Ed Harris has been tapped to play Senator John McCain in HBO’s adaptation of Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s book Game Change, which follows the behind-the-scenes turmoil of the 2008 presidential election. Julianne Moore was previously announced as signing on to play Sarah Palin. Jay Roach (Dinner for Schmucks) is set to direct the flick from a screenplay by Danny Strong. The director/writer duo previously teamed up on HBO’s Recount, which chronicled the fallout of the 2000 presidential election. Now that McCain and Palin are set, who will be chosen to fill out the Democratic Ticket? Hit the jump for a synopsis of Game Change.
Even before the book was out, its juiciest bits were everywhere: Sarah Palin was serene when chosen for V.P. because it was “God’s plan.” Hillary didn’t know if she could control Bill (duh). Elizabeth Edwards was a shrew, not a saint. Overall, the men from the campaign garner less attention in these anecdote wars than the women and tend to come off better—but only just: Obama, the authors note, can be conceited and windy; McCain was disengaged to the point of recklessness; and John Edwards is a cheating, egotistical blowhard. But, hey, that’s politics, and it’s obvious that authors Heilemann (New York Magazine) and Halperin (Time) worked their sources well—all 200 of them. Some (including the sources themselves) will have trouble with the book’s use of quotes (or lack thereof). The interviews, according to the authors, were conducted “on deep background,” and dialogue was “reconstructed extensively” and with “extreme care.” Sometimes the source of a quote is clear, as when the book gets inside someone’s head, but not always. Many of the book’s events were covered heavily at the time (Hillary’s presumed juggernaut; Michelle Obama’s initial hostility to her husband’s candidacy), but some of what this volume delivers is totally behind-the-scenes and genuinely jaw-dropping, including the revelation that senators ostensibly for Clinton (New York’s Chuck Schumer) pushed hard for Obama. Another? The McCain camp found Sarah Palin by doing computer searches of female Republican officeholders. A sometimes superficial but intensely readable account of a landmark campaign