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Halfway into Donald Trump’s first 100 days as President of the United States, and someone has already commissioned a cinematic treatment of the long and frequently absurd election that put him in office.
HBO is set to chronicle the events of the recent presidential election, much as they did in 2012 telepic Game Change — only this time it will be expanded to a miniseries. Also like Game Change, the yet-to-be-titled project will be directed by Jay Roach and based on source material from Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. The duo’s book about Trump’s stunning 2016 upset over Hillary Clinton is set to be published by Penguin Press.
Game Change, itself a pseudo-sibling of 2000 election film Recount, didn’t air until four years after the events depicted. It focused on the narrative from the side of John McCain’s losing campaign — particularly the controversial figure of vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, played by Julianne Moore. (Players from the Barack Obama side of election were mostly featured in historical footage.)
“We are thrilled to continue our relationship with Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, whose work on their best-selling book Game Change set the bar for political reporting and storytelling inside a presidential campaign,” HBO Films president Len Amato said in a statement. “Reuniting Game Change director and executive producer Jay Roach and Playtone producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman with Mark and John for a project based on their upcoming book promises to vividly capture the most unique and impactful event in modern American politics.”
There’s a precedence for prestige in the project. Game Change was nominated for 12 Emmys and won five, including for outstanding TV movie, director, writing and actress for Moore. The film was adapted by Empire co-creator Danny Strong, but no scribe is currently attached to this follow-up.
Though it’s not immediately clear which players in the 2016 soap opera will be featured, it seems safe to assume that both Trump and Clinton will be at the center of the miniseries. Picking the actors to play the pair will be something of an event in itself. (It’s highly unlikely that Alec Baldwin plans to make a career out of impersonating Trump, but his Saturday Night Live parody is certain to at least come up in the conversation.)
And, for the Clintons, this is now one of several scripted miniseries in which they’ll play a role. Ryan Murphy recently announced that the third run of his American Crime Story miniseries on FX would retell the Monica Lewinsky scandal that almost destroyed Bill Clinton’s second term as president.
It’s more feathers in the caps of Halperin and Heilemann. The accomplished journalists are also hosts and executive producers of Showtime news series The Circus. (Originally planned just for the 2016 election, Showtime recently revived it to chronicle the Trump administration’s first 100 days.)
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