Director to replace Pollack in election drama

Jay Roach is turning from bigscreen laughs to hanging chads, stepping in to direct “Recount,” HBO’s account of the drama behind the 2000 presidential election.

He replaces Sydney Pollack, who has stepped down for personal reasons.

Pollack continues as an exec producer on the project, which explores the personal drama following the Florida recount from the contested Election Day results though the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of George W. Bush five weeks later (Daily Variety, April 2).

The film aims to chronicle the ordinary Americans “caught up in events slightly beyond their control,” HBO’s Colin Callender said when the project was announced.

The telepic had a vast array of roles to be cast ranging from activists and strategists to key politicians.

Roach’s credits include the three “Austin Powers” movies, as well as “Meet the Parents” and its sequel, “Meet the Fockers.” And though he’s known for his mainstream comedy sensibilities, Roach has had a hand in some politically oriented projects before. He was an exec producer on Showtime’s “American Candidate,” and he recently co-directed “Earth to America,” a TBS comedy showcase aimed at raising awareness about global warming.

Roach was also a producer on the feature “Borat” — whose title character was first exposed to U.S. auds via HBO.

“Recount” comes from HBO Films in association with Spring Creek/Mirage Prods. Danny Strong wrote the script, while Spring Creek’s Paula Weinstein will exec produce with Pollack and HBO Films’ Len Amato.

Pic is targeted to air next year, during the heat of the 2008 presidential campaign.

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