Though I appreciate HBO’s desire to save their writing staff’s reputation by calling it normal to sack nearly all of Sorkin’s writing staff for ‘The Newsroom,’ the truth is — it isn’t normal. It might be normal to replace a few writers, but if the rumors are true and the entire staff was overhauled, then they are likely restructuring in response to some harsh critics of the show. The business is brutal, and if the ratings don’t stand up to the network’s expectation, changes are made extremely fast. Plus, something tells me Aaron Sorkin is not an easy guy to deal with in the writer’s room, and his own personal standards as the show’s creator (and God of all entertainment writing) might have also contributed to HBO’s decision.
Here at The Dishmaster, I read a lot of interviews, and every so often a story is just ridiculous enough to sound off my red-flag alarm. Today’s story in question involves ‘The Newsroom’ star Jeff Daniels, and how he landed his coveted new role. When asked how he convinced writer Aaron Sorkin that he could shed his nice-guy persona for a mean guy role, Daniels said:
“I had to have a meeting with [Aaron Sorkin] at a hotel here in New York to convince him that I could be angry and I tried, you know, raising my voice, being rude to the waiter and I tried all these different things and I could tell he wasn’t buying it. So at some point, I just said, ‘Aaron’ and I reached across and I placed my hand on his head… I”m gonna do this to Jimmy and it’s not going to hurt. I promise. And I took Aaron’s head and I slammed it down into the table and he bounced back up and then I had the role!”
In short, there’s no way that happened.