"I look at real life and I'm going, 'This is like a time warp,'" says Albert Brooks, who watched some of his 1987 film Broadcast News recently. "That scene where they're letting people go and consolidating — all that's been happening."
The struggles in Broadcast News aren't just over corporate downsizing, but balancing journalistic ideals with the need for ratings-grabbing news. As Brooks observes: "The news business is still undergoing a transformation, as recently as the Ted Koppel and David Letterman debacle."
Still, the movie didn't get seven Academy Award nominations (including best picture) for presenting a treatise on ethics and business. "It's a real [love] triangle movie," says Brooks.
Indeed, the romantic struggles among overlooked reporter Aaron Altman (Brooks), driven producer Jane Craig (Holly Hunter) and rising news-star Tom Grunnick (William Hurt) embody the film's moral conflict. Which may be the reason writer-director James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment) could not decide which man Jane should end up with. "I shot three different endings," the helmer reveals on Backstory: Broadcast News, a behind-the-scenes look at the movie airing tonight at 10:20 pm/ET on American Movie Classics.
"I hadn't seen the film in years, but every day of my life, I do a half hour on the treadmill," says Albert Brooks, who's currently busy writing a movie, recording the voice lead in Pixar's summer 2003 release, Finding Nemo, and soon begins filming Till Death Do Us Part with Michael Douglas. "That's the time to watch a movie again. But I only do a half hour. Even my own movies aren't good enough to keep me on the treadmill for an hour!"