By Joshua Dawsey
Playing a firebrand politician – who is generally loved or loathed – isn’t the easiest of tasks. When the politician is Sarah Palin and Tina Fey has already defined the role, it only gets harder.
But Julianne Moore’s portrayal of the former vice presidential candidate in “Game Change,” an adapation of the Mark Halperin and John Heilemann bestseller, has notched her a nomination for the Golden Globe.
Moore talked briefly with Speakeasy on the challenges and joys of playing Palin. This interview has been condensed and edited.
On the pressure of playing a person everyone believes they already know: My first responsibility was to be the person everyone saw on TV. Even at the point we were shooting the movie, she was on that bus tour across America. From that point, you have to kind of begin to imagine the emotional state. That’s the job of any actress, to imagine that and elucidate it for the audience. Generally, you can make up for whatever you want. In this case, I had a very strict structure.
On how she tried to get inside Sarah Palin’s head: It was corroborated by the people who were around us. There were times she was extremely confident. There were times she was really falling apart. She was emotionally withdrawn … it was difficult being separated from her children, difficult needing to know what she needed to know for the campaign.
On playing her first political role: It’s not about a person, but it’s about our political process. The most fascinating part was getting an insider view into it. I don’t know anything about campaigns. We did quite a bit of research and had a lot of people helping us. It was a fascinating experience to participate in something.
On her interaction (or lack thereof) with Sarah Palin, who said publicly she didn’t care for the movie: No, no, no I never spoke with her. I think [director] Jay Roach reached out to her lawyers when we were beginning, but they declined. Our job was to create the story of these couple of chapters that had been written in this book. It kind of stood alone. We weren’t making a biopic — it was a story about our political process.
On her next role: I’m shooting “Nonstop” here in New York right now with Liam Neeson.