Thomas Sadoski: 'The Newsroom' Season 2 Interview!
The 37-year-old actor stars as Don Keefer, an executive producer at ACN who just got out of a long-term relationship with News Night‘s associate producer Maggie (Alison Pill) after a season-long love triangle.
JJ caught up with Thomas about the breakup and what that means for Don and Sloane (Olivia Munn), as well as what we can expect coming up!
Be sure to tune into The Newsroom every Sunday night @ 10PM on HBO!
Click inside to read our interview with Thomas Sadoski…
JustJared.com Interview – Thomas Sadoski
Just Jared: It’s nice to have the show back! We know you have a huge theater background, but have you gotten used to watching yourself every week?
Thomas Sadoski: Oh no, God no. It’s totally freaky. It’s so bizarre. It’s distracting, frankly. I have to go back and watch the episodes again to see what I missed because I’m so bugged out with seeing myself on screen. I have to go back and re-watch and watch it with a little bit of a critical eye and see where I can improve, and what changes can be made and that sort of stuff. And see where, hopefully, I’m improving and what not. So, it’s weird because I’m such a big fan of the show and I’m such a big fan of so many of the actors in this show that I’ll be so totally engaged as an audience member – like happily and dazed as an audience member – and then all of a sudden I’ll show up on screen and I’m like, “Ahh!” And it totally sort of takes me out of it, so I have to spend some time going back over it. I’m not used to it at all.
JJ: I’m sure the things that you are overly critical about, we as viewers don’t even notice.
TS: I’m sure, absolutely. I think that’s probably true with everything everyone does everywhere.
JJ: So at this point, Don and Maggie are done. It seemed inevitable, but why do you think he committed to her at the end of season one?
TS: I think it’s true what Sloan said about Don that he’s not a bad guy, but he thinks that he is. And that someone along the way sort of convinced him that he’s doing the wrong thing and that he’s a bad guy. So he’s trying to do the right thing, he’s tying to do what he thinks is the right, regardless if it is or not. I think that early on in the season, he wasn’t committed to that relationship in a way that sort of was him at his best. And I think that he owes it to himself and he owes it to Maggie to really give it a shot and to really commit and give it a shot. Despite the fact that these new revelations have sort of come up, but you know how that plays out.
JJ: Speaking of Don and Sloan…what can you tell us about their relationship? We want to know!
TS: I think that they both realize that they have to work together and they both realize that that relationship has forever changed, despite the fact they might not want it to. I think they’re both going to work like hell to make things as normal as possible. I think a sort of joy of it is watching two people try to work really hard making things go back to normal, you know? Even though they’re not and it’s not normal and things have changed and you know that breeds a great tension and some I think great scenes.
JJ: We like that the writers are sort of building up the chemistry between the two, as opposed to just jumping right into something. Do you agree?
TS: Absolutely, I think it’s really respectable. I think one of the things that sets Sloan and Don apart as characters is their maturity. This is obviously something that has come up – the relationship has ended between Don and Maggie, but rather then just rush right into something, they take time to heal and to explore what this is now between the two of them and figure it out in a way that is respectable for each other, and to each other, and for themselves. I think it’s really heartbreakingly mature, and simultaneously, it’s sort of beautifully timid. You know, in one hand, it’s a really mature decision and then in the other hand, it’s so young and so timid. They’re still sitting across the classroom from each other making eye contact at each other every once in a while, and their hearts and their heads exploding, but they can’t really think about it because they’re scared. It’s cute.
JJ: Totally agree! This season, we’re going to see plenty of more real-life events play out on screen. Do you feel obligated to keep up on news and politics because of the show?
TS: No, I don’t. I don’t feel any obligation, I mean it’s a TV show. At the end of the day, we’re a TV show and it’s a workplace drama, first and foremost before it is anything else. None of us are running for office. So I don’t feel any sort of added or additional responsibility and frankly, I think it’s dangerous to start thinking in those terms. I play a journalist on TV, I don’t know the first thing about what it is to be a journalist in real life. I mean, I have a greater appreciation now to journalism when I see it and I’m much more critical when I see it, but I’m not an expert. It’s certainly not my place to go around and tell people how they should be doing their jobs. I have my opinions and you know, I am just as entitled to them as anybody else is. When I became an entertainer, when I became an actor, when I became an artist, I didn’t sacrifice my right to have opinions about things that matter, but I don’t feel an additional responsibility because my show, the TV show that I’m on, has a political bent to it.
JJ: Fair enough. Critics were quite hard on the first season of the show. Do you think they will warm up to the second?
TS: I don’t know. I think that the second season is very different from the first season. And I think that a lot of, from my understanding – I don’t pay a lot of attention to criticism, I don’t read it too specifically – but my understanding is that a lot of the issues that people took with last year were the sort of “perfect world” scenario that Aaron [Sorkin] was writing. And that he was writing too aspirationally and that people might have thought that he was criticizing them, and saying, “This is how you should be doing this,” like it was a lecture. What Aaron has done in the first season is build up these characters to being very proud of themselves and what they’re doing, and getting a cohesive unit, and sort of being ready to take on the world. Then in the second season, it’s all about how everything comes falling down around them. It is Don Quixote in a way where, “Here we go we’re going to charge the windmill” and then you hit the f-cking windmill and realize it’s just a windmill and you get knocked off of your horse. It’s interesting and I hope that people give it a shot, people who didn’t like the first the season, will give it a shot. I think the people that love the show are going to continue to love the show. We wanted to tell our story differently. I think that it was important for us to keep growing and figuring out how we’re best going to tell our story. I think that it’s been exciting to see how that’s changed. Who knows? Maybe people will like it, maybe they won’t.
JJ: The cast is so good. As an actor, we’d imagine having that kind of talent on set only makes you work harder in nailing your scenes.
TS: Yeah, I mean Jeff Daniels sets the pace, right? I mean he’s our leader and he sets the pace. He sets the bar for how we are going to work in our show and man, he sets the bar high. And the extraordinary work that that guy has to do artistically and technically to come in everyday and do what he does is incredible. It’s mind-blowing in a lot of ways, and none of us want to be the person who lets that down, who lets the ball drop. Jeff and Emily [Mortimer] do such an extraordinary job getting that thing up in the air and getting this show off and running, none of us wants to be the reason that we trip and stumble. So yeah, I work hard to make sure that I am ready for when my time comes because I don’t want to be the reason that it all falls apart.
JJ: Yeah, that’s a lot of pressure!
TS: Yeah no, totally. It’s simultaneously fear and simultaneously a matter of personal pride, and “This is my responsibility and I’m going to do it as well as I can and it’s not going to be me.” You know? (laughs). “Not today!” And Lord knows I screwed up plenty and I will continue to, but at the end of the day you want to come out as good as you possibly can.
JJ: What are you most excited about seeing in the second season?
TS: There is so much I am excited to see, frankly. I was so over the moon to work with Marcia Gay Harden and I’m really excited to see how those scenes turned out. And I’m excited to see the work of everybody else. I’m such a big fan of these cast members that I get to work with and I didn’t get to see a lot of their work, a lot of the stuff they shot this year, so watching that first episode last night [at the premiere] even I was like, “Oh man, I didn’t get to see any of this.” So all of the stuff that I haven’t seen or wasn’t around for when it was getting shot, I can’t wait to see all of that!