'Game Change's' Top Stars and Execs: $200K to Democratic Causes; $0 to Republicans

Phillip V. Caruso/HBO

The actors playing Sarah Palin and John McCain are among those on the HBO production whose political giving is revealed.

This story appears in the Mar. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

When Joel Surnow co-wrote and co-executive produced the TV miniseries The Kennedys, it was immediately deemed controversial and much was made in the press about a Hollywood Republican having so much influence in the making of a docudrama about a Democratic icon.

With HBO's Game Change premiering on Mar. 10 amidst criticism from the right (a review by John Nolte at Big Hollywood, for example, calls it “a heinous piece of propaganda.”), The Hollywood Reporter took a look at the federal political donations of the movie's top executives and talent.

  • Ed Harris, who plays Sen. John McCain, has given $9500 to Democratic candidates, and since 1998, the actor has also donated $11,975 to liberal special-interest groups like MoveOn.org, Emily¹s List and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. His donations to Republicans and conservative causes: Zero.
  • Woody Harrelson, who stars as Steve Schmidt, chief strategist for McCain-Palin, has given $4,300 to Democratic candidates, and donated $3,500 to liberal causes like GreenVote and the Hollywood Women¹s Political Committee. Republican anc conservative donations: Zero.


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  • Jay Roach, Game Change's director/co-executive producer, gave $15,800 to the Democrats. And to Republicans and conservatives: Zero.
  • Producer Tom Hanks has given away over a hundred grand to the Democratic party, and since 1994, Hanks has also donated $36,500 to liberal causes like Midwest Values Pac, founded by Democratic Sen. Al Franken. Republican and conservative donations: Zero.
  • Julianne Moore, who stars as Palin, donated $2,250 to the Democrats, and $7,500 to special-interest groups like the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic White House Victory Fund. To Republicans and conservative causes: Zero.
  • Game Change co-executive producer and writer (adaptation) Danny Strong, gave $2500 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008. To Republicans: Zero.

An HBO spokesperson stands by the movie as a fair representation of the election: “We have held screenings of the film throughout the country composed of a mix of Democrats and Republicans and the overall response has been how unbelievably balanced and nuanced this film is.  Those who were skeptical beforehand came away feeling different as the film elicited strong feelings of compassion and understanding for Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin.”

The Game Change trailer is below. Sources for political donations are: Federal Elections Commission, Newsmeat.com, OpenSecrets.org.

Email: paul.bond@thr.com