Joshua Malina Chat at The Globe on August 17, 1999
*Joshua Malina guest starred in the Season 3 episode "Rules of the Game"*
GlobeHost: Please welcome Joshua
Malina. Hi Joshua. Here is your first question.
malinafan: What is your favorite episode?
Joshua Malina: Interesting question. I think my favorite was titled the Head Coach Dinner and the Morning Mail. I think it was the 2nd episode in a 2 episode story after Sabrina Loyd's character is sexually harassed by a professional athlete and the following episode, Jeremy is obsessed with keeping Natalie from seeing the hate mail and hate hate email that's coming in for her. I particularly like that epsiode because it's a humorous episode that also has a dramatic story and a romantic storyline as well.
Shwabb: Are you related to either Judith Malina or Joel Malina, both?
Joshua Malina: I'm not related to Judith Malina, though I am frequently asked that question. But I am proud to admit to being Joel Malina's first cousin. He's a fantastic actor who was on Broadway in the Rothchild when I was in "A Few Good Men."
lordraz1: I seem to recall that when you were on Broadway in "A Few Good Men," there was some other actor named Malina doing "The Rothschilds" off Broadway. Was there any connection between the two of you?
Joshua Malina: See above answer.
Dbronstein: Is kissing Sabrina Lloyd as great as it seems it would be?
Joshua Malina: Okay, that's a tough question. As a married man, I would have to say no it really isn't. It's not the toughest job out there but that's all I'll say.
zapatos2: Do you really correspond with people on the Sports Night onelist? (Frankly, I'm skeptical.)
Joshua Malina: I do indeed. I've written back and forth with many of them. I gave out my email address as I'll be glad to do here as well. I've really enjoyed corresponding with those hard core Sports night fans. To a person they've all been incredibly interesting and supportive to talk to. Anyone who wants to write to me can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I may take a while but I'll always respond.
Marcyb: Since you and Allen have known each other so long, does he allow you some creative freedom with your characters? Does he mind if you ad lib some of the lines? It seems like so much of what Jeremy says is off-the-cuff; I find it hard to believe all of that is scripted....
Joshua Malina: I'll take that as a compliment, however Aaron is definitely from the control freak school of writing and while I will occasionally succesfully pitch him on a line or two, generally speaking it is all scripted to a word. Since I have known him so long, I do feel that he writes incredibly well for me and knows the right kind of dialogue to create for my character.
Clevelandgrl: Hi Joshua, I'm part of the Sports Night Onelist group, thanks for keeping in touch with us. Here's my question: What is it like behind the sences of Sports Night? Is it (the atmosphere or the people) anything like what goes on behind the sences of the fictional Sports Night? Thanks for your time!
Joshua Malina: There definitely are similarities particulary in the sense that all of the characters on the show get along very well and that all of the actors in the cast have a great time together. There's a lot of joking around and a lot of pranks going down behind the scenes.
Debbichan: Will our show (Sports Night) get the attention it deserves from Aaron now that he has West Wing? Does ABC plan to do any better job promoting SN? It is the best show on TV and no one knows about it.
Joshua Malina: Well, I definitely agree that the show is underpromoted. It's something that puzzles me and I wish I could give you a good answer as to ABC's plan. I can tell you that we have already shot promos for next season. And ABC does appear to be behind the show. I do hope that this season they'll be more successful at getting the word out. As for West Wing, I would have to say that everyone on Sports Night believes his heart is with our show and that he'll find a way to give his full attention to both shows.
KenMacL: How many takes did that last eggnog scene require?
Joshua Malina: (LOL) Actually, we shot I believe 3 takes because that's how many shirts we had and then for some reason weeks later we had to shoot the entire scene again so we gave it another 3 takes. By then we had perfected the faux egg nog which ultimately was a combination of pancake mix and yogurt.
sportsnight: What's your favourite colour & toothpaste & ice cream? Just curious.
Joshua Malina: Great question. Color I'd have to go with black. Toothpaste, I'd have to say AquaFresh. Ice cream is a no brainer, mint chocolate chip, prerably Baskin Robbins or Breyers.
lordraz1: How is Robert Guillaume recovering and will he be in the new episodes?
