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July 24, 2013 2PM EST

Q&A with Jeff Daniels

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  • Q

    Thanks for joining us today. What's your favorite part about playing Will McAvoy?

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    Part of the fun of playing any role is imagining yourself had you taken a completely different path. For me the joy of acting is envisioning yourself having all the qualities of the character good and bad and then surgically turning yourself inside out to become this other version of you. When you do it right, it's frightening as hell!

  • Q

    Is Will's love and knowledge for Broadway shows a little bit of yourself in the character? #HBOCollege #GMU

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    No that comes from Aaron. He I believe majored in musical theater, if that's even possible. He's a huge fan of that though I started in community theater doing nothing but musicals so it's an easy fit.

  • Q

    What newsmen affected you the most growing up? Who do you think is out there today that sets a good standard for a journalist?

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    Jeff Daniels says:

    Oh I'm one of the guys that grew up on Cronkite. I don't want to single anybody out now. I think they're all fighting the same battle which is getting it right and getting information. Wether they're the guys at 6:30 at night or have their one hour cable shows, they're all trying to get it right and not just trying to get it first.

  • Q

    Who came up with you singing "Friday" while the control room was shutting down? Hands down, the funniest scene of the first episode.

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    That's all Aaron! It was funny from the table read on and it's still funny. Not only was it the selection of the song and the last person in the world you think was singing it. I was especially proud of my hand jive move...Will McAvoy does jazz hands!

  • Q

    Do you ever help write in parts for your character? #HBOCollege #Vandy

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    Nope

  • Q

    how did you end up playing will McAvoy in the series: because of the script, of Aaron Sorkin or other reasons?

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    Aaron Sorkin and HBO. Those are two great places to be.

  • Q

    Will you be going back into the studio soon to record another album? #HBOCollege #GMU

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    No plans to do any music just now. The Newsroom and this little sequel are going to keep me busy, but I am writing and playing. I hope to some day.

  • Q

    Have you ever thought of becoming a REAL news anchor? (Daniel Leandro, Peru)

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    No. The first thing I say to every anchor I met since Newsroom aired is "Hello my name is Jeff. I'm fictional."

  • Q

    At this point in the development of Will and Macs relationship, do you feel will still resents her as much, or is slowly softening his grip?

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    Was it Pacino in Godfather 3 who said "Everytime I'm out you keep pulling me back in?" I think just when he starts to soften he runs face first into that wall of betrayal he can't seem to get over. It's a push pull.

  • Q

    Does playing Will and experiencing various events again give you a different perspective on them and the coverage of them?

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    Certainly, I think every script you learn something. Aaron researches these things extensively and you're always either saying or reading something in the script that you didn't know. Even if it's something that provokes a question, it's always interesting. When you revisit an event, there's always something that makes you go "I did not know that." One of the gratifying things is the interest of The Newsroom by 20 somethings all over the country. That's very encouraging and it's a generation that needs to pay attention to the news. That's great news.

  • Q

    Jeff! Between Will McAvoy and Harry Dunne, which character do you like better? Sidenote: can't wait for D&D2

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    I love them both equally and I would love to be a fly on the wall of the booth of the diner where they're sharing a meal.

  • Q

    What do you think is Will's obsession with Broadway musicals?

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    Amiss all the gruff, abrasive, volatile qualities to Will...he's a romantic at heart and what better way to get in touch with that than the American musical.

  • Q

    Explain Wills overall personality in 1 word...

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    Flawed.

  • Q

    Do you think Will's mindset changed now that there are more serious/far-reaching repercussions facing him and his News Night team?

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    Like everyone at ACN who goes through the Genoa story, we can't help but be changed.

  • Q

    What personality traits do you and Will McAvoy share? #FSU #HBOCollege

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    We're both very accurate when it comes to throwing cellphones at cameras!

  • Q

    As two theater aficionados, I'm wondering if you and Aaron Sorkin have ever sat around trying to out-geek each other with quotes or trivia on musicals?

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    No we never have because I know that Aaron would win

  • Q

    Do you think Will McAvoy would make a good politician ? If not why ?

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    Much like me, Will would not make a good politician because he would have to play nicely with others.

  • Q

    How is it to work with all those talented actors on the show? Most of them are young. Do they come to you for advice?

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    It's such an important show that it's essential that everyone be good. I love what Francine (the casting director) did and the people she brought in. We really got good people that come prepared and throw in their best for every episode. It only inspires me to do the same. Everybody shows up and it's a joy to see, especially with younger actors. I love working with younger actors who love working hard.

  • Q

    what has been your favorite episode?

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    I don't have a favorite, I have highlights. Things I enjoy doing. I certainly loved the Northwestern speech. There was a 3 way interview in Season 1, I was interviewing an NRA member and a runner-up to Miss Oklahoma and someone who claimed to be an expert in his field. The Bin Laden episode. It's usually pieces out of each episode that stands out so I don't have a favorite.

  • Q

    If Will hadn't met Mackenzie, where do you think he would be now (personally and professionally),

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    Professionally he would probably have better ratings, similar to what he had before she got him to be doing what he's supposed to be doing. He probably wouldn't have done it on his own. Personally, he would be lying next to someone who wasn't her.

  • Q

    Are there news stories happening now that you hope to see tackled in future seasons?(And we'll assume those seasons are forthcoming.)

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    No there's so much news. It's not my job to decide. I wouldn't impose anything on anything Aaron might be thinking to do if we have a Season 3. It's got to inspire him and it's one of the things that's so exciting about getting these scripts or doing Newsroom at all. It's seeing what inspires him as a writer and watching him chase it. There's only one of him and one of the things I love about his writing is his unpredictability. It always ends up with a beginning, middle and end and a story well told. I'm always fascinated by what he writes and it's always something that matters to him. The script has to land with him and once it does the fingers start flying. It's a fascinating process to watch Aaron do what he does.

  • Q

    That's all the time we have for today's Q&A. Jeff, do you have anything else you want to say to your fans before we go?

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    Thanks for watching, I'm watching right along with you.

  • Q

    If Aaron Sorkin was asked to "Explain Season 2 in 5 words or less." What do you think he would say?

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    Oh he'd have an answer! It would be something neither one of us would think of and be right on the money. Will would challenge Sorkin, Sorkin would do it and then Will would turn to the camera and say "We'll be right back after this..." He would have gotten Will and will wouldn't be able to handle it.

  • Q

    If McAvoy could have Aaron Sorkin on his show, what would be his first question to Sorkin?

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    A
    Jeff Daniels says:

    "Explain Season 2 in 5 words or less."

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