Game Change's Hollywood Party Politics: When Joel Surnow co-wrote and co-exec produced The Kennedys, liberals made a fuss over Republican influence in the making of a docudrama about a Democratic icon. Now, the shoe is on the other (left) foot, and Republicans are crying foul over the seeming partisanship of Game Change, about former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. HBO isn't backing off its claim that its miniseries is fair, but judging from federal political donations by those involved, there's no denying a lot of allegiance to the Democratic Party. Ed Harris, who plays John McCain, has given $9,500 to Democratic candidates and $11,975 to liberal special-interest groups like MoveOn.org over the years. Woody Harrelson, who plays McCain-Palin strategist Steve Schmidt, has given $4,300 to Democratic candidates and $3,500 to liberal causes. Director Jay Roach has ponied up $15,800 to Democrats, while producer Tom Hanks has given more than a hundred grand to the Democratic Party and $36,500 to liberal causes. Lead Julianne Moore has donated $2,250 to the Democrats and $7,500 to the DNC. A spokesman for HBO responds: "We have held screenings 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."
The Rock Doc, Redefined
THR has learned the buzzed-about 340-ton stone currently rolling toward LACMA from a Riverside quarry will soon hit the big screen. And the project already has a hot producer on board. Jamie Patricof (Blue Valentine) is making a documentary entitled The Boulder, directed by Doug Pray (Art & Copy, Surfwise), who's shooting as the rock makes its way to LACMA on a specially designed transporter. It will reside on a lawn adjacent to the recently announced Oscar museum as part of reclusive land-artist Michael Heizer's sculpture Levitated Mass. Backers include former Warner Bros. head Terry Semel; AFI chair Bob Daly and his wife, songwriter Carol Bayer Sager; producer Steve Tisch; and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick. "As a documentarian, you couldn't ask for more in a subject," says Pray. "The film will be about what LACMA and the artist are endeavoring to create. But it's also about how people are reacting to it -- some find it gorgeous, and others are annoyed. There are a lot of haters: 'This is stupid; it's just a rock.' "
Jeffrey Dean Morgan Brings Up the Rear (Again)
If women aren't already swoony over Grey's Anatomy's Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who played dying hunk Denny -- and was butt-naked in P.S. I Love You -- then they're going to melt when they see Starz's new 1959-set series Magic City. Morgan plays the owner of a swank Miami Beach hotel, and he really gets to dress the part -- sometimes. "It's very Mad Men, a similar era," Morgan tells THR, "but more Casino and Scarface in terms of danger. I've never looked so good in my entire life as I look in these costumes. You either see me in suits or tuxes -- or you see me in my ass again!" And that's just episode one.
Hamm on the Side
Jon Hamm has had small parts in two films longtime partner Jennifer Westfeldt has written: Kissing Jessica Stein (2001) and Ira and Abby (2006). Now, not only does he star as her friend in Westfeldt's directorial debut, Friends With Kids (which she also wrote), it's also Hamm's producing debut. Turns out, it's his and Westfeldt's virgin effort by their new Points West Pictures production company. "We'd done some projects together," Westfeldt tells THR of her boyfriend of 15 years. "But this is the first thing we did soup to nuts; Jon's first time seeing all the things that need to be done to get a movie off the ground. We had some dark days dealing with babies, kids, unions and the worst New York winter in years -- and had no trailers. Camera lenses froze, and we had to blow-dry the camera. I didn't even know if I could direct." But it seems the two actually did grow closer. The only negative is -- now even more people are asking when they're having kids. "But," says Westfeldt, "we're happy the way we are."
Harvey Weinstein took a seat at Scarpetta, while Randy Jackson chowed down elsewhere in the room. On another day, WME's James Farrell and Duncan Millership were in at the same time as Minnie Driver, Ewan McGregor, Juno Temple, Alice Eve and producer Hilary Shor. … Tom Colicchio broke bread with The Good Wife's Josh Charles at Farmshop in Brentwood, while Judd Apatow dined with one of his daughters nearby. … Al Pacino held court in a booth at the Polo Lounge, while Barbara Davis, Kim Kardashian and Byron Allen sat at separate tables. … Zachary Quinto, Scott Caan, Hart of Dixie's Tim Matheson and Mena Suvari have each hit Cooks County. … January Jones tucked into a sandwich at Comme Ça while paparazzi idled outside. … German-born actress Elke Sommer stopped by new Austrian restaurant BierBeis in Beverly Hills. … The Tower Bar has played host to Emma Stone, Cameron Diaz, Terry Semel, Bob Daly, Brian Grazer and Tom Freston. … Bret McKenzie dropped into Delphine with friends the day after winning his best original song Oscar for "Man or Muppet." (The statuette came along for the meal.) … Bruce Willis has paid repeat recent visits to Kate Mantilini on Wilshire. Also in of late: Andy Garcia, Joy Philbin and Kim Basinger. … Annette Bening enjoyed lunch with girlfriends at Il Covo. On another day, Dr. Mehmet Oz dined with Kathy Freston. … The Bouchon brigade runs as thick -- and as wide-ranging -- as ever. Gary Oldman, Jerry Weintraub, Seth MacFarlane, cinematographer Wally Pfister, Ivan Reitman and Alanis Morissette have all been in for a bite. Then there's the two-tops: Victoria and David Beckham, Ben Harper and Laura Dern, Gwyneth Paltrow gabbing with Glee's Naya Rivera, Beck and wife Marissa Ribisi, and Simon Fuller and wife Natalie.