Political Reality: How Real is Game Change?

Jake Tapper, Richard Coolidge & Sherisse Pham
Power Players

Political Punch

The movie 'Game Change,' based on the book by the same name about the 2008 presidential campaign, premiered on HBO this weekend. At a glitzy premiere in D.C. last week, Jake Tapper caught up with the writer and director, as well as a few of the film's stars, to talk about the challenge of bringing the Jon McCain and Sarah Palin story to the screen.

Actress Julianne Moore, who plays Palin, said she prepared for the role seriously. "I felt that I had a tremendous responsibility to be as accurate as possible…I watched her reality show, I looked at everything. It was total immersion."

Screenwriter Danny Strong and director Jay Roach said they were drawn to the drama of the 2008 Republican ticket.

"I was riveted by the announcement of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential candidate and even more compelled when I saw Steve Schmidt's interview," said Roach. "The guy who says to John McCain 'This is the one,' months later says, 'Ugh, I wish I could go back and make that choice for you all over again.'"

But Strong and Roach insist that while former McCain-Palin campaign manager Steve Schmidt participated in the film, he did not have a major influence on it.

"He wasn't a big part of the filmmaking process. He was one of 25 interviews," Strong said. "The things that he told me also were told to me by literally a dozen other people."

The filmmakers insist they did not fall into the "liberal Hollywood" stereotype.

"We told a story that's true. And a story that's accurate," said Strong. "It's not even a partisan story. It's not a story about Republicans, it's not a story about Democrats. It's a story about the process of how we elect our leaders."

But Sarah Palin, who has said from the start that she did not agree with her portrayal in the Game Change book or movie, shoots back with this exclusively to Jake Tapper over the weekend:

"I believe my family has the right priorities and knows what really matters. For instance, our son called from Afghanistan yesterday and he sounded good and that's what matters. Being in the good graces of Hollywood's Team Obama isn't the top of my list," Palin said.