Oscar winner Kevin Spacey cast in HBO's "Recount"

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey will star as a top aide to former Vice President Al Gore in the upcoming TV movie “Recount,” about the contested 2000 U.S. presidential election, the HBO network said on Monday.

Kevin Spacey takes a seat while Japanese interpreter and translator Natsuko Toda (back) walks past during a news conference for the film "Superman Returns" in Tokyo August 1, 2006. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

Spacey, whose last dramatic television role was at least 15 years ago, will join Academy Award nominees Laura Dern and Tom Wilkinson, as well as Denis Leary of FX cable series “Rescue Me” and “St. Elsewhere” veteran Ed Begley Jr.

The political drama, set to start shooting next month, will trace the story behind the acrimonious ballot recounts in Florida at the end of the 2000 race between Democrat Gore and then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush, a Republican.

According to Daily Variety, which broke news of the “Recount” casting, the made-for-television movie will air in the midst of next year’s campaign for the White House.

Spacey, artistic director of London’s Old Vic theater company, will star as Ronald Klain, former chief of staff to Gore and one of the lead attorneys who challenged the disputed ballot results in Florida.

An Oscar winner for his roles in “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty,” Spacey last starred in a TV drama in the 1991 biographical TV movie about famed defense lawyer Clarence Darrow, according to his publicist.

Dern, famed for her paleobotanist role in “Jurassic Park” and an Oscar nominee for “Rambling Rose,” will play Katherine Harris, the Florida secretary of state vilified by Democrats as the “dragon lady” for her role in certifying Bush’s victory in her state.

The Florida Supreme Court overturned Harris’ decision, but the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly ruled in Bush’s favor, giving him the presidency. Harris was later elected to Congress but lost her bid for a U.S. Senate seat.

Leary is cast as Democratic pollster Michael Whouley, and Begley as David Boies, the lawyer who argued for the Democrats in court. Wilkinson, an Academy Award nominee for the 2001 drama “In the Bedroom,” will play former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, who was enlisted to oversee the Republican effort to affirm Bush’s victory.

British actor John Hurt will play Baker’s counterpart and for the Democrats and State Department successor, Warren Christopher.

The HBO movie is being directed by Jay Roach, whose credits include such big-screen comedies as “Meet the Parents” and the “Austin Powers” spy spoofs. Roach stepped in last month to replace Oscar-winning filmmaker Sydney Pollack, who withdrew as director for unspecified health reasons.