Andrew Ross Sorkin Gets His Close-Up

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Photo: Jed Egan; Photo stills: HBO

This week is the HBO premiere of Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin's financial crisis opus, Too Big To Fail. We caught up with Sorkin to discuss the adaptation, his cameo appearance, and his future in Hollywood.



So, what did you think of the movie? Do you feel like it did justice to the book?
I thought they really did a great job. People always worry that Hollywood is going to somehow Hollywood-ize the film, or sex it up, or do something overly crazy. They stuck to what happened.
I thought it could have been sexier, to be honest.
Yeah. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough sex. We'll have to wait for the porno.
Is there one yet?
I would assume so, with this title. [In fact, there is]

Of the actors, who do you think did the best job playing the person they portrayed?
That is such an unfair question.
I know.
Every time I see Paul Giamatti, who plays Ben Bernanke — in certain of the frames, I almost do a double take. But William Hurt's performance [As Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson] was brilliant. You see his emotional roller coaster, like when he's clearly making decisions that were not great decisions. He really was able to make him a three-dimensional character.
That snake-hunting trip paid off. Tell me about your cameo [Which we have made into an animated gif, above]. What was going through your mind when they shot it? Did you go Method? Did you use sense-memory, and hearken back to the actual press conference?
I was just trying to remember the line! It's a short line. It's just, "Mr. Secretary! Mr. Secretary... something." I was nervous, because it wasn't just a scene with one other person. The room was full of 50 or 60 extras. So it was like, "Oh my god there's all these people watching."
Did you get paid?
I do believe I got scale. Like $800 a day rate.
What was it like on set? Did you make friends?
I feel like I made some nice friends with some of the cast and some of the crew. The guy who plays Neel Kashkari has a book coming out. The day that I got to do my scene was cool because I got to have lunch — Oh god, now I sound like — I had lunch with Cynthia Nixon and Topher Grace. And you hang around for hours, so I got to be the temporary trailer, for like, the day actors.
Was it pimped out?
It was cool because the couch in the trailer turned into a toilet. You just lift up one of the pillows. It said Reporter Number One on the outside.
Have you developed a taste for Hollywood? Is acting something you're going to pursue?
No, unfortunately, I don't think I have a huge acting career ahead of me. I'm back in my cubicle.