“I had never worked with an actor before where her job was to shut me out, but I felt so connected to her,” said Sarah Paulson about performing opposite Julianne Moore in the recent HBO movie “Game Change.” She added that Moore was “very, very good at making me feel that she was right there with me even though as the character, she was checked out.”
In the political drama, Paulson played Nicolle Wallace, a senior advisor hired by Steve Schmidt (Woody Harrelson) in the 2008 presidential campaign of Senator John McCain (Ed Harris). She was responsible for mentoring and assisting his vice-presidential running mate Governor Sarah Palin (Moore). The two of them frequently clashed over campaign decisions and media relations. It was only the second time in her career to portray a real person (after a smaller role in the TV movie “The Notorious Bettie Page”).
In a video interview with Gold Derby, Paulson revealed, “My responsibility in the movie was to play Nicolle behind-the-scenes, not the public Nicolle, so that was all the stuff that I could gather from the script that Danny Strong wrote. It was all on the page, and it was very clear who she was. She had a very strong moral center, and she was a person who had a great deal of morality. I did not get to speak with her before I made the movie, but I wish I had.”
Paulson will be on the Emmy Awards ballot this summer as Best TV Movie/Miniseries Supporting Actress. Her most formidable competitor is expected to be Jessica Lange from “American Horror Story,” a show on which Paulson guested. They also appeared together on Broadway in 2005 in “The Glass Menagerie.”