Perhaps the least well-known script ever to top the Black List and still get made, “Recount,” from former “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” actor Danny Strong (who most recently penned “The Butler,” which is set to team Lee Daniels and Denzel Washington), went behind the scenes of the drama of the 2000 election, and the controversial series of recounts in Florida that (eventually) saw George W. Bush defeat Al Gore for the Presidency.
The gripping drama featured a top-notch cast, including Kevin Spacey, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson and a particularly good Laura Dern, and surprisingly strong direction from “Meet the Parents” helmer Jay Roach, but due to airing a handful of times on HBO, never quite entered the zeitgeist in the way that, say, 2009’s Black List topper “The Social Network” did.
Nevertheless, it was a particularly good political drama of the kind that doesn’t get made that often, and we’re pleased by the news, from The Wrap, that Roach, Strong and HBO are coming back together for what seems to be a sequel in all but name. Strong is adapting “Game Change,” based on the book “Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin and the Race of a Lifetime,” by John Heileman, of New York Magazine, and Mark Halperin, of Time Magazine, and Roach is attached to direct.
While the conclusion wasn’t perhaps as down-to-the-wire as the 2000 election, the 2008 election presented plenty of high drama, and perhaps most importantly, a raft of fascinating characters — we’re dying to see Bill Clinton, John McCain and Sarah Palin get the same treatment that Strong and Roach gave Katharine Harris in “Recount.” The main question here, however, is one of scope — with a wider remit of a campaign that stretched over a full year, we wonder if the finished script may risk taking on too much; one could easily make a whole series out of the 2008 campaign.
We’re also pleased that Roach is returning to something more serious; we’d rather he worked on something like this than on another sub-par comedy like “Dinner For Schmucks.” There’s no immediate word on when it might shoot or air, but Roach has another election-themed picture, a comedy set to star Will Ferrell and Zach Galifiankais, set for release at the end of 2012, although word’s been quiet on that of late. Let the Palin casting begin!