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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Bochco

Special Academy Awards Prep Edition: Inside “Social Network”…

Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin, the odds-on favorite for this year’s Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, set out to be an actor.  But as Pete Hammond reports in Deadline Hollywood, his career took a different turn…

…those early plans were trumped when he began writing for the stage. In 1989, at the age of 28, he was named Outstanding American Playwright by the Outer Critics Circle for A Few Good Men. Just three years later, he wrote the screenplay for the film version which was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. His subsequent success in film has included scripts for Malice (1993), The American President (1995), Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) and the upcoming Moneyball. As an Emmy-winning television writer and producer, he was behind critically acclaimed [and your correspondent’s all-time fave] Sports Night, long-running The West Wing, and the short-lived Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. But he has never been nominated for an Academy Award.

Discover how Sorkin (who worked from the book proposal, not the book, which wasn’t written when he started) did his research, how he shaped his characters, and how he approaches a “non-fiction film”…

I would tell anyone that if you are seeing a movie that begins with “The following is a true story…,” you need to look at that movie the way you would a painting and not a photograph. This is my take on what happened. You can put a bowl of fruit on a table and have 10 people take a picture of it and those 10 photographs would look pretty much like each other. If you ask 10 painters to paint it, you’re going to get a lot of different versions of the thing. And so I was telling a true story, but very quickly the people became characters to me and not historical figures. And people, and properties of people, and properties of characters, actually have very little to do with each other. I know people don’t speak in dialogue, and life doesn’t play itself out in a series of connected scenes that form a narrative. But that’s what a writer does.

… and more in his interview with Hammond.  As a special bonus, use the link there (or here) to download a pdf of Sorkin’s full script.

And lest one fret that Sorkin’s dreams of greasepaint came to naught, watch for him in his cameo as the advertising executive in Social Network.

As we recheck our privacy settings on Facebook, we might recall that it was on this date in 1981 that Hill Street Blues premiered on NBC.  The first show from Sorkin’s spiritual forefather Stephen Bochco, the gritty HSB resurrected the then-moribund “cop show” genre and introduced the ensemble cast as a structural feature of series.  By the time the show signed off in May 1987, it had set the records for most Emmy nominations and most Emmys won in a single season.  In its first season alone, it received eight Emmy awards– a debut season record surpassed only by Sorkin’s ensemble political drama The West Wing.

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