Jeff Daniels Stepping Inside a Story ‹ Literary Center

Jeff Daniels: Here, I have to think like the character of the part you didn't ask for. If I can think like that character, if you've done the prep work, everything else will be fine. At the end of the day, you have to think like Atticus Finch or think like Harry Dunn. You want to go in like that, so you ride impulses, you ride instincts. When you get that key on any character, it jumps off the clip. With Bernard squid and whale, It was like, „Are we going dark? Let's go dark.” But it led. God of CarnageAnd it led Newsroom. I remember what I did God of Carnage With Jim Gandolfini on Broadway, the movies had dried up and I wasn't getting anything I wanted to do. I said, „Jim, I'm thinking about television,” and he said, „Be a good writer yourself. I got David Chase. Luckily for me, Aaron Sorkin liked me. Like Woody said, when you get the script, write it. They'll challenge you, too.” A good writer will challenge you Since 2009, I've been lucky enough to have good writing that keeps me interested not just in business.

Sam Fragoso: When it comes Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin was looking for an actor who could channel that rage, tap into that rage. He didn't think you were fully into it at first, is that right?

JT: Yes, there was literally nothing in film or TV that showed him what he needed. That's the kind of knee-jerk talk McAvoy needs to continue. Aaron needs to see it before he casts me. I got a tip and that's what he should see. We were sitting at the breakfast table at the Four Seasons in New York — where I met Aaron and Scott Rudin for the first time — and I told a story about a place where I lost it. Then I crash the table, clinking glasses of orange juice and jumping, coffee, people at other tables are looking back, and Aaron goes, „OK, OK OK… good, good.” I'm halfway through the story and I'm going to finish it because I want this part.

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SF: If so, have you strong-armed him into giving you that role?

JT: I auditioned! I had to show that I could go there, and it could be awkward and uncomfortable. That's all I know. I don't know anything other than it's a show about a newsroom. So, if he needs to watch it, here's the better version. At the end of breakfast, they said I got the part.

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