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HBO's "The Newsroom" seems to just now be hitting its stride after getting off to a rocky start in 2012. And for that, writer Aaron Sorkin is sorry.
"I’m going to let you all stand in for everyone in the world, if you don’t mind. I think you and I got off on the wrong foot with ' The Newsroom' and I apologize and I’d like to start over," Sorkin told the crowd at a Tribeca Film Festival discussion on Monday.
Sorkin further explained:
“I think that there’s been a terrible misunderstanding. I set the show in the recent past because I didn't want to make up fake news and I wanted the option of having the terrific dynamic of the audience knowing more than the characters. That can be exciting. I wasn't trying to teach professional journalists a lesson or try and persuade you of anything. When I write about politics it's because there's a treasure trove of great stories that can happen. I was treating the newsroom the same way you would treat a law firm or an emergency room. I like writing romantically and trying to balance it with realism so it seems attainable."
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"I think you and I got off on the wrong foot with 'The Newsroom' and I apologize and I’d like to start over," Sorkin said during Monday's Tribeca Film Festival.
As Sorkin spoke to the crowd, he revealed it was the first time ever that he had not been present on set when one of his shows was shooting.
Sorkin was the subject of a Tribeca Film Festival discussion Monday as "The Newsroom" was shooting an episode about the 2013 Boston Marathon out in California.
Despite years of writing for shows like "Sports Night," "The West Wing," and "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip," Sorkin insists, " I haven’t become an expert in anything. I’m not sophisticated when it comes to politics, when it comes to journalism. I’m not as smart as the characters are. I want to make it clear: I don’t know nothin'."
Instead, Sorkin says, " When I have to write about something I don't understand, I write about it phonetically."
But while Sorkin just finished writing his seventh film — based on Walter Isaacson's best-selling Steve Jobs biography — he says that writing for TV is much harder.
"In TV, the schedule is so fast and ferocious," Sorkin explains. "There are air dates that have to be met. You have to write when you're not writing well and then the camera shoots at it. For 'The Newsroom,' we shoot my first drafts.
"There isn't a single episode of television I don't wish I could go back and write again," he said.
But as "The Newsroom" enters season three this fall, Sorkin says he's just starting to hit his stride with the HBO show:
“I feel like I’m just now starting to learn how to write it. I’m very proud of ' The Newsroom .' I have the time of my life working with the people I work with, but there is a learning curve and, unfortunately, those lessons are learned in front of several million people. Again, that’s what you sign up for. I wish that I could go back to the beginning of ' The Newsroom' and start again and replicate what you have with a play, which is a preview period … But I’m feeling really good about how the third season is going. I’ll look back on it fondly and proudly and wish I could get every scene of every episode back so that I could do it all over again.”
While continuing to be self-deprecating, Sorkin revealed one show he admires: "I 'm crazy about 'Breaking Bad' — but I wouldn't know how to write an episode of 'Breaking Bad.'"
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