Critics and adoring fans of Aaron Sorkin's body of work have at least one thing in common: They agree the Oscar- and Emmy-winning film and television writer is intensely drawn to depict powerful, yet flawed, characters in his work, men who wake up in the morning trying to better the lots of those around them.
One of those men, Sorkin told Newsweek editor in chief Tina Brown at that magazine and The Daily Beast's Hero Summit, is David Petraeus.
“General Petraeus plainly is a hero in the classic definition. He's put men in harm's way ... he's protected us," Sorkin told Brown.
In the end, Sorkin says Petraeus made a very human mistake, an error that, in the word's of the writer, give his story a “Shakespearean twist.”
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As much as Sorkin admires Petraeus, he won't be able to recreate his fall from grace in the second season of his HBO drama “The Newsroom” because the show's timeline ended the day before news of Petraeus' affair hit.
During the summit, Sorkin also spoke to Brown about his upcoming Steve Jobs film. Before the interview, Sorkin hadn't disclosed much information about the project to the public. He told Brown however, that the movie would be composed of three scenes: one about the creation of the Mac, another about Job's company Next, and finally, a vignette about the iPod.
Asked about his relationship with his subject, Sorkin admitted to having only a “phone relationship” with Jobs but said he helped the late tech titan write a commencement speech. For his movie about Jobs, Sorkin said his benchmark for success would be if the audience walks out of the film remembering the iconic Mac ad: “Here's to the crazy ones.”
"If I can live up to that ending ... I will have won,” said Sorkin.
Brown later remarked that Jobs was a flawed genius, to which Sorkin issued the rejoinder, "There's no point in writing about someone unless they are flawed.”
A hero, Sorkin said, is the “the difference between a good man and a great man.”