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Aya Cash Reflects on the Nerves of Nailing Aaron Sorkin Dialogue

“You have to be word perfect on that show, down to the commas.”


As someone who still schvitzes before every single interview she conducts, nerves can skyrocket often in this industry. For Aya Cash? One of the first gigs that really put her nerves to the test was her guest appearance on Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series, The Newsroom.

Cash joined the ensemble in the premiere episode of Season 2 as Shelly Wexler, a member of the Occupy Wall Street movement who ultimately agrees to do an on-air interview with Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels). That interview, featured in Episode 4, “Unintended Consequences,” winds up being an unforgettably awkward and heated conversation that she regrets doing.


Jeff Daniels in The Newsroom

Image via HBO

While on Collider Ladies Night in celebration of her latest release, We Broke Up, Cash took a moment to look back on her Newsroom experience and explain why nerves were especially high on that project. She began:

“Newsroom was maybe the first show that I had been on that I had watched regularly. But I was coming on to a show that I knew really well and I knew all the people. It was a lot of New York theater people and I was very intimidated so I wouldn’t call it fun, but I do think it was a really good lesson too about how to get your nerves under control.”

Given the fast-paced, quick witted dialogue Sorkin is known for, it’s no surprise that nailing lines proved to be an especially challenging part of the process.

“You have to be word perfect on that show, down to the commas. So you have to be punctuation perfect on that show! [Laughs] And I thought I was super prepared, and I showed up the first day and I was stumbling a little because of nerves even though I knew my lines, and it wasn’t okay. It was [okay], meaning Alison Pill being like, ‘I cried too. It’s okay!’ I mean really warm, supportive people. But I was so disappointed in myself that I ended up hiring someone to run lines with me for the next couple of weeks every single day just so that I could show up and not let those nerves or that intimidation prevent me from doing my job.”

RELATED: Aya Cash Shares the “Craziest” Story from the ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ Set

Aya Cash in You're the Worst

Image via FX

So what was the end result of Cash’s Newsroom experience? Did she wind up with a preference for improvisation or the challenge of being word perfect? Here’s where she stands on the matter:

“I don’t mind either. I don’t mind improving in character when I know the character, the place, the plot, and I really enjoy that. I also don’t mind being word perfect! Because theater is word perfect, I’m used to that. You just have more time and collaboration, and [when] you’re on a stage and you hit a certain mark, it’s a trigger for that line because you have some muscle memory in it, so it’s just different. But once I know the rules, I’m down to play in either game. It’s just a slightly different set of rules. But I like that! You’re the Worst was mostly word perfect. Maybe not as strict, but there’s very little improve in You’re the Worst which is unusual for a comedy. And that’s because Stephen [Falk] had very tightly scripted it and felt like that was important so we all played by those rules and enjoyed that, too.”

If you want to hear more from Cash, there’s loads more information on her time working on You’re the Worst, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Boys and more in her full episode of Collider Ladies Night at the top of this article!

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