In a way, Hollywood actor Olivia Munn has been prepping for her role as the brainy economist in HBO’s TV series The Newsroom for years now. A student of journalism, Munn couldn’t be happier about finally getting a chance to put her degree to good use. In an interview at Singapore’s Four Seasons hotel, she opens up on the challenges of playing Sloan Sabbith and the evolution of her character as the show enters its second season. The Newsroom Season 2 premiered last week in India on HBO Defined. Excerpts from the interview:
How has the character of Sloan Sabbith evolved in
Sloan is an economist but this year she gets more involved in news stories. She sits in for the 10 pm broadcast and pushes the network to do more stories on anti-terrorism policies and drones. Also, we see this great relationship develop between Sloan and Jeff Daniel’s character (Will McAvoy).
You play an economics wizard. Personally, how good are you with numbers?
I’m pretty good! As an Asian, I have to be good at math. But to memorise any dialogue as difficult as Aaron Sorkin’s (the show’s creator and writer), I have to go back and learn about every economic term. In a way, it has been like going back to school for me.
What kind of news stories do you like to follow?
I majored in journalism, so my mother is very happy I’m using my degree in some way! I love watching all the news channels. I watch cable news in the morning and then I jump into all the blogs. It is a fascinating world that we live in and it’s important to know what’s going on. I admire journalists so much. It’s a very difficult job to give the public information that they need. But I’m much better at pretending to be a journalist than being a real journalist.
Was there any journalist or news anchor you modeled yourself on while researching your character?
I had a big say in how my character should look and dress. I wanted Sloan to wear a nice tailored suit like a man wears a well-fitted suit. I wanted to show that as a woman she could embrace her femininity and not apologise for it by wearing turtle necks or play it up by wearing low-cut shirts. She wasn’t based on any one person, but the anchor I personally look up to is