"Game Change" depicts a devoted yet unhinged Sarah Palin

Fri Mar 2, 2012 3:34pm EST
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - There is one thing the new HBO movie "Game Change" won't alter after it airs on television in one week: Sarah Palin still will be loved by many Republican conservatives and loathed by liberal Democrats.

In the controversial new TV movie that aims at a behind-the-scenes portrait of the former vice presidential candidate, Julianne Moore portrays Sarah Palin as a devoted Republican who lacks basic knowledge of world affairs and careens out of control.

Adapted from parts of the bestselling book of the same name by journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, "Game Change" dramatizes Republican John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign and his choice of Palin as a running mate who was shaped into a political star, nearly leading to a nervous breakdown.

The goal, its writer says, is less about depicting McCain or Palin in any one way and more aiming for a nonpartisan, human look at what it takes to run for U.S. president and how the campaign became an exercise in shaping a political star.

Writer Danny Strong told Reuters he aimed to "accurately portray" the pressure Palin was under "for someone who has never been on the national stage, who was thrust on it literally overnight and becomes the lightning rod for attacks unlike any politician has experienced in such a short period of time."

"It is not a word-for-word re-creation of what happened," Strong said. "It is definitely a movie, but it's as fair and as accurate a telling of this event that we believe could possibly be done in a movie adaptation."

Yet, even before its March 10 air date, in the midst of the current tough Republican primary race, the TV movie has ruffled some political conservatives. Palin and McCain refused to be interviewed for the film and said they will not watch it.

On Thursday, Palin's political action committee SarahPAC released its own slick trailer rebutting the film, replacing "HBO Films" logo with "HBO Fiction" and the title with "Fact Change" followed by "We Know The Truth."   Continued...

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin speaks to the American Conservative Union's annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington February 11, 2012.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst