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Disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff makes a Hollywood comeback [VIDEO]

by Danielle Berrin

June 28, 2010 | 4:42 pm

Jack Abramoff, the disgraced Washington lobbyist who is serving the final months of a three-and-a-half-year prison term, isn’t so reprehensible that Hollywood couldn’t find a way to redeem him.

In what will likely be a sympathetic portrait, the man who plead guilty to felony charges related to the defrauding of several American Indian tribes as well as corruption of public officials is now the subject of the film “Casino Jack” starring Kevin Spacey.

Abramoff, who is now working for a reported $7.50 an hour at a kosher pizzeria in Baltimore (he counts himself a Baal Teshuva) has apparently cooperated with the film, which producers believe has awards potential for Spacey.

The early Oscar buzz is yet another indicator that the film will be kind in its portrayal of Abramoff, as a man deserving of audience empathy and affection. After all, when has any Oscar-nominated protagonist been depicted as otherwise? With this, Abramoff joins a long list of disgraced real-life characters, from Richard Nixon in “Frost/Nixon” to Sean Penn’s convicted killer in “Dead Man Walking” who on film are given second chances to prove how hubris wrecked their humanity. (Another example of this can be found in the Sean Penn film “All The King’s Men” with Penn playing a corrupt politician inspired by Huey Long, the former Louisiana governor.)

Even though production of “Casino Jack” has completed, Deadline.com’s Mike Fleming reported this morning that the film is experiencing release delays due to distribution difficulties and may not reach the silver screen until October. 

In the meantime, Abramoff is serving out the remainder of his term at a halfway house in Baltimore—you know, biding his time until he gets invited to walk the red carpet.

You can check out the trailer for the film below:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Danielle Berrin writes the Hollywood Jew blog, a cutting edge, values-based take on the entertainment industry for jewishjournal.com. A Los Angeles Times profile dubbed her...

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