I’m still a ways away from completing my EGOT, but I did spend Saturday as a crowd extra for the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic. You know, the one written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle. And if you’re expecting major plot reveals from today’s shooting, you will be disappointed, because when you’re an extra there really isn’t much plot to speak of.
OK, there are some minor spoilers mentioned herein—well, as spoilery as you can get in a true story we all kind of know. But I can’t spoil much, because Saturday’s shoot didn’t involve the acting out of actual scenes. None of the actors were even there.
Two of the three major characters in the scene—John Sculley and Steve Jobs—were portrayed by stand-ins who barely said anything, instead of Jeff Daniels and Michael Fassbender. The third character, Mike Markkula, had the biggest speaking role, but it was unclear if the actor was a stand-in or not. (Weirdly, IMDb doesn’t list an actor portraying Markkula.)
The only recognizable name at today’s shooting was the director, Danny Boyle, who gave the audience instructions on when to cheer and how much. Boyle was quite charming, emphasizing the profoundness of the moment in time, how that meeting really made these people feel like computers were for everyone.
The footage shot today mostly consisted of audience reaction that will be used for the first scene of the movie, the 1984 Apple shareholders’ meeting where the Mac was born. The crowd spend most of the day reacting when Markkula’s character took the stage, then cheering when Sculley was introduced, and then going wild when Jobs was announced. This was done several times over and over again. And then again. And then some more.
The major reveal at the shooting was that Markkula introduces the famous Ridley Scott “1984” ad during the meeting. Or course, production of the movie is in its early stages, and it’s possible that scene could still change. But attendees of the original meeting will remember that the shareholders meeting came two days after the “1984” ad aired during the Super Bowl.
For most of the shoot, a beige bag perched on a pedestal in the center of the stage. When the crew finally pulled out what looked like an original Mac from the bag, a small roar came from the audience. The Jobs stand-in performed a mock demo a couple of times, and the audience was instructed to react with “purrs” like kittens—proving once again that in technology, it all comes back to cats.
One more thing: I happened to see, since we were there for hours, that the six people beside and in front of me were all using Samsung phones. In fact, I noticed an absence of iPhones, and I actually saw a couple of BlackBerry phones, of all things. That’s not an indication of which phone is more popular, but I think it does show that people were there because they wanted to be in a movie, and not because they wanted to be in the movie about Steve Jobs.
The day ended with a raffle for the crowd, with prizes including T-shirts, hats, an iPad mini, and a TV. I didn’t win, but perhaps I’ll get really lucky and you’ll be able to glimpse me on the silver screen when the Steve Jobs movie hits theaters next year. I’ll be the one cheering.