Julianne Moore said she had a "daunting task" in playing one of the more controversial figures in the American landscape in the HBO film 'Game Change'. Most in the U.S. - and many in the world - know of, and have an opinion on, Sarah Palin.
“It’s a daunting task to play somebody who is not only a living figure, but hugely well known,” Moore said during a panel talk with others from the production in L.A. last Friday.
The film was directed by Jay Roach (the Austin Powers series, 'Meet the Parents') and based upon the non-fiction book by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann on the 2008 U.S. Presidential race. Arguably Palin may not have the intelligence quotient, or oratory skills of Barack Obama, but nonetheless she became a huge media focus and her manners of being became known by millions and Moore is aware her portrayal will draw a Palin-knowledgeable, and opinionated, audience.
Julianne Moore: Watched "hours and hours of footage"
“The first thing I did was hire a vocal coach, because for me she has an incredibly idiosyncratic way of speaking and I really felt I needed to capture that,” Moore said. “So we looked at hours and hours of footage. I listened to her on tape. I read her book. I read 'Game Change'. I read her assistant’s book...for me, the most important thing was accuracy.”
The 51-year-old Moore, whose films include 'Body of Evidence', the Jurassic Park series,'Boogie Nights' and 'The Kids are All Right', said that despite the notoriety Palin caused, often unintentionally through gaffes, she, Moore, was respectful of what Palin was doing. Coming from a small state to a huge national stage to run for the Vice-Presidency took courage and had to be stressful. That, for Moore, was a key to playing her.
“I have a profound respect for the historical nature of her candidacy,” says Moore. “From where she was taken out of in state government and thrust into an international stage like this, that was a tremendous amount of pressure. That was the other thing I was trying to capture - that pressure-cooker kind of atmosphere. What does that do to somebody psychologically?"
Ed Harris, Woody Harrelson in 'Game Change' cast
Moore does not feel that Palin had enough "experience" for the job she was trying to gain but the actress came away with admiration for Palin - "she is a very caring parent" - and her ability to capture the nation and keep fighting for what she believed in. Those were parts of the Sarah Palin that went on screen in 'Game Change' and Moore seems comfortable with her portrayal; the audience will decide if she did her subject justice.
Along with Moore, Ed Harris plays John McCain and Woody Harrelson plays Steve Schmidt, the Republican campaign strategist who recommended Palin to McCain, calling her a potential "game changer."
The film premieres on March 10 on HBO.