March 8th, 2012
10:12 PM ET
2 years ago

'Game Change' actors dish on Palin, portrayals and politics

Washington (CNN) - Actress Julianne Moore, who portrays former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in the HBO movie “Game Change,” said she was surprised to learn how disorganized the McCain-Palin campaign was in 2008.

“I really had an assumption that things were more organized than they are,” she told CNN on the red carpet before a screening at the Newseum in Washington.

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“I think this campaign was notorious for being a difficult one and one that was pretty disorganized,” she said.

The movie won’t be shown to wider audiences until its 9 p.m. Saturday showing on HBO, but it has already sparked political controversy over its portrayal of the then-governor of Alaska and Sen. John McCain, who headed the Republican presidential ticket in 2008.

The movie has been criticized for focusing only on two chapters of the book “Game Change” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Those chapters focus on Palin’s campaign as McCain’s running mate.

Palin and McCain turned down interview requests by movie director Jay Roach, so he said he used the reporting by Halperin and Heilemann along with voice recordings of Palin reading her own books to make the story as authentic as possible.

“(The voice recordings) added a whole other layer of empathy for me,” he said. “It actually added a few details. When she calls her son in Iraq in the middle of the election, it’s very moving.”

Actress Sarah Paulson, who plays Palin’s senior campaign adviser Nicolle Wallace, said she became more politically tuned in during that campaign.

“The story of this election was something that made me much more political than I had ever been in my life. The introduction of Sarah Palin to the national scene was something that did make me stand up and take notice,” Paulson said.

“I think the movie is less about Sarah Palin … (than) about our political system and the way we choose our candidates,” she said.

“I mean, we seem to be attracted again and again to kind of a personal charisma and a physical attractiveness and a movie star quality, and I personally don't think that those are traits our leaders need to have,” said Moore.

The senator’s wife, Cindy McCain, told CNN's Piers Morgan earlier this week that “I lived this, and from everything I've read and heard it doesn't even resemble what took place.”

She took issue with the movie’s reported portrayal of Palin.

“I think what happened to her is totally unfair. I am truly sorry if they have depicted her in any fashion other than a strong, independent woman,” she said.

CNN and HBO are subsidiaries of Time-Warner, Inc.

Also see:

Obama and Romney ahead in ad fight

First on CNN: Santorum super PAC hits Alabama and Mississippi airwaves

Obama releases movie trailer a week before campaign film's debut

Cindy McCain defends Palin over HBO film


Filed under: 2012 • John McCain • Sarah Palin
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. majicmahon

    I keep picturing GW sitting in that chair listening to the school kids on 9-11 and I wonder what Obamas reaction would've been. He certainly wouldn't sit around to hear the ending....he would've been smart enough to get the job done and GOOGLE the story later.

    March 10, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. VintageChick

    "The movie has been criticized for focusing only on two chapters of the book “Game Change” by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Those chapters focus on Palin’s campaign as McCain’s running mate." And my belief is the movie was filmed this way and released at this time because it was intended to squash an expected Presidential bid by Sarah Palin.

    March 10, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. sqeptiq

    If Cindy and John don't defend Sarah, they look bad. They chose her and to indicate remorse would be to admit their culpability in a crime against the country.

    March 10, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. steve peeler

    Those poor republicans and the media. They claim that those liberals always produce a movie around election time to show how complicated they are. What is worse, being somewhat true with a movie, or expanded on the truth to prove false facts??? Both parties are in the negative game. Maybe the liberals beat them to the punch and the conservatives are just upset that someone had a better way make money and to smear a GOP figure than they did when they want to smear a liberal. Do not buy into this "Divide and Conquer" instead of being moral and truthful. Both sides are smart enough to construct a plot to deceive and dumb enough to believe.

    March 10, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Norm

    Strong and independent. I notice Cynthia McCain left the word intelligent out of her description of Sarah.

    March 10, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  6. Cynthia

    Sarah, is a dividing factor. I thought she was charming at first, and loved the family. But, it didn't last long, I'm afraid. Same with John McCain. It was disheartening to hear that WE are just Red States against the Blue States. NOT TRUE. I went for the candidate that was reaching out to ALL of US. And, I'll never be sorry that he won.

    March 10, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. Larry - Hazleton, Pa

    Why is it necessary to a liberal to know that Sarah Palin was not and never will be qualified to be in the white house for anything but a tour. She is as dumb as a box of rocks!

