"I Drive Around L.A. and Try to Make People Like Me"
When The Secret Lives of Men was cancelled, Sorkin called Brad with condolences and a proposal: to play the role of Josh Lyman on his new one-hour drama. Sorkin immediately sent Brad the script, and David describes the character quite accurately: "Josh was charming, caustic, explosive, sexy, capable of moral outrage, and a comic to boot -- an immensely appealing character and one with whom Brad felt an immediate kinship. In fact, Sorkin says now, he wrote Josh with Brad in mind." That much seems very clear. Sorkin: "I tried to throw it in his strike zone." And Sorkin succeeded; Brad wanted the part very desperately. But he still had to audition, and he prepared as if his life depended on it. Naturally, he knew his lines inside out, but he rehearsed in various states of mind to be prepared for anything, and "anticipated being very uncomfortable in the room so [he] would be comfortable." He auditioned for John Levey, the Warner Brothers casting director, as well as Sorkin and executive producer Thomas Schlamme. Both Schlamme and Levey knew Whitford from his compelling turn as Sean O'Brien, a father-to-be whose wife dies during childbirth in the "Love's Labors Lost" episode of ER. The author indicates that Schlamme and Levey weren't quite as chuffed about Whitford as Sorkin was; he was "just another name on the list." Whitford blew them away, cleverly using every audition trick he had gleaned in his many years of experience. David reports that Brad's three-man audience laughed out loud, and that Sorkin left him a message at home: "You hit it out of the park."