Talk about a double-take. HBO has released the first photo of actress Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in Game Change, the upcoming TV movie about the tumultuous 2008 U.S. presidential election.

Anyone who’s followed American politics for the last three years can attest to the striking similarity between Moore’s getup and the real thing. Besides the rather easy choice of the former Alaska governor’s iconic red blazer, wardrobe artists have matched her conservative ‘do and accessories to a “T.” Moore’s no slouch herself, putting on her best impression of northern hospitality.

While it’s not really fair to judge Game Change on the one and only production image released so far, it certainly affirms that Moore was the right choice for the part. If she can get the politican’s mannerisms down, her dramatic portrayal may be even better than Tina Fey’s celebrated comedic one.

While the costume and makeup transformation aren’t as arresting as, say, Ben Kingsley in Gandhi, it sets an exciting precedent for the other players in Game Change. Ed Harris’ portayal of Arizona senator John McCain should be interesting, since the two men have much less in common than Moore and Palin.

Judge for yourself – Moore’s on the left, Palin on the right:

There’s also some more casting to announce. As noted above, Ed Harris (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13) will play Republican presidential candidate John McCain. The role should be an easy one for Harris, who often plays authority figures and military men.

Woody Harrelson, who got a big boost with 2009’s Zombieland, will play campaign adviser Steve Schmidt. The role of Bristol Palin, whose unplanned pregnancy upset Palin’s conservative base, will be taken by Melissa Farman. The actress had a short arc on Lost as the younger version of Mira Furlan’s character Danielle. Other roles like senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have yet to be cast.

Game Change is based on an expose book written by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. HBO optioned the book for a TV movie early last year, pegging Jay Roach and Danny Strong of Recount to direct and write. The production currently has no release date.

Source: TV Guide