Exclusive: Aaron Sorkin says “The Newsroom” is not a “ventriloquist act”



L’chaïm! (HBO)

Last week, Aaron Sorkin spoke to members of the Writers Guild Foundation in Los Angeles on a myriad of topics related to his personal mission statement totally romanticized show, The press room. Last night’s epic finale was screened before the conversation. While we have reported several of his responses regarding last week’s episode and the controversy that followed, we weren’t monsters enough to post any real spoilers for the series finale. So here is, for the first time, Aaron Sorkin describing fatherhood, the epic romance of Jim and Maggie (Jaggie?) And the first draft of the last episode involving Mac getting hit by an ice cream truck.

Did you know at the start of the series that you would end up like this?

No. I didn’t know it at the time or at the start of this season. We talked about it in the writer’s room. Lots of suggestions – it’s the end of ACN and the last scene would be them in a warehouse streaming to a tiny web cam. There were all kinds of ideas, but this one started to take shape. I envy the writers who know how their series is going to end. I envy those who know what’s going to happen next week.

At first it was suggested to dramatize the end of cable news as we know it and I said we can’t do that. It is an optimistic spectacle, a romantic spectacle, it is an idealized spectacle. We came up with the metaphor of the boat and how it will continue to move forward and it will always be so and the honor is in the struggle.

Halfway through, I knew someone was going to die. At the start of the season, there is no such thing as a bad idea, so we talked about the deaths of almost everyone. Person who was safe there for a while. And we were always talking about it, was it going to be random? Was Mac going to be hit by an ice cream truck crossing the street? What we landed on was what Sloan said in the finale… that Charlie died fighting for something he didn’t believe in, which was excruciating, although Don made him see it differently.

On the service of last season’s romantic intrigues.

Jim and Maggie – I told the staff you know I don’t think they have to get together at the end of the season, everything doesn’t have to be linked and it was Paul Lieberstein who said – and he had 100 % right – in the pilot episode, a promise is made to the audience that Jim and Maggie are going to reunite. Mac says to Jim, “It’s me before I get to be myself and get hotter with age.” You have to go and introduce yourself to your wife. So we made that promise and we had to keep it.

About Mac Pregnancy.

I’ll take as much optimism as possible. The decision for this was more for Will to get rid of his father, this loneliness, this anger and become a father. I’m a dad, and I can tell you there’s nothing that makes you feel more like a man than being a dad and I just wanted that for Will.

The accusations of his writing being his personal political platform.

Let me be as clear as possible. Neither this show nor anything else I have ever written was autobiographical, nor was it a ventriloquist act. I don’t speak through these characters. I have always liked the sound of debates. I like clashes of ideas, romanticism and idealism and I’m just trying to create a world where it can happen. I know real political activists and I am not one of them.

Looks like I’m the activist, but I’m not. I write characters who are smarter than me and care deeply about these things and they fight against each other for these things. It is very rare that I answer a question that I have asked.

Exclusive: Aaron Sorkin says



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