Sidney Poitier was approached about taking the role of POTUS on NBC’s hit serial The West Wing, series creator Aaron Sorkin reminds us in Monday’s premiere of The Big Interview on AXS TV. (Check out a clip of the interview below.) “I don’t think I’ve said this to anyone before, because I have not wanted Martin Sheen to think he was anything but our first choice at the beginning,” Sorkin tells Dan Rather, who conducts all the interviews for the limited entertainment-industry interview series debuting Monday. Entertainment Weekly reported this casting news ages ago, adding that the show did not want to pay Poitier’s asking price. But, anyway, Sorkin says that’s not the point. “And, here’s the point that I’m trying to make,” he explains – “I never say, ‘We have too much of this and we need a little less of that and we’ve got to get the color mixture right. I absolutely, when it comes to casting, want to put the best athletes on the field.” After delivering his version of the old “colorblind-casting” trope, Sorkin switches almost immediately in the interview to talking about his HBO series The Newsroom, which is tops on the list of Shows The Reporters Who Cover Television Love To Hate-Watch, for reasons not entirely clear. It may be that they simply dislike Sorkin, a lot. READ MORE »
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
(SPOILER ALERT! This report outlines news events that are covered in Season 2 of HBO’s The Newsroom.) Creator-showrunner Aaron Sorkin took the wraps off a chunk of the forthcoming second season of his controversial HBO journalism drama tonight as a gift to voting members of the TV Academy, hoping that a little sneak peek will help win them over just as Emmy balloting gets underway. During an event at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Sorkin described that clip of The Newsroom as the first 15 minutes of the new campaign. “When I was wondering which clip to show, our costume designer said, ‘Well, you know nothing ever really happens in the first 15 minutes of everything you write’,” Sorkin quipped. That convinced him that he wouldn’t be leaking too many spoilers in what the packed house saw. However, it did reveal one or two.
SPOILER ALERT! The new season kicks off with a present-day deposition involving the lawyer portrayed by Marcia Gay Harden in a guest turn and features Jane Fonda returning as the CEO of the show’s fictional network parent company. It then flashes back to Aug. 23, 2011, and the beginning of Mohammar Gadhafi’s fall in Libya. If possible, the pacing is even faster rat-a-tat-tat and adrenalin-infused than it was in its inaugural season. Sample dialogue: Lawyer: “Fourteen months after you went on the air, you called the Tea Party ‘The American Taliban.’ What happened?” Anchor: “The Taliban resented it.”
Related: TV TEASER: HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’
Diane Haithman and Ray Richmond contribute to Deadline TV coverage.
2ND UPDATE: Deadline never picked up these media rumors. Today Aaron Sorkin characterized them as “unsourced and untrue” that he had fired nearly all of the writers on The Newsroom. Sorkin brought up the matter during HBO‘s presentation before anybody asked. Sorkin also said there is no truth to the second part of the rumor: That one of the writers, Corinne Kingsbury, is the only writer who was spared because she is Sorkin’s ex-girlfriend. The Daily repeated the rumors first, followed by The Hollywood Reporter. (No wonder The Daily is firing nearly 30% of its staff…) The stuff “got repeated all over the place,” Sorkin said.
“The writing staff was not fired, OK? Just seeing that in print is scaring the hell out of the writing staff. They are acting very strangely, they are coming to work very early … I want the old gang back. It is a fantastic group of men and women to come to work with.” Sorkin did cop to a couple of staffing changes he said were made at the end of the season but said that they were mostly promotions of two writers assistants to staff writers. (While he did not address that, there are reportedly 2 writers from Season 1 of Newsroom who are not coming back.) Sorkin also stressed that Kingsbury is not neither an ex- or current girlfriend: “She is on the staff for the same reason everyone else is on the staff.” He added: “I think she is at the beginning of a very exciting career and I would hate for this rumor impact her career or follow her around for the rest of her life,” Sorkin said of Kingsbury, adding jokingly: “That’s Kingsbury with a ‘g’.”
He added that he had no girlfriends, either previous or current, on the writing staff.
HBO at first canceled Sorkin’s TCA appearance. But Sorkin stressed afterward in the huddle that he would have none of that running and hiding from his critics. “I said, ‘No, reinstate it’,” Sorkin confirmed afterward.
“I wanted to talk to the press.”
Hollywood has never concerned itself with self-plagiarizing. Ergo this video, which calls itself a “tribute to the work of Aaron Sorkin: the recycled dialogue, recurring phrases, and familiar plot lines. This is not intended as a critique but rather a playful excursion through Sorkin’s wonderful world of words…” (And …
Aaron Sorkin said today that he had a lot of hesitation about tackling a movie about Steve Jobs. “It is a little like writing about The Beatles,” Sorkin said at the AllThingsD conference this morning. Sorkin said he “saw a minefield of disappointment” from Jobs aficionados in taking on the script for the recently announced film based on Walter Isaacson’s bestselling biography. While the Oscar winner says it’s difficult “to shake the cradle to grave” approach of a book like Isaacson’s when adapting it for the screen, Sorkin says his approach is “going to identify the point of friction that appeals to me.” Sorkin, who received blowback for liberties he took with the actual life of Mark Zuckerberg in 2010’s The Social Network, told the conference crowd that they should think of biopics as “a painting, not a photograph.”
HBO has released another trailer for Aaron Sorkin’s new series The Newsroom. Multigenerational cast includes Jane Fonda, Jeff Daniels, Sam Waterston, Emily Mortimer, Dev Patel, Chris Chalk, Adina Porter and many others. Debuts June 24:
HBO has received first trailers for Aaron Sorkin’s new drama series The Newsroom and for the upcoming fifth season of Alan Ball’s True Blood. The Newsroom stars Jeff Daniels as the anchor of a primetime program on a cable news network whom the trailer portrays as outspoken, controversial and volatile. Great timing on the heels of the public firing by Current TV of Keith Olbermann who reportedly was one of the anchors Sorkin shadowed in his research for the show. The trailer also gives a glimpse at Newsroom‘s supporting cast, Emily Mortimer, Alison Pill, John Gallagher Jr, Olivia Munn, Dev Patel and Thomas Sadoski, as well as Sam Waterston as the network’s president and Jane Fonda in the guest-starring role of the CEO of the network’s parent company. As for True Blood, this is a first look at what will be the last season of the vampire drama shepherded by its creator Ball who is stepping down as showrunner.
Hugh Jackman Conjures Up Broadway Return In Aaron Sorkin-Penned Musical ‘Houdini’ For 2013-14 Season
BREAKING: Hugh Jackman has sealed his return to Broadway for the 2013-2014 season in Houdini, which marks the librettist debut of Aaron Sorkin, with music by Stephen Schwartz. Jack O’Brien has been set to direct the production, which will be presented by producer Scott Sanders and David Rockwell, the latter of whom will design the sets. The musical has been long in the works — at one time Danny Elfman was working on the music — and the creatives say they’ve now got a version that will bring an original and contemporary feel to the life and death of America’s first superstar.
Jackman, whose Broadway turns include the musical The Boy From Oz and a run of the Keith Huff play A Steady Rain with Daniel Craig, most recently finished a sold-out run of Hugh Jackman: Back On Broadway. Jackman’s about to start the movie musical Les Miserables, directed by The King’s Speech helmer Tom Hooper for for holiday 2012 release by Universal Pictures.
Said Jackman: “I have been deeply fascinated by the life of Harry Houdini since I was young, and in many ways I’ve been preparing for this role my whole life. I am thrilled to be collaborating with this collection of artists who are all at the top of their game.”