Aaron Sorkin is perhaps the best-known screenwriter working today, if you define screenwriter as someone who doesn’t also direct. Sorkin won an Oscar for The Social Network, and countless Emmy awards for The West Wing, which remains one of the best televised dramas ever.
With his directorial debut (Molly’s Game) coming out in December, Sorkin is the subject of a lengthy profile in The Hollywood Reporter, which is a fascinating insight into the mind of a man whose talent is indisputable, even if he comes off as, well, kind of an ass.
As an example, right after the piece goes to great pains to establish how much he’s supported Jessica Chastain in her very public stands against sexual harrassment in Hollywood, here’s how Sorkin decides to describe how he first met Chastain:
Other A-list actresses including Emma Stone had been considered, but Chastain offered a winning combination of vulnerability and maturity, and within minutes of sitting down with Sorkin to discuss the role, she had wowed him.
“The meeting took place at midnight in my hotel suite,” he tells me, attempting to keep a straight face. “I answered the door in my bathrobe. You know, the way all meetings happen in Hollywood.” We both laugh nervously, and then agree, given the deplorable nature of what had already come out, that it’s probably too soon to be making a Weinstein joke.
Hilarious! There’s also plenty of inside baseball stuff on Sorkin’s career, how Carrie Fisher saved him from drug addiction, and his potential upcoming projects, but one specific part stood out:
There’s also a standing offer from the same network to reboot The West Wing, which Sorkin considers on occasion.
Okay, well, that’s certainly something. And if you’re wondering whether the current political climate would factor in, Sorkin says it wouldn’t, at least not directly:
When asked if he’d introduce a Trump-like figure in his fictional White House, he winces, arguing that the current president holds no appeal for him, fictional or otherwise. “Trump is exactly what he looks like: a really dumb guy with an observable psychiatric disorder,” he says.
So how would it play out?
Sorkin’s preferred scenario, he tells me, would involve “Sterling K. Brown as the president, and there’s some kind of jam, an emergency, a very delicate situation involving the threat of war or something, and [President] Bartlet [played by Martin Sheen], long since retired, is consulted in the way that Bill Clinton used to consult with Nixon.” How he brings Allison Janney’s C.J. Cregg or Bradley Whitford’s Josh Lyman into the new scenario is where Sorkin gets stuck. So, for the time being, fans will have to settle for reruns.
For all of Sorkin’s flaws, and even if it ends up being terrible, there’s no way I wouldn’t watch a series reboot of The West Wing. It’s probably never going to happen, of course. But as more and more shows get reboots or revivals, well, you never know.