Fight back tears as the original cast of Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing” reunite for charity. Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford and several other cast members have returned to film a theatrical staging of the “Hartsfield’s Landing” episode in hopes of getting the vote out.
The special, titled “A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote,” will debut on HBOMax on October 15th. Special guests will also include Michelle Obama, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Samuel L. Jackson, and President Bill Clinton — plus Elisabeth Moss will (briefly) reprise her role as the president’s favorite daughter Zoey Bartlet.
Shot at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, the reunion hopes to raise awareness for the non-partisan, nonprofit organization When We All Vote, co-chaired by former First Lady Michelle Obama. Filmed in October with many COVID-19 protocols in place, several images from this gathering have already started to leak on the internet, including (spoiler alert) the reuniting of Ed and Larry.
The “Hartsfield’s Landing” episode premiered in 2002 and was the fourteenth episode in season three. In it, President Bartlet (Sheen) plays both Sam Seaborn (Lowe) and Toby Ziegler (Schiff) in a game of chess, CJ Cregg (Janney) and Charlie Young (Dulé Hill) engage in a prank war, and Josh Lyman (Whitford) obsesses over a vote in New Hampshire.
Some of the better lines include an engaging fight between Ziegler and the President, where he demands Bartlet stop dumbing down his message and pulling his punches: “You’re the President, you don’t have to act like it.” He goes on pushing President Bartlet to “make this election about smart, and not. Make it about engaged, and not. Qualified, and not. Make it about a heavyweight. You’re a heavyweight.”
Sorkin will executive produce along with Thomas Schlamme and Casey Patterson.