Passion and Politics: The Storytelling of Aaron Sorkin

As we continue the election season conversation around movies and shows that put politics front and center, our very special guest is an Emmy-winning television writer, producer, and former political operative. After serving Al Gore in the White House, Eli Attie earned script credits on 21 episodes of Aaron Sorkin’s much-beloved political drama series The West Wing. Now, Sorkin is back with the cast of The West Wing for a reunion special in support of voter turnout efforts. In our latest podcast, we’ll explore Aaron Sorkin’s vision of political idealism and civic virtue spans his filmography, from A Few Good Men and The American President to his latest buzz-worthy release, The Trial of the Chicago 7, based on the infamous conspiracy case involving protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Join host Brad Pilcher for this foray into the politics of Aaron Sorkin, as told through numerous film and television projects, along with screenwriter Eli Attie.

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Show Notes

Our guest for this episode: Eli Attie, former speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore in the White House and on the 2000 campaign trail, and writer/producer for television shows such as The West WingHouseStudio 60 on the Sunset StripPitch, and Billions, among others.

You can read his IMDb profile or his Wikipedia profile, and learn more about him, including his screenplay that ended up on the Black List (an industry list of executives' most-liked scripts), his work as a rock critic, or his efforts to combat voter suppression. He is, as they say, a mensch.

Films and TV shows mentioned in the episode:

The West Wing (1999-2006) – Amazon | DVD

The American President (1995) – Amazon | Blu-ray

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006-2007) – Amazon | Blu-ray

The Newsroom (2012-2014) – Amazon | Blu-ray

Also mentioned:

  • Al Gore's 2000 presidential concession speech, following the contentious recount battle that ended with the infamous Bush v. Gore Supreme Court decision.
  • Jeff Bercovici's examination of Aaron Sorkin's political leanings, in Forbes, in which he writes: The West Wing and The Newsroom “critique[d] [politicians’ and cable talking heads’] shortcomings implicitly by presenting a smarter, nobler fictionalized version of them.”

The music for our episode is provided by the incomparable Joe Alterman. Specifically, our into and outro music is "Pure Imagination" off his album, "Give Me the Simple Life", and our interlude music is "Over the Rainbow" from "More Cornbread (Live)". Check him out on Spofity or wherever you get your music.

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