Aaron Sorkin, the talented writer of multiple mediums, was the recent subject of an ongoing project dedicated to creative inspirations. The entertainment news website Deadline Hollywood started an interesting series of video interviews entitled “The Film That Lit My Fuse,” with such previous subjects as Russell Crowe, Edward James Olmos and Oliver Stone. I like the concept as well as many of the responses I’ve seen. However, the recent one with Aaron Sorkin bears special mention here.
Why the special mention? Readers of Lee Marvin Point Blank are aware of several of the bibliographies I constructed in the back of the book and one of the ones that I was most proud of was “Films Lee Marvin Could Have Made” in which I speculate on roles he would have played had he lived. Since Aaron Sorkin had his breakout success with the stage and film version of A Few Good Men (1992), I could not help but speculate what Marvin would have been like in the role of Marine Col. Nathan R. Jessup.

Lee Marvin n THE DIRTY DOZEN, or how he might have looked in A FEW GOOD MEN.

Jack Nicholson as Col. Nathan R. Jessup in director Rob Reiner’s film version Aaron Sorkin’s AFEW GOOD MEN.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Nicholson was superb in the role. I just think it would have been interesting to see what Marvin would have done with it. When I saw it in the theater when it first came out, I remember thinking that I could easily hear Marvin bark that famous line: “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!”
In the video, which I’ve linked below, Sorkin’s response to the questions and his anecdotal remembrances are fascinating. Like him, I enjoy a good courtroom drama and also consider the T.V. show “M*A*S*H” to be the best of the best. I also consider William Goldman one of the all-time greats and was pleasantly surprised to discover he was a coach and mentor to Sorkin.
One minor quibble, though. He’s incorrect when he says 12 Angry Men (1957) has only one set consisting of the jury room throughout the film. The film opens in the courtroom with the jury receiving their instructions from the judge and closes with an exterior shot of the courthouse with two jurors exchanging good byes. Minor quibble, I grant you but worth mentioning.
Oh, and speaking of courtroom dramas, Lee Marvin was no stranger to the genre, having taken the witness stand in The Caine Mutiny (1954), The Rack (1956) and as the title subject seen below……

Lee Marvin as Korean War era defendant Paul Ryker in SGT. RYKER.

  • Dwayne Epstein.


The Film That Lit My Fuse: ‘The Trial Of The Chicago 7’ Writer-Director Aaron Sorkin

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2 thoughts on “AARON SORKIN

  1. Hi Dwayne,
    I have my list of roles that I think Lee would have been good in. If you disagree, that’s OK 🙂.
    1. The drill sergeant (played by Claude Akins) in “From Here To Eternity” (1953).
    2. Jack Kehoe (played by Sean Connery) in “The Molly Maguires” (1970).
    3. And most of all, Lee would be perfect as Luke in “Cool Hand Luke” (1967). Strother is the boss this time, as opposed to the flunky he was in “Liberty Valance”.

    Speaking of “From Here To Eternity”, I noticed that it was made at the exact same time as “The Stranger Wore A Gun”. In “Stranger”, there’s a stage holdup where Lee and his co-thug end up beating the driver to death, which we don’t see. The viewer hears Lee barking orders to the driver off-camera, with his co-thug saying something right after. The co-thug has the distinctive voice of Randolph Scott. This voice should be coming from Ernest Borgnine, as revealed at the end of the movie that he was one of the murderers. I wonder if Ernest was busy on “Eternity”, and could not be available for this scene.

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