wuss as portrayed in the film.

SPACEY: Well, let me say this, that I know that there's been criticism from — from Warren Christopher about the way he's portrayed, but the truth is, is that the portrayal didn't come out of thin air. I mean, Danny Strong, who wrote the screenplay, based the portrayal of the views and the facts on all of the evidence that had been written by some of the best political journalists in the country, the four books that were the source material for the film, and also countless, countless interviews. So if Warren Christopher wanted to object, he might have objected to the books that came out a number of years ago, rather than just the film. But I also know that he objected before he'd seen the film. Maybe he was predisposed not to be happy with it.

COLMES: And the take-home information, the plural of chad?

SPACEY: The plural of chad, ladies and gentlemen, is chad.

COLMES: Not the country?


HANNITY: By the way, I do think you're a terrific actor, I want to be clear.

SPACEY: Thank you.

HANNITY: Although "American Beauty" was strange.

SPACEY: Now why was it strange?

HANNITY: Because it was just odd to be...

COLMES: He won an Academy Award.


HANNITY: ... you're hitting on his daughter's, you know, girlfriend.

COLMES: Kevin won an Academy Award for that.

HANNITY: I know he did. It was odd.

SPACEY: Sean's saying he's never had those feelings.

HANNITY: No, never. My daughter is six. No, but in all honesty, that was an uncomfortable movie for me to watch.

SPACEY: Yes, exactly. I think that was the intention of the movie, was to — was to examine — you know, look, we all have this notion of what the American dream is. I mean, what that film did and why it — why for some reason, not only did it land quite specifically, in terms of Americans responding to it and liking that film, but around the world. I think it took a look at what is the American dream, and is it all it's made up to be?

HANNITY: But it showed a dark side of the human soul, which is...

COLMES: That's what he thinks every time I speak.

SPACEY: But it was also funny. I mean, it wasn't — it wasn't entirely dark.

HANNITY: But the part of the — the role that you played, and you played it magnificently, and you won the award for it, but it was just dark, inasmuch as I think — I just believe real, mature, loving adults protect children and don't smoke pot with them and don't lust for their daughter's girlfriends.

SPACEY: I guess — I guess you haven't seen — what is that predator series that's on, you know, where you see...

HANNITY: Which one is that, Keith Olbermann?

COLMES: Where they had this guy...


SPACEY: Where did you just go?

HANNITY: Oh, just you know...

SPACEY: No, you know, it's shocking sometimes to see how normal Americans do have emotions and feelings that are unexpected and strange.

HANNITY: But you would agree that's evil, right? That's dark.

SPACEY: I'm not saying it's not evil.

HANNITY: ... shows a side of the human...

SPACEY: Our job, you know, in the entertainment profession is to try to illuminate and show people all sides of humanity, and it doesn't just mean that you can only do movies that are only about the good parts of us. You have to be able to eliminate the bad parts.

HANNITY: I agree.

COLMES: And Kevin, he feels uncomfortable every time I speak, so don't — don't feel bad.

HANNITY: Very nice to meet you, Kevin.

SPACEY: Thank you.

HANNITY: Thank you for being with us.

COLMES: Thank you so much for being with us.

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