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Trailer Watch: Sorkin's 'The Newsroom' Punches America in the Face

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 3, 2012 at 3:51PM

Keith Olbermann anyone? Actually, Jeff Daniels' news anchor, at the start of Aaron Sorkin's new HBO series "The Newsroom" (June 24), is an upstanding objective news anchor without political bias until he completely loses it--under video grilling that goes viral. Like Peter Finch in Sidney Lumet's 1976 "Network," he's mad as hell and he isn't going to take it anymore. Daniels ("The Squid and the Whale") is a terrific actor; I first met him at the start of his career, playing Debra Winger's husband Flap, on the set of "Terms of Endearment" in 1982.
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The Newsroom, Daniels
THE NEWSROOM

Keith Olbermann anyone? Actually, Jeff Daniels' news anchor, at the start of Aaron Sorkin's new HBO series "The Newsroom" (June 24), is an upstanding objective news anchor without political bias until he completely loses it--under video grilling that goes viral. Like Peter Finch in Sidney Lumet's 1976 "Network," he's mad as hell and he isn't going to take it anymore. Daniels ("The Squid and the Whale") is a terrific actor; I first met him at the start of his career, playing Debra Winger's husband Flap, on the set of "Terms of Endearment" in 1982.

Clearly, "The Newsroom" gives show creator Sorkin (who won an Oscar for "The Social Network" and was nominated with Steve Zaillian for "Moneyball") free rein to go to town on everything that piques him about American politics and culture; this makes "West Wing" and "Sports Night" look like mere preambles. Bring it on.

The trailer sets up the major players led by Daniels, with Emily Mortimer in the Holly Hunter role from "Broadcast News," avuncular Sam Waterston as Daniels' news boss and Jane Fonda in a role that could have been played by "Network"'s Faye Dunaway. (His newsroom staff are John Gallagher, Jr., Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, Dev Patel and Olivia Munn.) Scott Rudin ("A Social Network") and Alan Poul ("Six Feet Under") are also executive producers.

It's great to see Fonda back; next up she plays Nancy Reagan in "Precious" director Lee Daniels' "The Butler," a casting choice that has typically been excoriated because she's such a notorious Liberal. Is Fonda not an Oscar-winning chameleon who came up in Hollywood along with one-time ingenue Nancy Davis, who was once under contract at MGM? Please.
 

This article is related to: Video, Video, HBO, Television, TV, Stuck In Love, Aaron Sorkin, Politics, Jane Fonda, Trailers


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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.