A docu-drama about the historic and thrilling
US presidential race of four years ago is hitting television in the
United States as the country gears up for this November's election.
Sarah Palin, the peculiar icon of the conservative Tea Party movement, is once again in the limelight, although this time around she is not at all happy about it.
HBO, a US cable television network known for its top-quality productions, is about to release a film based on her vice presidential campaign alongside Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate.
Even before the made-for-TV film hits the screens Saturday, the trailer has greatly upset Palin's team, with conservatives denouncing Hollywood for campaigning for the Democrats.
According to many, the film Game Change offers what the ongoing race for the Republican presidential nomination is currently lacking: suspense and entertainment. The 100-minute feature takes spectators back to the summer of 2008, as conservatives tried to prevent African-American candidate Barack Obama from reaching the White House.
"We desperately need a game-changing pick, and none of these middle-aged white guys are game changers," an advisor tells McCain, in the trailer, about his choice of a running-mate.
"So find me a woman!" McCain, played by Ed Harris, retorts.
The hope was that a young woman would raise the profile of the ageing McCain's campaign. Celebrated as a radical young politician from wild Alaska, as a casually-dressed model mother like so many million American women, Palin - then 44 - quickly turns into a nightmare, in the film, for the Republican campaign team.
The candidate, portrayed as a daredevil by the highly acclaimed Hollywood star Julianne Moore, turns out to be a disaster.
The film version of Palin loves suits and casual speech, but she has no idea that there are two Koreas. When she is asked what the US Federal Reserve is, the movie's campaign boss Steve Schmidt just gets an empty stare. When she is asked why US troops are active in Iraq, Palin answers: "Because Saddan Hussein attacked us on 9/11."
Schmidt only has one question left: "Oh my God, what have we done?"
Director Jay Roach and scriptwriter Danny Strong cannot say just how faithfully the film portrays reality, just like the authors of the original book cannot.
The book of the same title, written by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heileman, already caused a stir when it was published in 2010. In it, these two insiders allow the reader a deep look into politics, complete with details on politicians like Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Edwards, President Obama and Palin.
The real Palin has had enough of this. Her political action committee, Sarah PAC, responded to the HBO trailer with a play on words, dismissing it as a pack of lies by a network called "BHO" - a play on the initial's of the president's name, Barack Hussein Obama.
The crew of the populist Tea Party icon rushed to organize a telephone press conference, where Palin's former aide Randy Scheunemann calls the film a collection of "lies and mis-characterizations."
"Frankly, it gives fiction a bad name to call this movie fiction, because it is deliberately misleading," Scheunemann said.
HBO insists, in turn, that it was a coincidence for the film to be broadcast at the height of the campaign for the Republican nomination.
"The subject of the film is such an interesting and historical story, even though McCain and Palin are not currently running for a political office," an HBO spokesperson told Fox News.
There is at least one thing that the film crew cannot deny, however: Their close ties to the Democratic Party. Both main actors, Harris and Moore, are donors for the Obama campaign, while one of the producers, actor Tom Hanks, is also very close to Obama. Hanks gave money to the Obama camp in 2008, and he plans to do it again this year.
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