Aaron Sorkin Apologizes To Mandy Stadtmiller For Making Her Cry
After perusing former New York Post reporter Mandy Stadtmiller's must-read post for XOJane.com about how she inspired a character on Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom, I had to find out if the show's creator responded to her after her story hit the 'net.
He did, although his response was not what I expected.
See, a long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I was a Post reporter, too — at the tabloid's famous gossip column Page Six — and though I never dated a celebrity, I do have some experience with famous fair-weather friends.
There's a breed of celebrity that's brilliant at seducing reporters into believing that some sort of real bond exists when really that bond is only as strong as the positive press that flows in the direction of said famous person.
I've fallen for it more times than I'd like to admit. (And let's just leave it at that.)
I loved Stadtmiller's post because she did the unexpected. Instead of going all predictably tabloid on Sorkin and revealing the gories about their dates, she did something much harder: She turned the magnifying glass on herself. As she explains in her post, she inspired the character of gossip columnist Nina Howard (played by Hope Davis) after dating Sorkin around the release of The Social Network.
Although initially thrilled about becoming a character in a blue-chip HBO TV show, Stadtmiller wrote after watching Davis' debut in episode four of the series, "I will tell you that I fully cried, totally humiliated at the wreckage of what happens when you are a scheming little manipulating starfucker such as myself. Maybe it bothered me so much because I realized how close to the character I really was."
Despite the fact that Stadtmiller was essentially eviscerating herself instead of Sorkin, I guessed that an alpha-dog like him would be unhappy about the post because, in Hollywood, the more powerful you are, the more control you tend to imagine you can exert over the world, especially when it comes to how you are perceived by the people who consume your product.
I was wrong. When I reached Stadtmiller, she said that Sorkin had indeed reached out to her since her tale blew up on the web. She declined to share with me the specifics of his response because, she explained, "I don't want to be sending out press releases on everything the poor kid says to me," but she did note that Sorkin's reply had been "nice and kind."
"He said that he felt bad that I felt sad when I watched the episode," she explained.
That is unexpected, and — surprise, surprise — makes me want to know more. Just a suggestion, Ms. Stadtmiller and Mr. Sorkin, but why not turn this art-imitates-life debate into a dialogue? I'm confident I'm not the only one out there who would love to read it.
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