HFPA in Conversation: Aaron Sorkin’s and His Unexpectedly Timely New Film

by Kirpi Uimonen Ballesteros October 28, 2020
Writer and director Aaron Sorkin, Golden Globe winner

armando gallo/hfpa

Golden Globe winner Aaron Sorkin’s second directorial work, The Trial of the Chicago 7, became timelier than he could have thought when he started the project. He also wrote the script.

“I've been asked if the script changed at all to mirror the events in the world? No. Events in the world changed to mirror the script. Since that first day 14 years ago or at least when I started learning about the Chicago 7, I never wanted the film to be about 1968. I wanted it to be about today but I had no idea. No-one did how much today was going to resemble 1968 by the time the film came out. You know, we thought it was plenty relevant when we were making it last winter. We didn't need it to get more relevant but it did,” Sorkin told HFPA journalist Vera Anderson.

The challenge all along was the budget and the riots. “That made me pretty nervous.”

His directorial debut Molly’s Game had three principal characters in it. “The Trial of the Chicago 7 had 14 principal characters in it and it has riots and tear gas. I had never even written violence into a movie or an episode of television or a play before, much less directed it, much less on this scale, where there were literally battle scenes that we were doing.”

Listen to the podcast and hear why he describes the Chicago 7 cast as a dream team; did he always plan to release the movie before the election?; what is his opinion about the Academy’s new diversity and inclusion rules; when he fell in love with theatre; why he says he has a phonetic talent; would he do a musical, ever?; why he didn’t want to call the West Wing Reunion the West Wing Special ; would he do a follow up story for The Social Network; why doesn’t he have any social media accounts; how news have changed in the last few years; why he would rewrite his TV show The Newsroom; why he wouldn’t direct a play; how one night in New York changed his career path; how his sister influenced the story of A Few Good Men; and how he has spent his time during the Covid-19 quarantine.