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Jeff Daniels, Everyman

He may be a leading man, but the star of HBO's 'The Newsroom' is no Mr. Hollywood

Jeff Daniels makes a comeback in Aaron Sorkin's series,

Jeff Daniels filming on location for "The Newsroom." — Photo by WireImage/Getty Images

Of course, acting is still his main gig, and so the couple's new freedom also allows time for jaunts like the RV trip to L.A. The long ride was well worth it, since Daniels says his part in The Newsroom, the much-anticipated new show created and written by Aaron Sorkin (The Social NetworkMoneyball), is his best role ever.

Considering that Daniels sports a résumé that includes roles in films like Terms of EndearmentThe Purple Rose of CairoGettysburgThe Squid and the Whale and, yes, Dumb and Dumber, that is high praise indeed. And yet it may take only a few minutes for the audience to agree.

"Clooney has a jet," he laughs. "I have a recreational vehicle."

Moments into the pilot episode, Daniels, as Will McAvoy, a veteran news anchor trying to keep up with an ever-changing media landscape, erupts into a diatribe about the craven state of journalism and news gathering during a college symposium. The rant sets the series, Sorkin's sometimes-scathing look at modern, market-driven news, into furious motion.

"It was pretty electric," he says about shooting the scene. "As an actor, you live for days like that. You live for some writer of Aaron's caliber to write a speech like that and hand it to you. And I'm lucky that happened for me."

Daniels' success is clearly about more than luck, though. He remains in demand as a film actor — he'll appear in the sci-fi tale Looper this fall alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, and is in talks for a sequel to Dumb and Dumber that will reunite him with Jim Carrey and the Farrelly Brothers. And if The Newsroom — with its Sorkin/HBO pedigree — is as successful as most expect, there may be more cross-country RV rides back to L.A. in his future. Which sounds fine with him.

"Clooney has a jet," he laughs. "I have a recreational vehicle."

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