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Sorkin Talks Upcoming HBO Series 'The Newsroom,' False 'Barton Fink' Experience, Cliffhanger Pressure, Pedi-Conferencing, Steve Jobs (VIDEO)

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood June 8, 2012 at 6:12PM

Aaron Sorkin's terrific in-depth interview with Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times, which has been published incrementally on the Times' Arts Beat blog, had its final installment today. Sorkin talks "the writer's enemy is fatigue," stressing the cliche of the cliffhanger, and the two on-air shows he's "evangelical" about. Excerpts from the interview below.
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Aaron Sorkin
Kevin Scanlon for the New York Times Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin's terrific in-depth interview with Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times, which has been published incrementally on the Times' Arts Beat blog, had its final installment Thursday. Sorkin talks about how "the writer's enemy is fatigue," stresses the cliche of the cliffhanger, and the two on-air shows he's "evangelical" about. Excerpts from the interview below.

"As a writer in Hollywood, there’s a well-worn myth that your enemy is the network or the studio or the producer or the director, that it’s a 'Barton Fink' experience. I haven’t had the 'Barton Fink' experience. A writer’s enemy is fatigue. When you’re tired, when you’re burnt out, you’re just not very interesting. And that’s what you have to fight against."

"I’m about to write our season finale. And I don’t know what the expectation is for season finales. Are you supposed to write a cliffhanger? Are you not supposed to write a cliffhanger? Is that a cliché?"

"If anyone is a huge fan of the walk-and-talk, they’re going to be a little disappointed in this show. There’s less pedi-conferencing on this show than there was on “The West Wing.” And I’m liking that. I’m enjoying people standing still and talking a little bit more."

"The Newsroom," which airs on HBO on June 24, stars Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer and Sam Waterston. Preternaturally tan Sorkin also discusses his upcoming Steve Jobs assignment with All Things Digital, below. "It's a little like writing about the Beatles," says Sorkin. "It's a minefield of disappointment...It's bound to happen...Think of it as a painting and not a photograph."

This article is related to: Aaron Sorkin, HBO, Television, TV News, TV Interviews


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.