In a November 2020 Vanity Fair interview, Aaron Sorkin described getting his start as “getting hit by lightning.” He then discussed how he moved to New York City in the 1980s and worked odd jobs to pay the bills. At his job as a bartender, he wrote his play A Few Good Men on cocktail napkins. The play got him discovered and was eventually adapted into an iconic film. A Few Good Men was just the first of many iconic films that he would write.
What most people do not know about Sorkin, though, is that he was also involved with some incredibly famous movies during the early phases of his career as an uncredited “Script Doctor.” A script doctor is a writer or playwright who is hired to rewrite an existing script or polish its specific aspects. Thus, it might surprise people to know that, in 1993, legendary director Steven Spielberg asked Sorkin to polish Steven Zaillian’s script for the award-winning movie Schindler’s List (per IndieWire). Sorkin served as a script doctor and dialogue consultant, but Zallian got all the credit.
Sorkin also lent his talents to famous filmmakers Jerry Bruckheimer and Warren Beatty as a script doctor for The Rock, Enemy of the State, and Bulworth (per IMDb). It’s pretty humbling to learn that someone as talented as Sorkin helped make some iconic movies without feeling the need even to put his name in the credits. And those films surely would not have been as successful without his expertise!