Posted on Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
Julianne Moore acted opposite Tina Fey last season on 30 Rock; now she’ll be stepping into the comedienne’s best-known role: Sarah Palin. Julianne Moore will play the former Alaska governor in Game Change, the Jay Roach-directed adaptation of John Heilemann and Mark Halperin‘s book about John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.
EW reports that Ms. moore has been cast as the former Vice Presidential nominee and politician-turned-pundit. Announced last month, HBO Films is behind the project, just as it was on Jay Roach and Danny Strong‘s film Recount, which was an account of the 2000 presidential election. Since that won three Emmys and DGA and WGA nominations for the two men, they’re going back to the well with Game Change.
This is the only casting that has been announced so far; other key roles will be the obvious political figures, notably John McCain and Barack Obama.
Julianne Moore is an interesting choice for Sarah Palin — not exactly the obvious face, but probably quite a good one. She did a crazy broad Boston accent on 30 Rock, but is should be capable of honing in on Sarah Palin’s mannerisms with a lot more subtlety.
The big question might not be casting, but how to make the film relevant. Game Change was a big deal when it came out in part because it was packed with juicy revelations. But that stuff has all been out in the open for years, and even superseded by far crazier material. So how will the creative team focus the adaptation in a way that it feels (a) relevant and (b) not like a hit piece?
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Even before the book was out, its juiciest bits were everywhere: Sarah Palin was serene when chosen for V.P. because it was “God’s plan.” Hillary didn’t know if she could control Bill (duh). Elizabeth Edwards was a shrew, not a saint. Overall, the men from the campaign garner less attention in these anecdote wars than the women and tend to come off better—but only just: Obama, the authors note, can be conceited and windy; McCain was disengaged to the point of recklessness; and John Edwards is a cheating, egotistical blowhard. But, hey, that’s politics, and it’s obvious that authors Heilemann (New York Magazine) and Halperin (Time) worked their sources well—all 200 of them. Some (including the sources themselves) will have trouble with the book’s use of quotes (or lack thereof). The interviews, according to the authors, were conducted “on deep background,” and dialogue was “reconstructed extensively” and with “extreme care.” Sometimes the source of a quote is clear, as when the book gets inside someone’s head, but not always. Many of the book’s events were covered heavily at the time (Hillary’s presumed juggernaut; Michelle Obama’s initial hostility to her husband’s candidacy), but some of what this volume delivers is totally behind-the-scenes and genuinely jaw-dropping, including the revelation that senators ostensibly for Clinton (New York’s Chuck Schumer) pushed hard for Obama. Another? The McCain camp found Sarah Palin by doing computer searches of female Republican officeholders. A sometimes superficial but intensely readable account of a landmark campaign (librarians take note: the exceedingly flimsy binding may reflect the publisher’s haste to rush the book to press).