Joshua Malina: Very happy to report that Robert's doing great. He will indeed be in the new episodes and he is in fact heavily featured in the season opener. It'll deal in part with Isaccs return to work after his stroke.
sportsnight: I seem to recall you guesting on an episode of Sliders. Was that you? Did you meet Sabrina there?
Joshua Malina: I did guest star on Sliders in the season 3 premiere. I played a character with the unfortunate name of Egg head and I'm sorry to report that while I did observe Sabrina on the set, she never introduced herself to me, a fact I bring up to her at every opportunity.
gougeon: Hi Josh, Steve from onelist here. I've learned many different things by watching you in SN. Jeremy is a walking encyclopedia, did you happen to know some of the stuff he mentions (thespis and the Bible stuff come to mind) BEFORE reading the script?
Joshua Malina: First, let me say hi to steve, the man who's brought us the Sports Night quote of the moment. And I have to admit that generally speaking, I don't know a whole lot of what Jeremy knows. I was familiar enough with Thespis to call Aaron after reading the 1st draft to tell him that he spelled it incorrectly. He of course was fairly displeased, seeing as he used the name about 100 times in the script.
SnOasis: How different is working on TV than in movies?
Joshua Malina: Typically, working on a movie is very different from working on a half hour TV show. However, we shoot Sports Night in a way that has more similarities to movie work than to sitcom work. Most sitcoms shoot one day a week for 5 or 6 hours. Sports Night shoots 3 days a week for anywhere from 12 to 16 hours a day.
HobgoodC: Joshua, I am wondering if to your knowledge there is any possibility the laugh track will be removed from Sports Night this season. Is that a decision the network makes or the producers? Thanks!
Joshua Malina: That's definitely a decision the network makes or we never would have had a laugh track in the first place. And I'm happy to report that it's my understanding that there will be no laugh track this season.
zapatos2: You do know that black isn't a color, right? :-)
Joshua Malina: Yes, I was going to go on to say that technically I had picked the absence of all color but I felt that perhaps this wasn't the forum for it.
mackenna_ray: We on the 'SN' mailing list have commented and laughed at that nowadays, we catch ourselves speaking 'Sports Night Sorkinese' more and more. How about yourself? Do you often find yourself talking the way Jeremmy and the rest of the 'SN' cast do?
Joshua Malina: Yes. I identify with that phenomenon. However I'll also add that being a friend of Aaron's, I notice that sometimes he co-ops the way I speak, so I guess there's a give and take there.
Anywhere: Hey Josh......... Malina! I love your show! keep up the Good work!:-)
Joshua Malina: Now that's my kind of question.
Hil38: Which episode of "From the Earth to the Moon" where you in? Character's name?
Joshua Malina: My characters name..I played a data technician named Tim Messick. And the title of the episode ws You Have Cleared the Tower. General comment: I noticed that it's not 6:27 pacific time so that means all east coasters who have a nielsen box should now turn off their computers and start watching my show.
CJHoward: Are there any plans yet for a SportsNight convention?
Joshua Malina: I think sadly conventions only crop up after a show becomes a hit, although it's a great idea. Hopefully we'll have that opportunity this coming season. We've got a great hard core fan base but somehow we have to grow the viewers.
MikeP: Besides Sports Night, of course, are there any other television shows that you enjoy watching?
Joshua Malina: Although it's no longer on the air, I was a giant fan of the LARRY SANDERS SHOW, which I was lucky enough to appear on a few times. And currently I'd have to say THE SOPRANOS absolutely blows me away.
warrigal2: At the risk of being redundant, what do you like best about Jeremy?
Joshua Malina: I'd have to say that unlike most sitcom characters, Aaron Sorkin has written Jeremy as a multi dimensional guy who's capable of being sweet and mean and smart and inept. All at the same time.
Care69: Hi Joshua (I love the Show!!)I was wondering if we're ever going to meet Jeremy's sister - Louise? Also does Jeremy have anymore siblings?
Joshua Malina: Great comment. As for the number of siblings, I'll let you know as soon as Aaron lets me know. I have to say that the idea of bringing Lousie onto the show has been raised and I think it's a wonderful idea. Presumably, I would have to learn American Sign Language. Because as you know, Louise is deaf.
Sarah1999: Hi Joshua, how do you handle your career and being a new father?
