PHOTO CALL: Meet 'Mr. Sterling'

News   PHOTO CALL: Meet 'Mr. Sterling'
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Photo by Paul Drinkwater, Copyright © 2002 NBC, Inc.

Audra McDonald (second from right) stars as press secretary-cum-chief-of-staff Jackie Brock in NBC's "Mister Sterling," alongside Chandra West (as Laura Chandler), David Norona (as Leon Montero), Josh Brolin (as Bill Sterling) and William Russ (as Tomy Doyle). The drama, from the makers of "The West Wing," features McDonald as the inexperienced staff leader for young U.S. Senator William Sterling, Jr.. It is expected on NBC during television's midseason (early 2003).

"She's very smart," said McDonald of her character. "It's basically a political drama. I don't start out as a chief of staff. I start out as a press secretary. Through a wild set of circumstances, I end up the chief of staff all within 24 hours. What I like about it—and this is my very naive take on the whole thing—is that she and the senator are sort of like Luke and Leia in Star Wars in terms of battling this institution," the federal government. "I would guess that [President Bush's national security advisor] Condoleezza Rice had a bit of an influence on this character."

— By Christine Ehren