'Game Change' goes behind the scenes of politics' biggest prize
"They are performing political satire," Moore says of the
She musters plenty. Moore's accent and stance are dead-on in the Saturday, March 10, movie that is based on Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's best-seller. It chronicles the two months after Palin was plucked from political obscurity to become the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee.
Moore recalls she was shocked when approached about the role.
"I don't even know how they came up with the idea," Moore says, while relaxing in a hotel room in Pasadena, Calif.
Moore embarked on a 10-week intensive prep to portray Palin, clearing her calendar of anything except activities she needed to do with her children.
The film shows the cold calculations and absurd lack of vetting that went into picking the extremely popular Alaska governor as
Palin was picked because political strategist Steve Schmidt (
"I'm not a Republican or, really, not really a Democrat. Probably more an anarchist," Harrelson says at the press conference. "So the concept of playing this guy who, I think ideologically, couldn't be much, you know, further away from me, just felt like a real challenge."
The film shows in chilling detail that
On the other hand, Palin was fearless and an excellent campaigner. Undaunted by the powerful Republicans in her state, she had no problem going rogue.
As the movie continues, Palin's extreme inexperience is exposed, and political operatives worry that they have made a grave mistake. But it's too late.
Eventually they realize that Palin is an excellent actress, and if they give her a script -- though it must be one with which she agrees -- she is fine. At one point, however, the stresses of the campaign and of being separated from her family get to her, and everyone fears she will suffer a breakdown.
It's as a mom that Moore relates to Palin.
"She's a really devoted parent," Moore says. "That baby was 4 months old, and one son was going to Iraq, and she had a teenage daughter who was pregnant. On the campaign, she was doing flashcards with the baby, putting people to bed and running for office."
Naturally, viewers know the outcome. But just as HBO did with the political drama "Recount" -- from the same director and writer,
Roach asked Palin to talk with them, but she declined.
"In terms of conjecture, of course, in any dramatization where you are condensing 60 days into two hours, having actors play the characters and trying to tell a kind of condensed version of what happened, there are things that we had to try to figure out how to tell without knowing exactly for sure what actually went down," Roach says. "But we had so many details available to us from Mark and John's great book, 'Game Change,' from Sarah Palin's books herself, and from the many, many interviews that Danny, and in some places, I actually did to tell it as authentically as we possibly could with every detail we could possibly get right, right, but again knowing that we would to some extent have to tell the best version of the story."
Moore does not bash Palin's politics. When she considers what haunts her about playing Palin, she weighs her words carefully.
"I think it is an examination of the intricacies of the political process," Moore says. "Politics has become a form of entertainment. As a nation, it is something we are dissatisfied with, and it is time to take a look at that."
"I think what haunts me about the entire process is how little they knew when they picked her and continued to move forward," she says. "That to me is the most haunting about the electoral process, that a candidate can be presented to the American public who isn't ready."