Mandy Stadtmiller: I Dated Aaron Sorkin, Became 'Newsroom' Character Inspiration

Aaron Sorkin
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He's got six Emmys, but it took his fifth screenplay to with the Academy's attention.

Despite the former anchorman's insistence, Aaron Sorkin is adamant that Keith Olbermann did not inspire the Jeff Daniels-portrayed protagonist, Will McAvoy, in The Newsroom. There is no such denial about the inspiration for one of McAvoy's romantic interests.

In a post for the website, Mandy Stadtmiller writes that she is the inspiration for the gossip reporter in the fourth episode of The Newsroom, and has emails from Sorkin to prove it. Stadtmiller writes that she met Sorkin at a party for his 2010 film, The Social Network, and promptly slipped him her card. Soon, they were out on a date.

During one of their nights out, Stadtmiller -- dressed in a new Saks Fifth Avenue dress -- told Sorkin about a "takedown" piece she was writing about former Real Housewife Bethenny Frankel. Her description of the story as a sort of "populist" rant about the faults of a star disgusted Sorkin, and soon, she got an email from Sorkin.

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"I want to remind you about a conversation we had at dinner in New York," he wrote. "I asked you what you were working on and you told me about the take down piece and I got preachy and condescending (so unusual for me) and instead of being insulted, defensive or telling me to go f--- myself, you said that you understood completely but that it was your job. I told you then that while you were talking I had an idea."

Sorkin continued, saying that a gossip columnist on a date with McAvoy would begin to start writing mean things about him in the Post, after he told her off on a date in the same manner Sorkin had Stadtkin. 

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"I'm about to start writing that episode right now and I'm telling you now as I told you then, THIS CHARACTER IS NOT YOU," Sorkin continued. "In fact, in the writer's room, when talking about this story, we call the character 'Bad Mandy' (as opposed to real Mandy) because I haven't named her yet. I thought it was worth re-emphasizing that."

Still, when Stadtkin saw the episode, which featured Hope Davis as a reporter from the fake magazine TMI, she was crushed -- despite still having fond feelings for Sorkin.

"What hurt the most watching that first episode -- and yes, I realize it is supposed to be 'the opposite' of me -- was the close to the bone nailing. Of me," she writes. "The sexual forthrightness. The heavy flirtation geared toward a very specific brand of money, fame, power and intellect. And my personal codependent quirk: the unasked for advice."

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