Julianne Moore and other actresses who have played politics on screen


By now most people have seen the creepy spot-on promotional shot of Julianne Moore channeling Sarah Palin for the new film Game Change. The first photo of the Oscar-nominated actress getting her Alaska on captures the former governor’s kinetic intensity and propensity for pointing.

Palin isn’t even the only politician Julianne has considered playing. She was cast as Palin’s near polar opposite, Hillary Clinton, for the HBO movie The Special Relationship. But Julianne had to pull out when scheduling conflicted with her The Kids Are All Right role. Hope Davis filled in for her instead. Wise decision, because not only did she get to make TKAAR but I think her Palin is more nightmare inducing better than her Clinton.

Of course, other actresses to have slipped on power suits (or bustles and bonnets) to portray real-life powerful political figures. Meryl Streep will become Margaret Thatcher in the upcoming film The Iron Lady about the former British Prime Minister. A long list of actresses have portrayed Thatcher, as expertly chronicled by The Telegraph, from Lindsay Duncan to Greta Scacchi (the latter played her “sexy” with a striptease and everything – wrap your noodle around that imagery). But with Meryl I say “become” because the first photo of her as Maggie is even more eerie than Julianne as Palin. I think it’s all in the eyes.

Helen Mirren won an Oscar for playing the apolitical but powerful Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 film The Queen. I don’t think they look particularly alike, but her mannerisms were pretty perfect.

The in the 2008 film W., Thandie Newton took on former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The resemblance was better than expected – I think it’s the scowl.

And then, of course, there are all the fantastic Saturday Night Live parodies, from Tina Fey as Palin to Amy Poehler as Clinton and Kristen Wiig as everyone from Michele Bachmann to Nancy Pelosi.

But after that, when trying to think of actresses who have played actual political you have to start reaching further back in history. Ingrid Bergman won an Emmy and Golden Globe for playing Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, who served in the ‘60s and ‘70s, in the 1982 TV movie A Woman Called Golda.

Madonna famously played the first lady of Argentina Eva Peron during her reign in the ‘40s and ‘50s in the 1996 musical Evita. Out actress Cynthia Nixon played former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt around the time of the Great Depression in the film Warm Springs.

And then we need to start reaching way, way back. Emily Blunt played 19th Century Queen Victoria in The Young Victoria. Laura Linney was former First Lady Abigail Adams, during the late 18th Century, in the HBO miniseries John Adams. Cate Blanchett portrayed the powerful 16th Century monarch in Elizabeth.

So, clearly, the paucity of recent portrayals of female political figures speaks to the paucity of real-life women in powerful positions. So, let’s try to rectify that at the ballot box, ladies. But for now, which portrayals are your favorite, or are you looking forward to the most? Also, on a scale of 1 to pitbull in lipstick, how freaky is Julianne as Palin?

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