Aaron Sorkin

  • Aired:  06/28/12
  •  | Views: 13,985

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin talks about the golden age of news, "The West Wing" and what makes America the greatest country. (6:09)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY, MY GUEST, NEW HBO SHOW EXPLORES TELEVISION JOURNALISTS STRUGGLING TO

DOT NEWS WITH INTEGRITY SOME IT IS SORT OF A SCI-FI SANTA SEE THING, PLEASE WELCOME AARON SORKIN.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) AARON, GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

THANKS FOR COMING BACK.

SIT DOWN.

ALL RIGHT.

EVERYBODY KNOWS YOU ARE THE ACADEMY AWARD WING AND EMMY AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR, WRITER

OF THE WEST WING, AND THE SOCIAL NETWORK, AND MONEY BALL.

NOW YOU'VE GOT A NEW SHOW.

IT'S CALLED THE NEWSROOM.

>> YEAH.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

IT CENTERS ON A NEWS ANCHOR WHO DOESN'T HOLD BACK, TELLS IT LIKE IT IS.

WHERE ARE MY ROYALTY CHECKS?

(LAUGHTER) OKAY, YOU COME ON MY SHOW LAST YEAR AND SUDDENLY YOU HAVE A SHOW THAT IS PRETTY

MUCH JUST ABOUT ME.

>> YEAH.

>> Stephen: OKAY Y DO YOU WANT TO WRITE ABOUT THE NEWS?

>> YOU KNOW WHAT, BECAUSE I THINK THAT THE NEWS IS LOOKED AT VERY CYNICALLY NOW

AND I WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT IT IDEALISTICALLY AND ROMANTICALLY.

>> Stephen: WHAT IS THIS GOLDEN AGE THAT PEOPLE TALK ABOUT IN NEWS?

>> WELL,-- .

>> Stephen: GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE.

>> WALTER CRONKITE, EDWARD R. MURROW.

>> Stephen: CRONKITE, MURROW,

REALLY.

>> HACKS.

>> Stephen: I DON'T KNOW ABOUT HACKS, I'M SURE THEY WERE FINE IN THEIR TIME.

THEY COULDN'T HACK THE SPEED WITH WHICH WE WORK RIGHT NOW.

CRONKITE COULDN'T REPORT ON A KARDASHIAN-- HE COULDN'T HANDLE IT.

HE WOULD HAVE TO GET THREE CONFIRMATIONS BEFORE HE SAID IT WAS LEFT NIPPLE, RIGHT NIPPLE.

>> THE SPEED AT WHICH WE REPORT RIGHT NOW IS THE REASON WHY TWO NETWORKS

REPORTED TODAY THAT THE HEALTH CARE LAW WAS STRUCK DOWN.

>> Stephen: I NOTICE THERE IS SOME KIND-- I THINK WE WILL ALL REMEMBER WHERE WE

WERE WHEN WE HEARD THAT

[BLEEP].

>> BECAUSE THERE IS SOME KIND OF VIRTUE IN BEING TWO MINUTES EARLIER THAN THE NEXT GUY.

>> Stephen: YEAH.

>> BUT WHAT THESE GUYS ARE REALLY ABOUT, HONESTLY, THIS SHOW IS A SWASHBUCKLING,

ROMANTIC COMEDY.

>> Stephen: THERE ARE PIRATES.

>> ACTUAL PIRATES.

AND IT IS REALLY A FANTASY SET AGAINST REAL WORLD EVENTS.

HOW THE NEWS IS MADE UP.

THE SHOW TAKES PLACE IN THE VERY RECENT PAST AS A MATTER OF FACT THERE IS A STORY IN

ONE OF THE EPISODES, IN THE SCRIPT, I WOULD LIKE TO SHOW THE PEOPLE RIGHT NOW JISMT,

HIT IT.

>> YOU GUISE HAVE NINE MINUTES AND --

>> I WANT TO GO ON RECORD SAYING WE SHOULD OPEN WITH PHIL.

>> DONE.

>> WE'LL OPEN WITH THE SPILL.

>> NO, BUT YOU ARE ON RECORD SAYING YOU THINK WE SHOULD.

>> THE SPILL IS ONLY ANYTHING IS TALKING ABOUT.

>> WE ARE THE ONES TELLING THEM TO, WE'RE STILL REPORTING IT.

>> I'M LOOKING AT FILM OF AN OIL RIG SINKING INTO THE OCEAN THAT IS PRETTY GOOD TELEVISION.

>> WE DON'T DO GOOD TELEVISION.

WE DO THE NEWS.

>> Stephen: WAS'S RIGHT IN THAT ARGUMENT.

>> YOU GET TO DECIDE.

>> Stephen: NO, YOU GET TO DECIDE.

YOU-- WHEN YOU WRITE THESE SHOWS YOU HAVE AN IDEA WHO IS RIGHT.

I WATCHED WEST WING.

IT WASN'T LIKE MAYBE BARTLETT WAS THE BAD GUY.

>> NO.

