But will he bring back Scrabulous? Aaron Sorkin to pen Facebook flick

With the intention to write a movie for Sony about Facebook, Scarsdale native Aaron Sorkin asked a colleague to set up a page on the social networking Web site for research purposes.

sorkin-farnsworth.jpgSorkin, who’s written everything from “A Few Good Men” to “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” said it was “more flattering than creepy” that people set up phony accounts in his name, according to the page. He also admits that his assistant, researcher Ian Reichbach, set up the page in his name “because my grandmother has more Internet savvy than I do and she’s been dead for 33 years.”

I’d be especially intrigued to see a movie with Sorkin’s chatty, elevated writing style if it delves into the most significant event in Facebook history. No, not when the site opened the floodgates from Ivy Leaguers to college students to everyone on the planet, or when it became the subject of controversy for releasing user information to third parties. I’m talking about the crushing blow that was the swift, heartless removal of Scrabulous, the Scrabble ripoff that was infinitely (and inexplicably) more user-friendly than the trademarked version. That move inspired me to play a few four-letter triple word scores.

Thanks to Suburbarazzi alumnus Ted Mann for the tip.

(AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Greenlights aren’t what they used to be

The writer’s strike has been over for almost a month now, but to look at the list of stalled movies, all of which had previously gotten the green light from studios, it feels like Hollywood is still on hiatus. Here are just a few that have ties to Lower Hudson Valley residents (or natives) and, according to Variety, are going nowhere fast:

aaron-sorkin.jpg• “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” to be directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Scarsdale native Aaron Sorkin (right), was supposed to start shooting in April, but has now been put on hold. It looks like it won’t begin filming now until summer and fall, and Spielberg and Sorkin are planning to use the additional time to tighten their script. With a potentially blockbuster cast (among the names rumored on IMDB: Will Smith, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sacha Baron Cohen, Kevin Spacey, Colin Hanks, and Jeff Bridges), it’ll be interesting to see if the actors will still be available months and months down the road.

joseph-cross.jpg• “Justice League of America,” was once rumored to have Pelham’s Joseph Cross (right), of “Running with Scissors” fame, as one of its Hall of Justice superheros. And while the entire cast is still up in the air, the Variety account says that, despite delays, Warner Bros. is still trying desperately to begin shooting in mid-July, hoping for a summer ’09 release. Alas, that script needs work, too, and isn’t due to be finished for over a month.

ron-howard.jpg• “Angels and Demons,” Ron Howard’s “Da Vinci Code” prequel, appears to be the only film with a rock-solid plan. Shooting, which was supposed to begin before the strike, is now set to commence in Rome on June 5. Howard, who lives in Greenwich, “will spend three weeks shooting all of the film’s exterior scenes,” says Variety. “The rest of the film will be shot on Sony soundstages, where sets will wait, if necessary, until an actor’s strike is over. That allowed Sony to somewhat contain the costs to halt and re-start the picture.”

“Film greenlights in limbo” [Variety]

‘Farnsworth Invention’ goes the way of the cathode ray tube

After 104 performances and three months, “The Farnsworth Invention” will be coming to a close on Broadway. The play, scripted by Scarsdale native Aaron Sorkin (of “West Wing” fame, and “Studio 60” shame), has been opted by New Line for a feature film, so if you haven’t already caught a showing on the Great White Way, you may still get a chance to see it down the road.

“Aaron Sorkin Play Closing March 2 in NYC” [AP]

Sorkin’s ‘Farnsworth Invention’ likened to ‘an animated Wikipedia entry’

farnsworth.jpgIt’s a good thing Aaron Sorkin is Jewish, because he got the equivalent of a half dozen lumps of critic coal after the debut of his new Broadway play, “The Farnsworth Invention,” which came out at the beginning of this month.

The play is about the birth of the modern TV set and let’s just say that it was met with about as much warmth as Sorkin’s last foray into TV land, “Studio 60.”

NY Times critic Ben Brantley ripped the Scarsdale native a new one, comparing the production to “a classroom presentation on a seven-figure budget.” Actually it was even harsher than that:

<blockquote><div>With billionaire parents now producing bar mitzvah celebrations and sweet-16 parties as if they were major motion pictures, it’s only a matter of time before this spare-no-expense approach is applied to their kids’ school projects. The resulting effort might well be something like ‘The Farnsworth Invention.'</div></blockquote>

He goes on to say “you’re likely to leave ‘The Farnsworth Invention’ feeling that you have just watched an animated Wikipedia entry, fleshed out with the sort of anecdotal scenes that figure in “re-enactmentsâ€? on E! channel documentaries and true-crime shows.”

