Last month, it was revealed that the cast of The West Wing will reunite for the first time in 17 years for an HBO Max special – benefiting Michelle Obama’s nonprofit When We All Vote – with the hope of inspiring people to vote for the 2020 elections.
Now filming for the highly anticipated reunion episode is underway as original cast members Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney and more were portrayed dressed in character while on location in Los Angeles last Friday.
However, instead of all-new material, the one-off special will be a theatrical stage presentation of a previous episode, which will be streamed on HBO Max this fall. The cast reunites for the stage performance of the season three episode ‘Hartsfield’s Landing’, which first aired in 2002.
Aaron Sorkin’s beloved political drama aired on NBC for seven seasons and 156 episodes from 1999 to 2006, with Sheen, 80, playing fictional Democratic President Josiah ‘Jed’ Bartlet.
They’re back! Martin Sheen, Allison Janney and Rob Lowe can be seen filming a special episode of The West Wing for HBO Max on Friday in Los Angeles
Both Sheen and Janney, 60, were depicted wearing face shields during filming, while other members of the crew wore extra face covers, adhering to strict social distance rules for LA film crews.
Meanwhile, Lowe, 56, was also seen as Sam Seaborn, Toby Ziegler’s deputy communications director (played by Richard Schiff.)
Lowe posted a photo of himself on Instagram over the weekend showing off his rules for the show, along with the caption “ Preparing for tomorrow. ”
Actors Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff, Janel Moloney and Mary McCormack also joined the returning ensemble cast.
Janney resumes her roles as Press Secretary CJ Cregg, Whitford as Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman and Hill as Charlie Young, who later became Deputy Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff.
Some political commentators have pointed to striking similarities between Sheen’s Bartlet and current Democratic candidate Joe Biden, making the special episode all the more relevant to the current political climate.
Reunited! Starring Bradley Whitford and Janel Moloney film scenes for the highly anticipated new episode
Safety first: Richard Schiff and Allison Janney are on set next to hand sanitizer stations
Sorkin is producing the special along with original director Thomas Schlamme.
It was originally reported that the episode will be filmed under COVID Safe Way Forward Protocols, and it appears that the cast and crew are taking the guidelines seriously.
During filming, the actors were depicted standing next to hand sanitizing stations. Since the Hollywood lockdown, there have been instructions for every part of the production, including setting up production offices, site scouting, travel, casting and catering.
New Rules: Since Lockdown in Hollywood, there are instructions for every element of the production, including setting up production offices, site scouting, travel, casting and catering
Power Walk: Bradley Whitford, 60, is seen running to the set of the show
Producers hope to raise awareness for When We All Vote, an impartial nonprofit led by Michelle Obama, who will also share a special message that will be aired during the show.
The series – which follows the tense personal lives of presidential advisers – was critically acclaimed and loved by the Emmys, racking up a total of 27 awards.
Sheen’s Democratic President Jed was the dominant character as he endured scandals and threats.
The series was produced by John Wells Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.
Comfort: Oscar winner Allison Janney was pictured wearing a pair of old sneakers under her gray power suit
New Recruit: This Is Us star Stirling K. Brown was portrayed on set
Safety: The actors all appeared to be wearing ZShield ™ from ZVerse, products made in the USA
An Important Message: The West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote is being produced with the hope of inspiring people to vote in the 2020 election
Sorkin – who is writing the original material for the event – released a statement last month saying, “ Tommy (director Thomas Schlamme) and I are incredibly excited to be getting The West Wing back together for this staged reading and When We All Vote in their efforts to get us all involved in this election. ‘
‘With a West Wing Special to take advantage of When We All Vote, we are delighted to revisit this legendary series and offer our passionate fans something substantial, meaningful and memorable, while also promoting an important message for our time’, Sarah Aubrey said. main original content for HBO Max.
Back Together: The cast of the hit TV series West Wing returns for the first time in 17 years for a good cause. A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote will be filmed at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles in early October and will air on HBO Max
“Combined with WarnerMedia’s donation to When We All Vote, this special not only provides entertainment, but also enables the organization to fulfill its mission to increase voter participation in every election.”
HBO Max is also working on an unscripted Friends reunion special that has been postponed many times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the weekend, actor Bradley Whitford reunited with his West Wing co-stars Janel Moloney and Dulé Hill, while waiting to hear if he’d won the Emmy Awards.
Whitford, however, lost his performance on The Handmaid’s Tale to Billy Crudup for The Morning Show.