Fan of “The Newroom,” are you? Well, we were in the beginning – a lot. Until it meandered on unevenly, with script that got heavy-handed at times, and performances that bordered on the annoying (try every time Emily Mortimer – as MacKenzie McHale – opened her mouth and did her cutesy Will McAvoy angst thing; and that Jim-Maggie story line that severely tested our patience).
How about that Season 2 ender? It was a cliffhanger, sure, but not in a good way – feeling more like somebody just wanted to get it over with. Plus, Mac and Will getting married? We can already see Mortimer milking it; again, not in a good way.
Perhaps the only thing that still proved amusing – if anything about a show on newsroom drama can actually be amusing – was Olivia Munn’s Sloan Sabbith. Getting a share of the remaining witty lines written for the second season, Munn’s take on the socially awkward economist/journalist saved us from having to throw our shoe at the TV screen.
So the show will have a third season, whether you like it or not. At least that’s what Jeff Daniels (McAvoy) said on Twitter. Though reports also have it that it’s on a longer hiatus to accommodate creator/chief writer Aaron Sorkin’s schedule.
During visit to Singapore in July 2013, Munn shared her thoughts on the show and working with Sorkin, and being a real-life Journalism major who has to pretend to be a journalist on screen:
Script after (same) script:
“When you look at the new shows that come out… on TV, what you see is whatever is successful, they just replicate them, like by dozens. So ‘Modern Family’ is a big success so then all of a sudden you see a lot of these relationship situational comedies. At the time I just finished this one show on NBC and I was reading the scripts, and I couldn’t tell the difference between one and the other. But when it came to the Sorkin script, it was completely different.”
Zeroing in on Sorkin:
“At the time, my offer was to be on other shows, and I turned them all down just for the hope of auditioning for Sorkin. I wasn’t even the one… like, casting didn’t want to see me, because I’m not a Broadway actress… just some Asian girl who came from YouTube or something, like I came the other way. And they’re like, ‘Wait, no, no, she’s not of our pedigree…”
That time it got a little hairy:
“There’s only one episode all season-long where we didn’t get (the script) ‘til the night before and being on a table read for it. That was the one where I’m not only speaking dialogue in Sorkin, I’m doing Sorkin in Japanese. We got that the night before and I saw it. I had a 6 a.m. call time and it was 9 p.m. And I just went to shock… I looked at it and I just turned on the TV and I did nothing. ‘It’s not really happening…’ I was overwhelmed.
“And I stayed up until 5 a.m. that morning, working on it; and I cried from 2 to 3. Not kidding. I really just stopped and then just cried. My parents were like, ‘You can do this…’ ‘Just let me cry for an hour…’”
This episode, nevertheless, inspired her to plan to go back to Japan (where she was raised) to try and live there for a month and re-learn to speak Japanese. She says that at least there, possibly in a town outside Tokyo, she can do so “and not let anybody speak English to me.”
Favorite behind-the-scenes moment:
Shooting that same episode, wherein she also had this intense confrontation with Sam Waterson (who plays ACN’s news division president Charlie Skinner), “I heard some commotion by the videos and then Sorkin jumps out of his chair, claps his hands and says, ‘Now that’s a f***ing cast!’ I’m just so happy that – ‘cause everyone’s nervous – and the fact that I could please him so much and make him feel that his words were given due justice… that feeling.”
Real-life and pretend
“I majored in journalism. In college, I was writing for the newspaper and the magazine. Had an internship at a local news station… worked at an NBC affiliate. I really wanted to tell stories; that’s what I think a journalist is – someone who is trying to tell stories that the public needs to know.
“Nowadays, I think, it’s so difficult to be a journalist. We as a society have really made it difficult for journalist to not be forced to turn the murder of a child into a salacious story because of ratings. We have created so many cable news programs and radio programs and blogs and Twitter feeds… where it’s really hard to be a journalist. (They) can get a bad rap. At the same time they try to go out and get these really hard stories – and we’re at a time of war. It’s really difficult. I don’t know, I prefer pretending to be a journalist.”