‘The Newsroom’ Almost Cast Marisa Tomei for Mackenzie McHale

The Newsroom is a critically-acclaimed drama that aired on HBO for several years, spawning 25 episodes over the course of three seasons. With an all-star cast headed up by veteran performer Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom provided audiences with an inside look at what goes on behind the scenes of a popular news show.

Developed by the talented writer/director Aaron Sorkin, The Newsroom might have only been on television for a brief period of time, but it made an impact that lasts to this day. Interestingly enough, while actress Emily Mortimer became an invaluable part of the cast of The Newsroom, she wasn’t the first choice for the role of Mackenzie McHale. 

When did ‘The Newsroom’ debut on television?

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The Newsroom debuted on HBO in June 2012 and ran through December 2014. The show told the story of the employees and crew of the fictional Atlantis Cable News (ACN) channel, detailing not only their professional lives and challenges, but their personal lives as well.

The series was created and written by Sorkin, the creative mind behind projects like The Social Network, The West Wing, and A Few Good Men.

While the focus of The Newsroom was on anchor Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, the show featured multiple other characters as well, including senior producer James “Jim” Harper and the head of ACN, Charlie Skinner. Additionally, Mortimer, an acclaimed British actor, had a prime role in the series as MacKenzie McHale, Will’s ex-girlfriend and the new executive producer of News Night

Who plays Mackenzie McHale in ‘The Newsroom’?

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Mortimer was born in London in 1971 and began her career as a stage actress, appearing in productions all throughout high school and during her university attendance. She started acting in television shows in the mid-’90s, including appearing in Sharpe’s Sword and Coming Home, earning a reputation for her ability to effortlessly inhabit both comedic and dramatic roles.

By the early 2000s, Mortimer had become a mainstay in Hollywood. A few of her most high-profile movie projects include Scream 3, Match Point, Harry Brown, Shutter Island, and Lars and the Real Girl.

In 2011, Mortimer was cast as Mackenzie McHale in The Newsroom. The role provided Mortimer with a good chance to reach a whole new audience of fans, and to this day, the part of MacKenzie is considered to be one of her very best roles. 

Marisa Tomei was almost cast to play Mackenzie McHale

Marisa Tomei attends Hollywood Media's event honoring New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof at Moura Starr on Melrose on October 27, 2009 in West Hollywood, California.
Marisa Tomei | Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

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While Mortimer made a splash as MacKenzie McHale, there was another fan-favorite actress who almost landed the part. According to TheThings.com, Marisa Tomei was actually in talks to take on the part of MacKenzie, but at the very last minute, negotiations fell through, reportedly due to a scheduling conflict. Tomei would have been a clever bit of casting, but ultimately, the changeup worked well for all parties involved, with Emily Mortimer snagging the role of MacKenzie.

As for Tomei, she went on to act in a wide variety of films — and eventually, she became a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, when she landed the role of Aunt May in the new Spider-Man films.

Ultimately, it all worked out for all parties involved, even though fans would have undoubtedly loved what the actress would have brought to the part. Stay tuned to Showbiz Cheat Sheet for all the latest entertainment news!