Four years ago, not many Americans below the 49th parallel even knew who Sarah Palin of Alaska was. That all changed when John McCain named the self-proclaimed hockey mom his Republican running mate, and the media scavenged for any detail about her and her family. An immediate celebrity, she proved to be electrifying… and occasionally a deer in the headlights. Tina Fey infamously skewered her on Saturday Night Live, and Matt Damon, an Obama partisan, rolled his eyes and compared her emergence to “a really bad Disney movie.”
Well, Palin finally has her movie — even if she had no say in the matter. On March 10, Game Change, based on John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s account of the historic 2008 presidential campaign, premieres on HBO, with Julianne Moore playing Palin, Ed Harris as John McCain, and Woody Harrelson as Steve Schmidt, the strategist who came to second-guess his initial brainstorm to potentially put Palin one heartbeat from the presidency. EW has the new Game Change poster (below) and director Jay Roach, who also helmed HBO’s Recount in 2008 but is most famous for working with the likes of Ben Stiller, Mike Myers, and Steve Carell, called up to talk politics. Turns out his next movie, Dog Fight, combines both his passions, with Will Ferrell squaring off against Zach Galifianakis for a U.S. congressional seat. The comedy wrapped production yesterday, freeing him to discuss his fascination with Palin, the political system that chose her, and the current crop of GOP candidates.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’re best known for directing comedies, like Austin Powers and Meet the Parents, but you’re becoming equally known for political movies, what with HBO’s Recount and now Game Change.
JAY ROACH: I’ve always been fascinated by the profession of political consulting and spin-doctoring and what kind of an impact the overall political strategists have on our political process. I first brought up the idea of doing this film during the actual campaign itself in 2008, right about the time we were out promoting Recount. I pitched it to HBO, that this incredible decision to put Sarah Palin is very controversial and wouldn’t you like to be in those rooms when that decision was being made? And then, [John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s book] Game Change came out, a fantastic book that covered the very area that I was interested in. READ FULL STORY