Slate wasn’t any nicer: “It’s typical that Sorkin wrings optimal tension from the mission-control countdown—and also that the play ends before liftoff.”

Fortunately, there was one holiday surprise for the LoHud native: “Charlie Wilson’s War” nabbed a Golden Globe nomination for best screenplay. Undoubtedly that means his chances at winning his first Academy Award are rising, too. Ho, ho, ho.

(‘Farnsworth Invention’ photo of Jimmi Simpson, left, as Philo T. Farnsworth and Hank Azaria as David Sarnoff; AP Photo/Boneau/Bryan-Brown, Joan Marcus)

‘There Will Be Gummi Bears’: LoHud celeb reactions to the Golden Globe nods

Just a few kneejerk reactions from this morning’s nominees from the Lower Hudson Valley:

close.jpgGlenn Close:

The Bedford resident learned that she’d been nominated for her role as Patty Hewes in “Damages” from a friend in Florida while visiting her hometown of Greenwich, CT. According to the Hollywood Reporter, she said that her sinister lawyer character was being recognized because “she keeps people off balance all the time, and people are intrigued by that.” Close also told the AP, “My least favorite part is trying to figure out what to wear. Everything else is pretty much wonderful.”

There was also this extended quote, courtesy USA Today:


“This is particularly sweet and thrilling, to be on the ground floor of something like this, with the three writers (Glenn Kessler, Todd Kessler and Daniel Zelman). I took the series on the strength of their pilot and you think, ‘Well, hopefully they’ll come up with other good stuff.’ To watch them week after week come up with wonderful and very sophisticated twists and turns was just the most wonderful ride. So I’m particularly proud for them. And then to have the joy of seeing Ted’s work and him being recognized for it and Rose Byrne, it’s very gratifying. And I hope our cast and crew feel the way I do, because everybody worked really heard. So it’s really nice to celebrate this way.�</div></blockquote>

sorkin.jpgAaron Sorkin:

The Scarsdale native, who is nominated for best screenplay for “Charlie Wilson’s War,” told The Hollywood Reporter that his celebrating will include picking up his daughter from school. “I’m sure there will be Gummi bears.”

(Close: AP Photo/FX, Larry Riley; Sorkin: Tom Nycz/The Journal News)

Suburbarazzi Week in Review on RNN: Matchbox 20’s return, Aaron Sorkin’s retreat to Broadway, and Marthapedia’s rise


This week’s quiz:

Which Lower Hudson Valley native has been signed on to headline the “300� spoof “301�?
• Mamaroneck native Kevin Dillon
• Rye native Jason Bateman
• Former Sneden’s Landing resident Angelina Jolie
• Peekskill-born Paul Reubens (a.k.a. Pee Wee Herman)

The answer is at the end of the clip and after the break.

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Get your ‘Farnsworth Invention’ tickets while they’re hot

Tickets for Aaron Sorkin’s new Broadway play, “The Farnsworth Invention,” just started going on sale on Monday. The Scarsdale-raised scribe crafted the story around the battle between boy genius Philo T. Farnsworth (played by Jimmi Simpson), television in high school in 1927, and David Sarnoff (Hank Azaria), the top dog at RCA. The ensuing legal showdown shows how the large corporation basically crushed the rights of Farnsworth, the rightful patent owner.

sorkin-farnsworth.jpgIf it all sounds suspiciously like a metaphor for “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” — genius creative type is destroyed by corporate television — just remember, that show had neither Hank Azaria nor a patent dispute. Oh, if only it had.

Previews for the play start on October 15 (tickets are $50-$90), and then the regular run will begin on November 14 ($55-$100) at the Music Box Theatre (call 212-239-6200 or 800-432-7250 or go to Telecharge.com). For more info on the play, check out www.FarnsworthOnBroadway.com.

(Sorkin: AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Suburbarazzi gauges chances of LoHud’s Emmy nominees

emmy-award.jpgEarlier this week, Ted Mann and I chatted with RNN’s Stacy-Ann Gooden about a few of the Emmy nominees with connections to the Lower Hudson Valley. Given time constraints, we only had so much time to debate a few of the candidates, but thanks to the good ol’-fashioned(?) blog, we can offer our takes on which LoHud celebs we think, and hope, will win at Sunday’s ceremony.