    March 10, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. Larry R

    Why bother posting? It just goes off into cyberspace and never shows up. ???? Selective editing CNN?

    March 10, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. Jilli

    I keep hearing comments and commentary about how Palin is portrayed in the film. Meh. The one that should really be concerned about a bad impression is McCain – his absolute recklessness in choosing Ms. Palin after just cursory vetting is the epitome of cynicism and carelessness. His actions completely disregarded the seriousness of his choice – it was completely irresponsible and unacceptable.

    March 10, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  10. Jack Tors

    Palin's MC HAMMER glasses were the best thing to come from this campaign. I HEART SARA and her MC HAMMER glasses!

    March 10, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. MattR

    VintageChick – I don't know a single Democrat who does not cackle with glee at the idea of Sarah Palin running against President Obama in 2012.

    March 10, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. John

    My question is where are the movies about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky? Bill clinton and White Water? Interesting how there are movies slandering all Republicans but none about the Democrat screw ups.

    March 10, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. A Southern Lady - North Carolina

    It became obvious during the campaign that Sarah Palin was not, in any way, qualified to be vice president and, with John McCane;s advanced age, the thought to Palin as president simply lost the election for McCane. Not only her lack of intelligence and world information was a problem, she seemed to thrive on nastyness and negativity toward snyone who disagreeded with her. This started with the Katy Currick interview where she tried to blame Curick when she (palin) was unable to answer the most-simple questions. I aklways had a lot of respect for John McCane but I felt it would be a total disaster if he and Palin won the elcation. Thanks heavens they did not and the intelligent and qualified Obama took control of the county. Game change hit the nail right on the head! It appears Palin's goal now is to "feece the flock" and get all monies out of Republican supporters possible. and she seems to be doing a good job of it. Fools and their money are easily separated.

    March 10, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    If Palin wasn't photogenic and willing to lie and say snarky things, she'd be nowhere.

    Palin = Quitter, Liar, Mooch

    March 10, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  15. Julia Gerson

    Cindy McCain said: "I am truly sorry if they have depicted her in any fashion other than a strong, independent woman" Notice she didn't say, 'intelligent'.

    March 10, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. bobcat2u

    I've got to say that the fact that McCain and Palin didn't get the job is the best thing that could've happened for us. McCain would constantly saying, "I want a war." Palin would be right behind him saying, "You betcha."

    March 10, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  17. Kris

    @majicmahon Your an idiot. Hindsight is 20/20 though isn't it? I think Bush handled it well. WTH was he gonna do that wasn't already being done? And you people who put Obama on this pedestal completely boggle the mind. The man has if anything stepped up what you liberals complained about when Bush was in office. Obama didn't end any of the wars, Iraq was ended by Bush when he set the pullout date before he left office, Obama has made it legal for the government to kill american citizens, he is centralizing government power. I mean how blind are you to follow this guy because he labels himself as a democrat. I don't understand it. I'm not saying republicans are any better but damn open your eyes. This president is not one that is looking out for the people of this country and its future.

    March 10, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  18. Michael

    majicmahon...obama would not have been sitting in at a school in Florida on 9/11. He would have been out playing on a golf course or on a court playing basketball. People are not stupid as to what he is doing.

    March 10, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  19. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    Gorp =grand old racist party. They to forget that he half white

    March 10, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  20. Dave, Central Illinois

    Hey majicmahon,

    Obama would have blamed Clinton and then hid under one of the kids desk.

    March 10, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  21. sally

    Sarah Palin is an idiot, and it didn't take the country long to see that. The McCains know what she is brainless, but
    they can't say so without making themselves look foolish. Thank heavens she went to Fox instead of running for
    president. Just having to listen to her all throughout the season would be unbearable. McCain made a huge error
    when he chose her...dumb, dumb, dumb.

    March 10, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  22. Fred Garvin

    I just don't see what the issue is here. The unqualified ticked got stomped in 2008 while the qualified ticket emerged victorious. And that's the end of the story, folks.

    March 10, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  23. migeli

    Should have been called Lame Change.How a moose tries to walk with one foot in it's mouth.

    March 11, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  24. migeli

    Nobodys up reading this anyway.

    March 11, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  25. Lenny Pincus

    The movie was quite entertaining. I think it is more a comment on politics with inside the McCain camp providing the POV. I'm sure there will be knee jerk winger reactions–what else is new–but if they actually watch it, they will find a pretty negative view of Obama and an interesting portrait of Palin "goin' rogue" on hr handlers.

    March 11, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
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