Watch: Julianne Moore Talks About Playing Palin

Julianne Moore with Jay Leno Thursday on "The Tonight Show" (Photo: NBC)

Julianne Moore insists her portrayal of Sarah Palin in the upcoming HBO movie “Game Change” is not meant to be some sort of satire of the firebrand former governor of Alaska and polarizing candidate for vice president.

Moore talked about the movie Thursday night in a spirited appearance with Jay Leno on NBC’s “Tonight Show.” Moore’s appearance came on the evening after Sen. John McCain appeared on the show. He also talked about the movie, which is about the 2008 presidential campaign and, specifically, the story of how McCain plucked Palin from obscurity to be his running mate.

McCain told Leno on Wednesday he had no interest in watching the movie — which resulted in a Thursday monologue joke for Jay that went like this: “We had Sen. John McCain on the show last night,” Jay said. “He said he will not watch ‘Game Change’. He’s not going to watch it. Nothing personal — it’s just ‘Matlock’ is on at the same time!” (When we heard this, we thought it was a great joke. And then we thought: Gee, we haven’t heard a “Matlock” joke in a long time!)

Clearly, with McCain and Moore both scheduled on consecutive nights, Jay had “Game Change” on his mind this week. We have Julianne Moore’s “Tonight Show” appearance in two parts — starting with the second part first, because that’s where she and Jay talked about the movie.

In her answers to Jay’s questions, Moore tried to disspell the preconceived notion held my many that she (and the makers of “Game Change”) set out to make a movie that was derisive of Gov. Palin — as if Moore would take a Tina Fey approach to portraying Palin. Moore insisted that the movie is about the campaign, first and foremost.

“It’s about the campaign,” she said, “and also how we elect our leaders. It’s told very much through the eyes of Steve Schmidt, played by Woody Harrelson, who was instrumental in the McCain campaign [and] about his [and McCain’s] decision to bring her on and what the repercussions were.”

Hear what Julianne Moore had to say about playing Sarah Palin here:
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In the first part of their interview, Moore demonstrated that she understands that comedy takes center stage on any late-night show, so when she was invited on “Tonight,” she came prepared to get a few laughs. She brought two props with her — both of which made for hilarious sight gags that seemed to delight Leno.

See what Julianne brought to “The Tonight Show” in this clip here:
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And, as always, we have the entire Thursday “Tonight Show” right here:
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