Washington’s Glitzy Debut of ‘Game Change’

HBO’s Game Change came to Washington last night, perhaps in more ways than one. Politicians, their aides and reporters came together last night at the Newseum for a star-studded evening to celebrate the now famed book by NY Mag’s John Heilemann and TIME‘s Mark Halperin. On hand was Julianne Moore, who plays former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and producer Tom Hanks.

Also dotted in the crowd were network stars like the inseparable Mika Brzezinksi and Joe Scarborough of MSNBC (pictured above). The pair mingled at the cocktail party. Once in their seats, they rose twice — once to say hello to Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson and then a second time. Mika returned with little slices of bread, which she shared with Joe. Then 15 minutes into the movie, they bolted for the door.

Before the screening, reporters convened on the ground level for what turned out to be one of the sanest red carpets we’ve seen in a long time thanks to SKDKnickerbocker. Check-in was smooth and drama free. Reporters appeared to quietly get the interviews they needed and none of the cameramen were shoving or stressed out. Unlike some of these celeb events, the scene never turned into a brawl. Guests received fancy chocolate on the way out.

Halperin and Heilemann were the belles of the ball last night. Halperin explained that he and Heilemann were not close before writing the book. “We sure are now,” he said. ” We had never even written a shopping list together. Now we’re joined at the hip. We debate, but our general view of journalism is simpatico.” Asked who is his favorite star in the movie, he replied, “I love all our children equally.” Both men are tall, but Heilemann towers over everyone he encounters, especially Game Change scriptwriter Danny Strong. Halperin is dark-haired and talks in soundbites. Heilemann is bald and speaks off the cuff.  While in a press gaggle, Heilemann joked that he likes to rest drinks on Danny’s head.

The Hill‘s Managing Editor Bob Cusack got quite a jolt to see himself in the film as an extra — well, he’s 98 percent certain it’s him. He’s something of a professional extra (he was also in “Clear and Present Danger”). “I was sitting right behind Woody Harrelson as a bar patron,” he told FBDC. “Spent my life preparing myself for that half a second. I think I nailed the scene.”

Heilemann and Strong

Luke Russert

Spotted in the crowd…

Guests were a mix of media such as Politico‘s Executive Jim VandeHei and his nicer half (just joking) wife, Autumn, Patrick Gavin, Kim Kingsley and Mike Allen. We spotted NYT‘s Mark Leibovich, NBC’s Luke Russert, WaPo’s Ed O’Keefe and Jonathan Capehart. Others: CNN’s Dana Bash (who appeared as herself in the movie), as did her colleague Gloria Borger, Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson, The Daily Caller’s Nick Ballasy, GOP Consultant Kevin Madden, and GOP media consultant Ron Bonjean and wife, Sara (a.k.a. the party hoppers), The Hill‘s Emily Goodin, publicist Courtney Cohen, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) Washington Examiner‘s Nikki Schwab, Roll Call‘s Warren Rojas, and publicist/Hollywood on the Potomac blogger Janet Donovan. Both US Weekly and People had reporters and/or camera people on hand. There were also German, Chinese and Japanese TV stations.

MSNBC Contributor and Dylan Ratigan Show regular Jimmy Williams was there and already antsy for a sequel. “It’s kind of hard to take a book and put it into two hours. He says between Heilemann and Halperin he’s more of a Heilemann fan — “I have more in common with John, our ages, we’re both loudmouths.”

Nikki Schwab, Warren Rojas

Nick Ballasey

Jason Materra

Gloria Borger

Publish date: March 9, 2012 https://stage.adweek.com/digital/washingtons-glitzy-debut-of-game-change/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT