Top 10... - March 20, 2015

10 Things You Didn’t Know About… The West Wing
by Tom
Tom
by Tom hmv London, Bio hmv.com Editor. Peanut butter, punk rock and pillows.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About… The West Wing

It’s been off our screens for almost a decade now, but political drama The West Wing has an enduring power and fanbase that just seems to keep growing and growing.

The drama follows Jed Bartlett (played by acting stalwart Martin Sheen), the newly elected US President as he assembles his backroom team. There’s his Chief Of Staff, his Communications Director, Press Secretary, admin staff, bodyman and all their various deputies. With a cast that includes the likes of Rob Lowe, Bradley Whitford and Alison Janney as well as a fierce and respected showrunner in Aaron Sorkin, the show was one of most expensive and most beloved shows in television history.

Currently on offer as part of hmv’s US TV promotion and overdue a revisit with the US president election looming large next year, we present 10 things you didn’t know about The West Wing…

 

Martin Sheen was only supposed to do four episodes…

It seems inconceivable now, but Sheen originally signed up for just four episodes of the drama. Sorkin’s original idea was that the show would revolve around the supporting players in the White House, with the President a peripheral figure. He quickly changed his mind…

 

Evan Rachel Wood, Taye Diggs, Ty Burrell, Amy Adams, J.K. Simmons and Nick Offerman all appeared in one episode of the show…

Before they were all stars, they all did time on The West Wing, some were security men, others were members of the public, all quite ordinary, except J. K. Simmons, who played the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman.

 

Sidney Poiter was offered the role of President…

The Oscar winner was the first man Sorkin and creators NBC thought of to take the role of Jed Bartlett. Talk, however, did not get far.

 

One of Aaron Sorkin’s legendary walk and talk scenes required 500 extras…

Sorkin and the West Wing are famed for their lengthy set pieces where characters would dispense vast amounts of dialogue while power walking down a long corridor. The longest of these came in an episode titled Five Votes Down, it took all night to shoot and required a whopping 500 extras.

 

The show is an Emmy record breaker…

During its seven year run on TV, the show collected 26 Emmys, making it the joint highest winner for a drama series. It’s tied with Hill Street Blues in case you were wondering…

 

Jon Bon Jovi cameos in two episodes…

The million-selling arena rocker features in two episodes in the show’s final season. He’s no stranger to acting, having had roles in Ally McBeal, Moonlighting and Pay It Forward, but in this case he was only required to play himself…

 

Eugene Levy was almost a key part of the show…

That’s right. The man best known to everyone as Jim’s Dad from American Pie almost snagged the part of Toby. In the end it went to Richard Schiff, probably for the best really…

 

Bradley Whitford was originally supposed to play Sam…

After rounds of auditions, producers originally decided to offer Whitford the role of Sam Seaborn, the role that would later go to Rob Lowe. Whitford was desperate to play Josh Lyman, the President’s Deputy Chief of Staff and went as far as calling Sorkin personally to ask to switch. Fortunately Sorkin agreed…

 

And C.C.H Pounder almost played CJ…

Best known to most of you as tough-talking Claudette Wyms on gritty police drama The Shield, Pounder almost nabbed the role of Bartlett’s no-nonsense Press Secretary away from Alison Janney.

 

Before he was an Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D, Clark Gregg was a FBI agent on The West Wing…

He’d later go on to make his name as Phil Coulson, the man responsible for keeping Iron Man, Thor and Captain America in line, but before all that, Gregg played FBI agent Michael Casper for eight episodes, fiercely guarding the Oval Office.

 

The West Wing is available as part of hmv’s US TV promotion. Find more details in store now.

The West Wing
The West Wing NBC

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