Joshua Malina: Very simply. Being a new father always comes first. And when I do have to go to work, I just tell myself, Baby needs a new pair of shoes.
zapatos2: Do you watch SportsCenter?
Joshua Malina: I do if I turn on the TV and it happens to be on.
Debbichan: Judy from onelist asks if there are any casting changes this year. Have we lost anyone?
Joshua Malina: We have not lost anybody. But we are likely to gain at least one new recurring character.
Clem29: Who is your favorite actor?
Joshua Malina: That's a tough one. I'd have to say I like great comic actors, people like Gene Wilder, Charlie Chaplin, Peter O'Toole. And Groucho Marx. Those are my favorites.
Marcyb: What are some early acting flops you've survived?
Joshua Malina: (LOL) I can't even remember the name of the TV movie but I think it was something like Mission to Mars. Not a classic piece of work. I survived it largely because I played a masked terrorist. And I got the role in part by drawing a mask with a black magic marker on my 8 by 10 and handing it to the casting director as I went into the audition.
SnOasis: Some of us on onelist have been wondering about Dana's office. Are we finally going to get to see it this season?
Joshua Malina: We are indeed. The set has not been built yet but I've been told that it will be. There are also rumors about that we may get to see where some of the characters live. It's my theory that Jeremy's bed is shaped like a car and I'm curious to find out if that's true.
Thrilcat: Josh, I never knew you were such a funny guy. Looks and humor! Would you like to see your character date more women?
Joshua Malina: I have to admit that I was surprised to get any romantic storyline this year. I guess it's one of the benefits of having an old friend create the series you're on. I do think it would be interesting to see what would happen if Jeremy and Natalie broke up.
SnOasis: What about Rebecca? Terri Polo's show didn't make it (I think) so will Dan's love life come back?
Joshua Malina: That's a good question but one I cannot answer. I think it's possible that her show is going to be a mid season replacement and that would prevent her from returning next year. In any event, I'm sure Dan's love life will come back in some form.
gougeon: Woah there! Who's that new recurring character? We want to now a bit more than that mister :-)
Joshua Malina: Fair enough. There's only so much I can say. But I will add this: I believe that a new character will be added, somebody who works for the network and perhaps will create conflict behind the scenes of the show.
KenMacL: If you could land Jeremy in any situation you chose, what would it be?
Joshua Malina: The easy answer is it would be interesting to see what happens if Jeremy had to go on the air. Most people would probably expect a broadcast news type situation, a la Albert Brooks. However, I think it would be interesting if Jeremy really rose to the occasion and became sort of monster, wanting to get more and more air time.
sportsnight: Will Aaron (all hail the mighty Sorkin) still be writing all of the episodes for season 2? How does he have the TIME?!?
Joshua Malina: First of all, like the un dead, Aaron never sleeps. (LOL) I believe Aaron's going to take a crack at writing every episode of both the West Wing and Sports Night. But ultimately I think some episodes will have to be written by others.
SkyDancer59: How many episodes are you into the season so far? Can you tell us generally if there are any surprises in store for your character this season?
Joshua Malina: We have filmed only the season opener. After shooting for a week, we're taking a week off. Tough job. The nature of the way Aaron writes is that we don't really know what we're going to be shooting until Sunday night, the day before we start rehearsing. So I'm not really privy to any surprises in store but I have a strong hunch
SnOasis: Oh!! I know I know!!! Is it Luther Sachs that will finally be shown?
Joshua Malina: (LOL) I think it's possible that we will in fact see Luther at some point in the future, he is not the character to which I was previously referring.
malinafan: Josh- you are the best actor on TV and I love you. THank you sooo much for sharing your talent and gift with us - don't ever stop we love you!!!
Joshua Malina: Thank you, Dad.
sportsnight: Any upcoming talk show appereances for any of the cast members?
Joshua Malina: I'm supposed to be on the first MONDAY NIGHT LIVE of the season, coming up this Monday. And I'm sure there will be other appearances by each of the cast members as the season begins.
GlobeHost: Thanks Joshua. It's been a real pleasure. Sports Night is on Tuesday nights at 9:30pm. Good luck and we can't wait to see you on the next season of SN.
Joshua Malina: Thank you. I enjoyed it a lot.
*Special thanks to Blinker for this transcript*
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