During our recent webcam chat (watch above) about their Showtime series “The Circus,” journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann reflected on the current state of American politics. Heilemann readily admits to being caught off-guard by the rise of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. “They have been the dominant forces in this campaign,” he concedes, adding that it was even more surprising as Trump hadn’t identified as a Republican until a couple of years ago and Sanders had been an independent for decades.
“The Circus” tracked the 2016 presidential primary season in real-time. Currently on hiatus, it will returning in July with four episodes that follow the party conventions and then be back in the fall to cover the debates and the general election campaign. For Halperin, “there is nothing more compelling than the unique way we elect our presidents and how it’s more than picking someone to run the government. We’re also picking someone to represent the current state of our nation and where we want to go as a nation.
Both Halperin and Heilemann are no strangers to the Emmys. In 2012, the HBO film adaptation of “Game Change,” their book about the 2008 election, won five Emmys including Best Movie and Movie/Mini Actress for Julianne Moore‘s portrayal of Sarah Palin.
With “The Circus,” which competes in the non-fiction field, they have to select a specific episode for Emmy consideration. Admits Halperin, “Every one has stuff in it that I like a lot. I could look at any of these episodes and say, ‘There’s something in there I’m really proud of.'”
The duo also dished their upcoming projects, including the possibility of a movie version of “Double Down: Game Change 2012.” Heilemann teases, “it’s still a possibility but we can’t say much about it.” Halperin suggests the whole thing be done in claymation. “Think ‘Mr. Bill’ on steroids,” he joked. Halperin also revealed there’s a possibility for a book about this year’s election, joking “it will be both pop-up and scratch-and-sniff!”
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