It's funny how difficult it is to get the inside story of a show that is about the inside story of a show. Recently, the Internet fired up with talk about the writing staff on HBO's new drama series The Newsroom being let go for the upcoming second season. The rumors began when a source reportedly told The Daily about the firings, and was furthered when The Hollywood Reporter shared a statement released to the outlet by HBO. But Aaron Sorkin, the man in charge over at The Newsroom, has denied these reports, stating definitively at HBO's TCA panel, "The writing staff was not fired."
On Thursday, July 19, The Daily revealed the following statement from a source attached to The Newsroom production: "They're not coming back," referring to the show's writers, "except for Sorkin's ex-girlfriend," referring specifically to Newsroom writer Corinne Kingsbury. Following this, THR shared this message directly from HBO: "Every year each show reassesses the needs of its writing staffs. This process is nothing out of the ordinary."
Approximately two weeks later, Sorkin took to the TCA panel to contest these statements. Additionally, Sorkin spoke on the effect these rumors have had on his staff. "Just seeing that in print is scaring the hell out of the writing staff. They’re acting very, very strange. They’re coming to work early. They’re being polite to me," THR reports, with Deadline adding the following remarks from the showrunner: "I want the old gang back. It is a fantastic group of men and women to come to work with." The Los Angeles Times posts: "A couple of staffing changes were made that included promoting our two writers assistants to story editors, but the writing staff hasn't been fired."
In addition to quelling this rumor, Sorkin also denies any romantic relationship with Kingsbury, via THR: "She was incorrectly identified as my ex-girlfriend. She is not. I don’t have an ex-girlfriend in the writers room or anywhere else on the show. I don’t have a current girlfriend in the writers room or anywhere else on the show. She is on the staff the same reason everybody else is on the staff, because she is extremely talented and brings a sensibility that is different than my own." Deadline adds, "I think she is at the beginning of a very exciting career and I would hate for this rumor to impact her career or follow her around for the rest of her life."
Seeing as HBO has not come out to contest Sorkin's update, we should probably let the incongruity slide and just take the showrunner's word for it. In other news(room), Sorkin revealed that the forthcoming episode of his 2011-set series will deal with the events surrounding Osama bin Laden's death.
[Photo Credit: HBO]
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Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has vehemently denied reports he fired the entire writing staff of his show The Newsroom.
Rumours of behind-the-scenes drama emerged last month (Jul12), suggesting the Oscar-winning TV boss had dismissed most of the staff, except for his alleged ex-girlfriend Corinne Kingsbury, after the programme received mixed reviews from critics.
Sorkin has now spoken out to set the record straight, insisting there was no shake-up in the writers' room.
He tells reporters at a Television Critics Association (TCA) panel, "I want to be as clear as I possibly can about this. The writing staff was not fired. Just seeing that in print is scaring the hell out of the writing staff. They're acting very strange. They're coming to work early. They're acting polite to me. I want the old gang back. I thought that we did great this year and it's a fantastic group to work with."
Sorkin, who is now in a relationship with actress Kristin Davis, also dismissed the purported romantic link to Kingsbury, adding, "(She) was incorrectly identified as my ex-girlfriend. She is not. I don't have an ex-girlfriend in the writers' room or anywhere else on the show. I think she's at the beginning of a very exciting career and I would hate for this rumour... to follow her around."
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The premise to Old School sounds a bit cringe-worthy when you first hear it--visions of sexist frat house humor wild parties buxom babes and beer bongs dance through your head. OK maybe there's a little of that going on in Old School but the heart of the film is surprisingly more centered than your average balls-out comedy. A trio of twentysomething friends have found themselves at a crossroads in their lives. Mitch (Luke Wilson) a promising real estate lawyer unfortunately catches his girlfriend (Juliette Lewis) in a compromising position. Frank (Will Ferrell) a lovable doof marries the sweet Marissa (Perrey Reeves) before realizing he made a big mistake and Beanie (Vince Vaughn) the owner of a successful chain of stereo stores refuses to believe he is the only true family man of the three. When Mitch rents a house near their old alma mater Beanie sees it as a chance to recapture some of that fun-filled college exuberance and turns the house into a fraternity which accepts not just students but any guys out there who want to escape adulthood's travails. The film's antagonist comes in the form of an uptight university dean Pritchard (Jeremy Piven) who bears an old grudge against our intrepid trio and does everything he can to shut the house down. But true brotherhood prevails.
Old School works far better than it should thanks to the chemistry of the three leads. Each has his own particular brand of comedy and the combination keeps you rolling in the aisles. Providing physical comedy Ferrell's Frank a goofy college wild man tamed by matrimony is wonderfully outrageous (but someone should tell him to keep his clothes on). Ferrell also shows a dramatic flair especially when dealing with his troubled marriage. Who would have thought this Saturday Night Live alum could act? Vaughn shows his infinite skill at zingin' out quick-witted one-liners (as he does so well in Swingers). Yet his smarmy Beanie also hints that he loves his life as a stable dad more than he cares to admit. Then there's the likable straight man Mitch a character the easygoing Wilson has perfected to a tee ever since his debut in Bottle Rocket opposite wacky brother Owen. Piven who usually plays wild men in films such as PCU and Very Bad Things gets to try on a different hat as Pritchard the nerd who grew up to be the dean of the school--and it looks like he had fun.
Writer/director Todd Phillips obviously enjoyed his college years. His first studio-released film the 2000 Road Trip offered a raucous yet refreshing look at college life that didn't necessarily go for the gross-out humor at every turn (although some turns were certainly made especially given star Tom Green). With Old School Phillips has matured--a little. Thankfully the film doesn't go for the joke for the joke's sake but remains rooted in how these three men are dealing with the pressures of adult responsibilities coming up with their somewhat misguided remedy to those pressures. But it's still a comedy about aging frat boys. You know going in there's going to be a wild party or two some contemptible drunken behavior perhaps even a hazing scene where new recruits have cinder blocks tied to their nether regions. It happens. Phillips also feels the need to incorporate a clichéd romantic twist around Mitch and a girl he had a crush on in high school. A sweet gesture but not nearly as entertaining as watching three grown men slosh around in K-Y jelly in a female wrestling match.