The West Wing cast are back for a special on HBO Max and Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff and creator Aaron Sorkin went on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to share their memories.
The show – A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote – launches on the streamer on October 15.
Sorkin said it took the cast a “matter of seconds” to get back into their characters when they were filming. “It’s fun. If you get a sense that it’s not a reunion, you’re right.”
The Newsroom creator added that they followed strict COVID-19 protocols. “When we were shooting, the safest place in America was the Orpheum theater in Los Angeles. We were strict as can be,” he said.
Janney, who played C.J Cregg, revealed her favorite episode. “One of the most rewarding episodes for me was Woman of Kumar,” she said, adding that she had fun pardoning turkeys in Shibboleth.
Martin Sheen, who played President Bartlet, revealed that he wanted his Commander in Chief to be a Catholic so that he could have a degree from Notre Dame.
The group also paid tribute to John Spencer, who played Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, as well as Sterling K. Brown, who filled in for the role due to Spencer’s death.
Richard Schiff and Sorkin joke about Schiff wearing a wedding ring in the pilot episode, forcing Sorkin to figure out whether Schiff’s Toby was married.
The group finished by showing an exclusive clip of the staging – an episode of Hartsfield Landing, which saw President Barlet playing chess against Schiff’s Toby and Rob Lowe’s Sam as they fought for reelection. Bartlet ended up defeating Florida Governor Robert Ritchie, a populist who preferred baseball over the theater.
“You think the strike against me is that nobody likes the smartest kid in the class,” says Sheen’s Bartlet. “I’m not a snob… What I cannot stand is people who are out to convince people that the educators are soft and privileged and out to make them feel less than. He may be educated but I’m plain spoken, just like you. Especially when we know that education can be the silver bullet.”
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