HBO is now the home for two GOP-centric projects leading to the 2012 election.
After previously announcing they would begin work on the original television movie surrounding the 2008 run for the presidency (particularly Sarah Palin) with Game Change, HBO has announced it will begin production of a miniseries based on the political life of polarizing former Vice President, Dick Cheney.
HBO, in conjunction with executive producer Paula Weinstein, will base the miniseries on both the book Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency, from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barton Gellman, and The Dark Side, a documentary which aired on the PBS news program, Frontline.
The Dark Side gives an in-depth look at Cheney’s long political career – from his role in the Nixon administration, to becoming White House Chief of Staff under President Ford, to his time with the U.S. House of Representatives from Wyoming, Secretary of Defense for President George H.W. Bush, and finally his two terms as Vice President under George W. Bush.
And while a title like The Dark Side seems to reference the oft-used jab of referring to Cheney as Darth Vader, the phrase actually came from Cheney himself on NBC’s Meet the Press, describing what it will take to fight terrorism.
Crafting a coherent story from all of this material will be Emmy Award-winning writer Rick Cleveland who, after writing The West Wing with Aaron Sorkin, is no stranger to high-profile political dramas. As told by the project’s producers, the miniseries will focus heavily on Cheney’s “single-minded pursuit of enhanced power for the Presidency (that) was unprecedented in the nation’s history.”
The miniseries will mark the second time Cheney has been portrayed onscreen since becoming Vice President – Richard Dreyfuss played him in the 2008 Oliver Stone film, W. Though it’s doubtful producers are looking at Dreyfuss to reprise his performance, they will certainly be on the prowl for a similarly accomplished actor that can pretty much guarantee an Emmy nomination for this effort. At the moment, however, there doesn’t appear to be any kind of actor wishlist, let alone a short one, so we can let our imaginations run wild with potential casting.
Regardless of how you may feel about Cheney and his political beliefs and aspirations, one thing is certain: he’s an intriguing figure that will no doubt make for entertaining television. Whether this miniseries will win praise for its accuracy, or be derided for simply stoking the fire between the nation’s political parties so close to an election, remains to be seen.