With the second season of HBO's The Newsroom debuting on July 14, SI caught up with Olivia Munn, who plays economics reporter Sloan Sabbith. Despite her character's area of expertise Munn, 32, a former sideline reporter for Fox, seemed more focused on Finals than finance.
SI: You've evolved from actual media personality to fake media personality: You were a sideline reporter, then hosted Attack of the Show and Formula DRIFT on G4, then became a scripted correspondent on The Daily Show and now play a fictional reporter on The Newsroom. Did any one of those roles feel more natural than the others did?
OLIVIA MUNN: It's hard to say because my dream would be to do them all. But I'm so lucky to be working with Aaron Sorkin on Newsroom and that amazing group of actors—Sam Waterston, Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer. My career cheat is to be part of ensembles and keep surrounding myself with greatness.
SI: It's the same in sports—the way to improve is to play with, and against, better players.
OM: It was so interesting watching the Heat because I remember when LeBron got all that crap for leaving Cleveland, then he goes off and wins two consecutive championships. It makes you realize how much it matters to have the right teammates, the right coach and the right atmosphere.
SI: Your stepfather was in the Air Force, stationed in Japan, when you were young. How did that influence you as a sports fan?
OM: The base did a good job of providing sports programming. The Cowboys every Sunday and MNF too.
SI: Are you athletic yourself?
OM: I love surfing, and I go on hikes—but not really. In L.A. everyone wants to go on hikes ... but it feels like they're just there waiting to be discovered. Oh, this is going to be my big break.
SI: You learned to surf for a role, right?
OM: It was my first series, Beyond the Break, on a Nickelodeon subchannel. During the auditions they asked if I could [surf]. If you ask an actor if he can fly a plane, it's like, Yeah, let's get in the plane. I'll do it. [They said,] "In two days we need you to go to Santa Monica to do a surf test." So I called an actress friend, and she told me about a guy. So that's how I learned to do it. Then, of course, I got the job and they never asked me to surf because of insurance liability.
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
Gus Poyet, manager of Brighton & Hove Albion, an English second tier soccer club, learned he had been fired while he was working as a BBC analyst and was handed a script that included an announcement of his dismissal.
MIKE HEWITT/GETTY IMAGES (POYET)
LISA BLUMENFELD/GETTY IMAGES (MUNN)