TWoP: Why didn't you write yourself a bigger part?
DS: [Laughs] I'm just not a fan. There really wasn't anything for me. It's all middle-aged men.
TWoP: You could have written in an intern that kept showing up.
DS: "Hey, Mr. Klain, would you like some coffee." [Laughs]
TWoP: "Wait, there's an important phone call."
DS: "Hey, we've got Johnny on line four." I just really didn't want to be in the movie to be honest with you. This experience was never about anything to do with my acting career. Jay Roach, the director, had me at his side for the whole shoot and I felt like I got to go to film school. I just had a front row seat, watching this amazing, talented director do his work. I just learned so much from him. It was a wonderful, wonderful experience.
TWoP: Not to mention this has a fantastic cast.
DS: Aren't they amazing? And as an actor, watching Kevin Spacey doing take after take was probably the best acting lesson I've ever had in my life.
TWoP: When you were writing this, did you have actors in mind for certain roles?
DS: No. It was really, really hard because I'd met so many of the actual people that I couldn't get their faces out of my mind. It wasn't until the casting really began and the casting director and Jay were reviewing tapes of actors that I could break away from these images that I had.
TWoP: I wouldn't have expected to see Denis Leary in this film, but he's really perfect.
DS: That's actually pretty spot-on casting, because the real Michael Whouley is a foul-mouthed Bostonian genius, and Denis Leary is a foul-mouthed Bostonian genius.
TWoP: Right. I'm just not used to imagining Denis Leary in the political world, but it works.
DS: That's exactly how people perceive Michael Whouley. He doesn't feel like the elegant operative. He's the brawler.
TWoP: He's not the kind of guy you'd see on CNN.
DS: No. He actually doesn't talk to the press ever. And he wouldn't talk to me.
TWoP: Too bad. I bet he would have been a fun guy to talk to.
DS: Yeah. I actually had a conversation with him after he saw the movie and it was great getting to finally talk to him.
TWoP: Are you a political junkie in general, or was it just this case that interested you?
DS: I wouldn't say I'm a political junkie. I follow it. I read a few articles every day. I think the only reason I'm not a full-fledged junkie is because I think I would kill myself. I get too passionate and too frustrated and too angry. I think I'm a little bit too idealistic to follow the minutiae of what is going on every single day, because it's always just quite disappointing.