Keep in mind that a couple of celebs with a local connection already had their fates decided at “ceremonies held earlier.” North Salem resident Stanley Tucci won Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his appearance on “Monk.” (My gripe: Why wasn’t Paul Reubens’ hilarious performance as Gerhardt on “30 Rock” even nominated?) And while Suffern native Tim Daly didn’t win Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama for his appearance on “The Sopranos,” the winner in that category — John Goodman — appeared on “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” created by Scarsdale native Aaron Sorkin.

Ted found legit connections to the Lower Hudson Valley in eight major categories. We’ll give you a couple of teasers before the break. Check out the rest of our predictions and rooting interests after the break.

•”Boston Legal”
•“Grey’s Anatomy” (stars Katherine Heigl from nearby New Canaan)
•“Heroes” (stars Palisades native Hayden Panettiere)
•“The Sopranos” (parts filmed in LoHud; starred Sneden’s Landing homeowner Lorraine Bracco)

CHRIS: Thinks “The Sopranos” will win and wants “The Sopranos” to win.
TED: Thinks “The Sopranos” will win and wants “The Sopranos” to win.

•“Entourage” (stars Mamaroneck’s Kevin Dillon)
•”The Office”
•”30 Rock”
•”Two and a Half Men”
•“Ugly Betty” (stars Chappaqua’s Vanessa Williams)

CHRIS: Thinks “Ugly Betty” will win but wants “30 Rock” to win.
TED: Thinks “The Office” will win but wants “30 Rock” to win.

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Suburbarazzi Week in Review on RNN: Trump, Diddy, and Sorkin soldier on!

If there was one message to this week’s segment, it was this: The Lower Hudson Valley sure know how to bounce back. Things might have looked bad from the Trumpster a few months ago, but this week there’s news that “The Apprentice” will return, not to mention two new Trump TV shows in 2008. Likewise, Sean John recovered quickly from his breakup with Kim Porter, and “Studio 60” mastermind Aaron Sorkin also rebounded quickly, landing a three-picture deal with DreamWorks.

The answer to the trivia quiz — Which Late Show personality is penning a memoir — is after the break …


Link to LoHud RNN viewer

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Sorkin signs three-movie deal at DreamWorks

Tom Nycz/The Journal News

With “Studio 60” now firmly behind him, it looks like Scarsdale native Aaron Sorkin will be staying away from the TV biz for a while.  Zap2It reports that he’s just signed a three-picture deal with DreamWorks, the first of which will be a film about the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention called “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Spielberg may even choose to direct that one.

No word on what the other two DreamWorks projects will be (“The Farnsworth Invention”? “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”?), but with “Charlie Wilson’s War” (which Sorkin wrote the script for) already in the hopper and due out this winter, it’s clear that the multiplexes will be full of rapid-fire, wonky palaver for months and months to come.

Studio 60 sails off into the Sunset

For a show that started so brilliantly, it certainly went down hill quickly right around halfway through the season. And the last five episodes, with its hostage crises in Afghanistan, medical emergencies, creepy military officers, schlocky political scandals, and post 9/11 flashbacks (where everyone looked exactly the same), got a bit out of hand. Wasn’t this a show about a less-funny version of Saturday Night Live?

Anyway, now it’s gone. Rest in peace Aaron Sorkin’s could-of-been-great baby.

Sorkin, a Scarsdale native, won’t be unemployed long. He’s currently readying a play for Broadway to possibly open November 18, according to Playbill. It will be called The Farnsworth Invention and tells the story of “the battle for the patent for the invention of the television set.”

In other words, it’s kind of a prequel to Studio 60.

Sorkin is also working on “Charlie Wilson’s War,” a film adaptation of the famous book.  Mike Nichols will direct and the cast will include Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The inevitable, yet quixotic, ‘Save Studio 60’ campaign kicks in


Improbable as it sounds, there actually is someone calling for NBC to reinstate Aaron Sorkin’s lame duck series, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” And that masochistic person would be MediaVillage.com’s president and CEO, Jack Myers, who is calling for fans to stand up and demand that the show — which will conclude on June 28 — get another chance. In his appeal to fans, Myers even called the show “one of the last true politically relevant series on network television.”

If by “politically relevant” he means “perversly autobiographical (about show creator and Scarsdale native Aaron Sorkin’s druggie past),” or maybe “shamelessly pandering (in its use of the Iraq war to get a bump in ratings),” then yeah, sure, I see your point. Long live the Studio!