Charlie Wilson’s War

Screenwriter: Aaron Sorkin

Distrib/release date: Universal/ Dec. 21

Storyline: In the 1980s, a congressman from Texas, with the aid of a Texas heiress and a CIA operative, helps bring down the Soviet empire by funding the anti-Soviet insurgency in Afghanistan.

About the script: Sorkin based his script on the nonfiction book “Charlie Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History” by the late George Crile.

Biggest challenge: Wilson authorized Sorkin to portray his partying ways truthfully. But Sorkin says, “I had to be coy about the cocaine usage because if we showed that, we would never see anything else. We’d then have to show him having a breakdown or going into rehab. So I had to portray his hard partying and he would still be able to be a movie hero that Tom Hanks would want to play. I had to also make sure you knew this was a guy who would be up at 3 a.m. studying the situation in Afghanistan.”

Breakthrough idea: Wilson (Hanks) meeting CIA operative Gust (Philip Seymour Hoffman) while also learning that the congressman is under investigation for his drug usage “was such a terrific scene that I knew I had to write the rest of the movie.”

Choice line: Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts) claims God is on the side of Americans. Wilson replies, “I’m just afraid that one of these days God is going to be on both sides.”

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