>> Stephen: YOU MAKE A DECISION, WHO IS THE GOOD GUY AND THE BAD GUY, YOUR TV SHOWS.

>> I DO.

EMILY IS RIGHT IN THAT ARGUMENT AND SHE IS SWASHBUCKLING.

>> Stephen: I'M WATCHING THE SHOW, I'M ENJOYING THE SHOW.

>> I'M GLAD.

>> Stephen: THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

I LIVE TO PLEASE YOU.

DO YOU THINK THAT PEOPLE CARE WHAT HAPPENS IN THE NEWS.

BECAUSE MY ONLY CONCERN ABOUT THIS SHOW IS THAT WITH THE WEST WING, PEOPLE CARED

ABOUT OUR POLITICSMENT THOSE EMBODY IDEALS THAT ARE UNIVERSAL.

YOU THINK THE IDEALS OF NEWS REALLY MATTER TO ANYBODY?

YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT THIS SHOW IS GOING TO SUCCEED OR FAIL FOR THE SAME REASON ANY

OTHER SHOW DOES.

HOW ENGAGED IS THE AUDIENCE WITH THE CHARACTER, WITH THEIR PERSONAL LIVES, WITH

THEIR RELATIONSHIPS.

IT'S NOT GOING TO SUCCEED OR FAIL DEPENDING ON IF YOU ARE A NEWS JUNKIE OR NOT.

SAME THING WITH THE WEST WING OR ANYTHING ELSE.

I WAS GOING SAY, WE SHOOT OUR SHOW IN THE EXACT SAME STATES SHE SHOT THE MONDAY

KEERX WE ARE AFTER THE SAME THING.

>> Stephen: REALLY.

>> OUR GOALS ARE THE SAME AS THERES.

>> Stephen: HERE YOU COME WALKING DOWN THE STREET, GET THE FUNNIEST LOOKS FROM

EVERY ONE WE MEET.

HEY HEY IT'S THE NEWSROOM.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

(APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: YOU KNOW, YOUR CHARACTERS-- , THE CHARACTERS ON YOUR SHOW, ARE

YOU OFTEN CRIT SIGHED FOR WRITING CHARACTERS WHO SEEK THIS HUGE PONDEROUS MONOLOGUE.

>> I'M OFTEN CRITICIZE.

>> Stephen: YES, ARE YOU BUT PEOPLE SAY YOU DON'T WRITE THE WAY PEOPLE TALK.

PEOPLE DON'T ACTUALLY TALK TO OTHER PEOPLE IN FUSELAGE OF ARGUMENTS AND LIKE SORT

OF A VERBAL NORMANDY THAT JUST OVERTAKES NOT ONLY THE PERSON THEY ARE SPEAKING TO

IN THE OTHER CHAIR BUT THE AUDIENCE THAT'S LISTENING.

AND AS THE PERSON WHO IS SAYING IT IS ACTUALLY JUST AN EXPRESSION OF YOU UP ON A

MOUNTAIN, BUT IS IT MOSES ON THE MOUNTAINTOP OR JUST AARON SORKIN ON HIS OWN PILE

OF [BLEEP] AND HE DOESN'T HAVE THE GOLDEN TABLETS IN HIS HANDS.

HE'S HE'S JUST DOING A LINE OFF THE TABLETS RIGHT THERE AND SAYING LOOK AT ME, I'M

THE [BLEEP] KING OF MEDIA!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) PEOPLE DON'T TALK LIKE THAT.

YOU REALIZE THAT THAT IS NOT REALISTIC.

>> PEOPLE DON'T TALK LIKE THAT.

AND AT LEAST AT MY HIGH SCHOOL IT WASN'T LIKE GLEE.

>> Stephen: WELL INCOME THE VERY FIRST EPISODE, IN THE VERY FIRST --

>> YOUR MAIN CHARACTER IS ASKED, WHY DO YOU THINK AMERICA --

>> WHAT MAKES AMERICA THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.

>> Stephen: IT'S MY SHOW.

I WILL ASK-- (LAUGHTER) WHAT MAKES AMERICA THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.

AARON SORKIN, WHAT MAKES AMERICA THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.

>> YOU.

YOU DO.

>> Stephen: I'M FLATTERED.

BUT WAIT, NO, WAIT, WAIT.

I WANT A HUMAN MOMENT.

>> HONESTLY, I THINK IT'S THE FACT THAT WE WANT TO DO BETTER.

THAT WE SET CERTAIN GOALS FOR OURSELVES.

WE THINK THAT THERE IS A CERTAIN WAY, A CERTAIN THING THAT AMERICA SHOULD BE.

A CERTAIN WAY THAT AMERICANS SHOULD BE.

AND EVEN IF WE ARE NOT THAT,

WE WANT TO BE THAT.

WE KNOW THAT WE CAN DO BETTER.

(APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: YOU, SIR, ARE READING MY MIND.

AARON SORKIN.

THE NEWS ROOM AIRS SUNDAY AT 10 ON HBO.

CHECK IT OUT.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

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