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JAN
13
2 YEARS

TCA: Julianne Moore Tackles 'Adorable,' 'Unprepared' Sarah Palin in 'Game Change'

The cast and creative team behind HBO's 2008 election movie explain the process of retelling such recent events -- and the surreal nature of filming Moore play the vice presidential candidate, watching Tina Fey do the same.

Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin
Phillip V. Caruso/HBO

With less than four years' worth of perspective, HBO tackles the 2008 presidential election in its March film, Game Change.

And shifting the focus of John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's 2010 book from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to Sarah Palin, it's Julianne Moore's portrayal of Palin that came into focus during the film's panel during the Television Critics Association winter tour.

"We're all very familiar with her and those iconic moments," Moore said. "It was just four years ago... It's a daunting task to play someone who is not only a living figure, but a hugely well-known one."

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Moore appeared diplomatic in her discussion of the former vice presidential candidate, speaking fondly of her subject and echoing the filmmakers' -- director Jay Roach and writer Danny Strong -- general consensus that Palin was "unprepared" for the spotlight.

"I have profound respect for the historical nature of her candidacy," said Moore. "Her situation was a pretty extraordinary one. We have her displaying moments of sheer brilliance... The fact that she was able to perform the way she did was simply amazing."

Palin declined requests to be interviewed for research for the film, but Moore says she did read her books and pour over footage from the campaign trail.

"One of the things I watched was her reality show, Sarah Palin's Alaska, to familiarize myself with her and the way she interacts with her family," she said. "That's, frankly, adorable. She's really a caring, involved parent. You don't see that happening on this stage."

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Still, Game Change also depicts an unraveling Palin, overwhelmed by the campaign. One scene, in particular, shows her looking devastated while watching a parody of herself on an inflight television.

"I really looked forward to the moment Julianne Moore would be Sarah Palin watching Tina Fey being Sarah Palin," said Roach, appearing via satellite.

Game Change comes from the same creative team as 2008's Recount, which detailed another recent political circus. The duo said they didn't hesitate to tackle a similar subject so soon afterwards.

"We felt that the story of Sarah Palin is truly one of the great American political stories of our time," said Strong. "You have such an amazing character at the center of it, and you also have a story that's unique. You have a person people knew nothing about... even the people who picked her. "