West Wing
The Secret Life Of An Actor

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"I Drive Around L.A. and Try to Make People Like Me"

The author closes the article by describing a read-through of the thirty-seventh script (which should be "Ellie," if I can count, and I think I can) at which Sorkin has "taken another whack." Apparently, the scripts are about half an inch thick, clocking in at around ten thousand words, including stage directions. (I note with amusement that my recaps tend to be around that length, or even longer.) David gives us a tantalizing glimpse of the process: "They read at hyperspeed, stumbling occasionally (who knew that President Bartlet wouldn't know how to pronounce Yemen?), laughing like an audience at their own jokes, then snapping back into character, managing -- without lights, music, props or even sitting up straight -- to make the story so compelling that when it's over, they can't help themselves, they applaud: for Sorkin, I'm sure that's the idea, but I think also for themselves." I, for one, would love to watch a read-through with this cast and this show. I'm sure I'm not alone.

David has a few last anecdotes to impart:

  1. Brad had apparently dubbed the show's hairstylist, Jeffrey Sacino, "The Hair Fairy." He blurted this out one day to the "horror" of all and sundry, except for Jeffrey.
  2. David mentions that later, Martin Sheen stops by Brad's trailer to "commiserate with a kindred soul" about Dubya's inauguration the following day. David reminds us that both Whitford and Sheen stumped for Gore, although I think Brad's sympathies and Sheen's politics are fairly well-known by now. (Perhaps this accounts for some of the verve and chemistry between Jed and Josh on the show.) David describes Sheen's irritation: "They'll be playing 'Hail to the Thief'!" (Hee! See, Brad's swell and all, but my heart belongs to POTUS/Sheen.)
  3. David claims his brother greets "nearly every woman he meets in the course of his day, cast or crew, with a kiss on the lips." (I'm wondering how Jane feels about that. I know many readers of this factoid will be swooning at the thought.)

The author winds up on a nice brotherly note with a mixture of respect, awe, and fascination for Brad and his considerable achievements. For someone who once told an inquisitive five-year-old that what he does when not acting is "drive around L.A. and...try to make people like [him]," Brad seems to have succeeded on all levels.

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West Wing




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