Game Change: Julianne Moore As Palin

March 12, 2012 by staff 

Game Change: Julianne Moore As Palin, When sizing up Sarah Palin for the HBO movie “Game Change,” in which she plays the former vice-presidential candidate, actress Julianne Moore knew what she had to master immediately.

“The first thing I did was hire a vocal coach because, for me, she has an incredibly idiosyncratic way of speaking,” says the North Carolina-born Moore.

The movie (debuting 9 p.m. ET Saturday, with repeats through March 31), based on the book of the same name, focuses on Republican John McCain’s (Ed Harris) 2008 bid for the White House. But it’s the arrival of Moore on the screen in a hypnotizing performance as Palin that will rivet audiences.

Critics are already saying Moore’s performance is award-worthy.

Moore, who has been nominated for four Academy Awards, says she took the role seriously and stands by the project as being accurate. “Game Change” shows a Palin, at the time Alaska’s governor, who is overwhelmed once on the national stage.

Moore pored over video footage and studied Palin’s mannerisms. The actress, 51, routinely spent hours in the makeup chair. The time was needed just to get Moore’s skin tone to match Palin’s.

Even with all the preparation, Moore had to fight the numerous Palin impersonations that had emerged — most notably, Tina Fey’s.

“Everything we tried to do we tried to do accurately, to match (Palin),” Moore says. “The audience will know in an instant if you don’t get something right.

“Obviously, I’m never going to be her, but I want to portray her as tightly as possible.”

Politically, Moore and Palin don’t have matching views. During the 2004 presidential election, Moore donated $2,000 to John Kerry’s presidential campaign, and she’s been a pro-choice activist.

Beyond the physical challenges of looking like Palin, Moore had the task of understanding her.

“She was only allowed to talk to certain media outlets (during the campaign), and she began to feel her (personality) was prescribed,” she says.

“She couldn’t understand why (the Republicans) brought her in for her abilities (to connect with people) and then not let her use (those talents fully).”

The marketing of politics was something Moore hadn’t considered in detail until she played Palin.

“The way she looked, the clothes she wore … I found it all interesting because that sort of (detail) is what (actors) do in (their) business,” she says.

Palin did not cooperate in the making of the movie and would not speak with Moore about playing her.

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