Aaron Sorkin has found himself under fire lately from many different sources about his latest project The Newsroom, and in this very personal interview he gives a look at just how hard it is to do what he does so very well and how those struggles resulted in a shorter season 2.
Lately it seems that all of Sorkin’s biggest critics are taking their shots at him at once, commenting on the liberality of The Newsroom, along with the classic criticisms concerning the portrayal of women and the gift that hindsight brings when you are talking about structuring a show on news events of the recent past.
In this interview with The Hollywood Reporter, fans of The Newsroom get a rare glimpse inside the mind of Aaron Sorkin, and just what his process looks like. We have all grown so accustomed to his genius that we expect it to be easy, but apparently writing an episode of The Newsroom can mean taking up to 6 showers a day in the attempt to refocus and center on the task at hand.
“I’m not a germaphobe; it’s kind of a do-over,” Sorkin comments on the up to six showers he’ll sometimes take daily, It can be “horrible,” he acknowledges. “Writer’s block is like my default position. When I’m able to write something, that’s when something weird is going on.” It’s nice to know he faces the same writer’s block amateur authors the world over face day after day.
While he is very much aware of the criticisms his work has received since The Newsroom debuted last summer on HBO, Sorkin has a very healthy attitude as to how to tally forth into season 2, “I hope some of the people who were turned off by the show last year take a second look and maybe are a little bit happier,” he continues. “But you’re playing a dangerous game if you write to try to change people’s minds.”
We can only hope that in addition to the average 7.1 million viewers that tuned in week after week last season to see Sorkin’s newest endeavor, that a few of the naysayers will see the improvements made and find something to love in the misadventures of the crew at News Night.
He goes on to talk about how much of the first two or three episodes of The Newsroom season 2 had to be re-shot after a crisis of faith told him that he just hadn’t gotten it quite right.
Where other major networks may have scoffed or dismissed such a radical notion, HBO merely nodded in agreement. HBO programming president Michael Lombardo had this to say about the request, “Aaron presented a very reasonable and responsible approach to how he wanted to restructure the second season,” he says, “and it was a very easy yes for us.”
It also appears that due to that restructuring, The Newsroom season 2 will only be nine episodes long. While trying to salvage as much of the story that could be used in the new versions of episodes 1 and 2, HBO reduced the episode order to nine in order to ease the burden felt by Sorkin as well as his very hardworking cast and crew.
Now that the job is complete and Sorkin is anxiously waiting to show his hard work to an audience he admits, “Now all I want in the world is to go back and write it all over again.”
It sure sounds like completing work on The Newsroom season 2 was a milestone in itself, but now all we can do is wait until July 14 to see the season 2 debut, and find out whether the second season will garner enough viewers and critical support to earn McAvoy and his crew at News Night another season to do the news right.