Jeff Daniels: Aaron (Sorkin, the show’s creator and executive producer) had never worked with most of us before … but seven months later, we were done shooting Season 1, and he knew us and knew the characters and knew the show and knew what worked and what didn’t so well.
Season 2 is Aaron saying, “We guessed right a lot the first season. Now I know what it is, who Jeff is, and what Jeff and Emily (Mortimer, who plays Mackenzie McHale) can do together. I’ve seen it, and I’ve written for it.” The way it felt on the set, this was like our third or fourth season.
Zap2it: Much of the season’s first two episodes were rewritten and reshot. What did that mean for you?
Jeff Daniels: It wasn’t a big deal. It was a big deal to HBO and to Aaron. It was better to do it then than later, when we couldn’t do it at all. I’m glad this guy is smart enough — and that HBO is supportive enough — to go, “Start over.”
I’d say he redid 75 percent of episodes 1 and 2. It was the same ideas, he just did a lot of rearranging. Different characters came in sooner, all that writer stuff.
Zap2it: What do you think of the legal deposition device throughout Season 2?
Jeff Daniels: It certainly says, “We’ve got a very high-powered lawyer in the room with our people, and something went very, very wrong. That’s why she’s here.” And that’s good drama.