Martin Sheen is returning to the West Wing…
Aaron Sorkin is reuniting his The West Wing cast, including the 80-year-old half-Spanish American actor, for the first time in 17 years with a special for HBO Max.
Sheen, Rob Lowe, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff and Bradley Whitford are getting back together with Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme for A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote.
The special will feature a theatrical performance of Hartsfield’s Landing, an episode from the NBC drama’s third season that featured Sheen’s President Barlet playing chess against Sam (Lowe) and Toby (Schiff), while the Chinese are playing war games in the Taiwan Strait and Josh (Whitford) is nervous about the 42 votes in a remote New Hampshire town’s election, which always predict the winner of that state’s primary.
It marks the second high-profile special of a classic NBC series produced by Warner Bros. set to air on HBO Max following the much-delayed Friends reunion special.
The West Wing reunion has long been in the works with Schiff saying in June that the gang was getting back together in support of Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd. The crew have reunited in various forms, including at ATX in Austin, for The West Wing Weekly podcast, and for an ad for Bridget Mary McCormack, a candidate for Michigan’s Supreme Court. However, this is the first time that it will air on television.
The team behind the Warner Bros. Television-produced series have organized the reunion to raise awareness for and support When We All Vote, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization co-chaired by Michelle Obama, which was founded to increase participation in every election in America.
WarnerMedia will make a donation to When We All Vote.
Michelle Obama will make a guest appearance in the special, while additional cast members and special guests from the worlds of public service and the arts will be announced in the coming weeks.
A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote will shoot over multiple days at the Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles in early October. Sorkin will write original exclusive material for the special, while Schlamme will serve as director of the production.
“Tommy and I are incredibly excited to be getting The West Wing cast back together for this staged reading and to support When We All Vote in their efforts to get all of us involved in this election,” said Sorkin.
“With A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote, we are excited to revisit this legendary series and offer our passionate fans something that is substantial, meaningful and unforgettable, while also promoting an important message for our time,” added Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max. “Combined with WarnerMedia’s donation to When We All Vote, this special not only entertains, but also help ensure the organization can carry forth its mission to increase voter participation in every election.”
Sheen appeared on 140 episodes of The West Wing from 1999-2006. The won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of fictitious U.S. President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet.