Following 2013's lacklustre (and inaccurate) Jobs film, there was a lot of hope that the new Steve Jobs movie would have a much better script thanks to the screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, director Danny Boyle, and the cast. However, reactions haven't been all that positive with complaints that Jobs is portrayed as a jerk and the story being fabricated. Here is everything you need to know about the new Steve Jobs movie, from the release date and actors to behind-the-scenes gossip, plus our review.
The new Steve Jobs hit a selection of cinemas in the US on 9 October 2015 before its role out countrywide on 23 October, while UK cinema goers will be able to catch the new Steve Jobs film from 13 November. However, we were lucky enough to see the movie at a screening in early October, and we have included our review of the Steve Jobs movie in this article.
We were very excited about the new movie but our enthusiasm was dampened somewhat when we discovered that it is an inaccurate portrayal of events – and we are sticklers for the true story. We also feel that Jobs is portrayed “in full jerk mode” which isn’t exactly an inaccurate portrayal, but his successes aren’t highlighted in the film to balance out the negativity so we feel that an injustice has been done.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the new movie is headded in the same direction as the 2013 Jobs movie staring Aston Kutcher, which met with a lukewarm reception – its
IMDb rating is currently a paltry 5.9 and we’ve watched it – it’s terrible! The new Steve JObs fil currently has an
IMDb rating of 7.7, which suggests it’s good (but perhaps the Android fan boys are voting for it!)
Either way, it’s not proving to be a hit with US audiences.
According to MacRumours the film has been pulled from more than 2,000 cinemas in the US after flopping at the Box Office, although that site is suggesting it might be re-released again nearer the Oscars.
In the second weekend the movie made 69 percent less profit than it did in the previous weekend.
We think that the issue with the movie is that the team behind it didn’t appreciate their market. With so many Apple fans around the world the film could have been a real hit – if it hadn’t portrayed the story in such a negative light.
For those who are less likely to feel that an injustice has been done, in what is essentially a character assassination, perhaps it will be seen as a good story. Read on for our review of the movie, and to find out what the people who were actually there at the time think of the Steve Jobs film…
Steve Jobs film: UK release date
We have had it confirmed that the new Steve Jobs movie writen by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle will be in UK cinemas from Friday 13 November.
That’s just over a month after the film started showing in the US. In the US the film hit 80 theatres from Friday 9 October before roling out to all cinemas on 23 October.
Macworld UK’s review of the Steve Jobs film
It’s not that I’m such a fan of Apple that I don’t want to know about the nasty side of Jobs. I had first hand experience of what the man was like (I was once pushed out of the way by him when he wanted to show Alicia Keys how to use iTunes). Also, knowing people who have worked at Apple over the years, I am well aware of the fear and panic that being caught in a lift with him (or elevator if you are in the US) would cause. I’m well aware that Jobs wasn’t known for his soft side.
And yet we all know that the man had many achievements. That he lead a revolution that has got us to where we are today. Sure he used other people’s expertise to recognize his dreams, but dream them he did. He led the orchestra that created the products that he is famed for.
With all this in mind, I was disappointed in the Steve Jobs movie. Partly because as an Apple expert I watched the film in dismay as events were pulled out of context and people appeared in locations and at times where they simply wouldn’t have been around. I can’t help but think that in his desire to avoid the chronological retelling or Steve Jobs story, a traditional childhood to death epic, in favour of three acts (which would be better suited to a theatrical production) Aaron Sorkin constrained himself too much. The only way he could tell the story was to pull events from all corners of Jobs’ life and present them as if they had happened in the 30 minutes before a keynote presentation.
Hence we have Steve Jobs (portrayed by Michael Fassbender) washing his feet in a toilet minutes before going on stage to announce the Macintosh. Sure, Jobs was known to have done this, but not at this stage in his story! Apparently Sorkin had read the Walter Isaacson biography but he had no trouble deciding to shuffle around events – it’s a wonder he didn’t have him getting high before the launch of the NeXt computer of something. There are so many examples of events being taken out of context that I could practically repeat the whole plot of the movie in this article, but I won’t do that, just in case you actually want to watch it.
Another constraint of Sorkin’s model for presenting Steve Jobs’ story is to have him interacting with the same six people at each of these 30 minute, pre-keynote, sessions. As if in the run up to a keynote presentation Jobs would be spending his time speaking to various people from his past.
Even if you suspend disbelief at the fact that he is talking to people at the time one would imagine he would be tearing around backstage shouting at people to get things working, or running through the script, the fact that some of the people are even there at those moments in time is factually incorrect.
Take Jobs and the other co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, played by Seth Rogan. Woz is there at the launch of the Mac in 1984, randomly he is there before Steve Jobs goes on stage to talk NeXT computers during the wilderness years, and even more randomly (since in real life he no longer is working at Apple at this time) Woz is there at the launch of the iMac in 1997. And you know what’s the most annoying thing about this – at each of these events, like a broken record Woz is asking Jobs to mention the Apple II team. Not only does this make him sound like a bit of an idiot, it’s such a shame for Woz to be presented in this light given that he actually worked as a consultant on the film – he was paid considerably for his efforts. It’s almost as if nobody listened to a word he said other than some comment he must have made about the Apple II.
Another face that just keeps on popping up when he wouldn’t have been around is former (and somewhat disgraced) Apple CEO John Sculley (played by Jeff Daniels). There he is at the Mac, NeXT and the iMac launch. Clearly he didn’t have anything better to do than stalk Jobs, the man he got fired.
The reoccurrence of key characters throughout the plot, despite them not actually working at Apple also applies to a key character, Joanna Hoffman (played by Kate Winslet), who was at Jobs side before each of these keynotes. If you are aware of the actual story, she had left Apple long Jobs returned to launch the iMac. Just as an aside, I couldn’t help but think she actually looked younger by the end of the movie.
One particularly strange choice for a key character, I thought, was the focus on Andy Hertzfeld. Known as the ‘father of the Mac’ Hertzfeld was a character that I felt had a bigger part in the story as told by Sorkin than he warranted, perhaps because he, like Woz, had met with Sorkin and spilled the beans. He was even credited with giving money to the father of Jobs’ daughter – the one Jobs denied paternity of. I’m really not sure of the accuracy of this.
Jobs ex-partner Chrisaan Brennan and his daughter Lisa had a key part in Sorkin’s story that they never had in the Walter Isaacson biography. With a frantic and unstable Chrisaan appearing before the first two Jobs om-stage appearances, to beg him for money.
But the real tale being told is about Jobs’ relationship with his daughter Lisa. With much made of the fact that he initially refused to accept her as his own despite a positive paternity test. Lisa had chosen not to speak to Isaacson when he was researching her father’s biography because she wasn’t comfortable talking about Jobs while he was still alive, but once Sorkin was able to speak to her it really changed the theme of the movie.
It’s a shame really that Sorkin was so intent on restricting himself to the three scene format, because perhaps this was a story to be told that was worth listening to. How Jobs accepted Lisa as his own, and how Lisa actually ended up living with Jobs and his new family. But this is only hinted at during the film as it leaps from year to year and decade to decade.
I can’t help but think that if you don’t know the real story of Steve Jobs you will come away from the movie confused about what actually happened. While if, like me you know the story your reaction will be blinkered by the feeling that an injustice has been done in its telling.
Jobs wife, Laurene Powell, who tried to get the movie stopped, was instrumental in some of early complications with the movie that saw the movie makers approach three different stars before one would agree to take on the role of Jobs. I can’t help but think that she was right to be concerned. Leaving the movie I felt that I’d watched a character assassination. Sure some of it was due – as I said at the beginning, Jobs wasn’t exactly a nice man, but his achievements were underplayed. I don’t think this movie is good for Apple’s reputation.
There’s one other underlying theme to the movie, Jobs relationship with his biological parents and his adoptive parents. It’s presented as a justification for how Jobs treats his daughter and those around him. Of course there are factual inaccuracies to the telling of this story.
I wonder how someone who doesn’t know the Steve Jobs story would react to the film. Would they enjoy the story? Personally I think they would come away confused about what the story was. Too many details are skipped over, leaving you wondering what is actually happening.
We had high hopes for this film having seen Sorkin’s other tech-tale Social Network, but the Social Network wasn’t constrained in its telling in the same way as the Jobs movie and therefore we saw a story played out in front of the camera. By contrast the Steve Jobs story left too much happening behind the scenes that you had to fill in yourself. Either you already know the story, in which case you’re reaction will be like mine, or you won’t know the story and you will come away confused about what you just watched. Such a shame.
Other reviews of the Steve Jobs film
The new Steve Jobs film premiered back in early September at the 42nd Annual Telluride Film Festival in Colorado and reviewers seem to like the film. Here is what the reviewers had to say following that preview:
Deadline says: “It’s a companion piece to Sorkin’s Oscar-winning The Social Network screenplay — but even more effective… [Boyle’s] direction is flawless and really keeps this thing moving, avoiding the static pace it might have been in lesser hands. The result is well worth it, and those magical words provided lots of opportunity for great acting performances led by Michael Fassbender’s spot-on and relentless portrayal of the not-very-likable computer genius.”
Variety says: “The picture’s major visual coup is the decision to shoot the three acts on three different formats: grainy 16mm film for 1984, lustrous 35mm for 1988, and sleek, high-definition digital for 1998.”
The Hollywood Reporter says: “Racing in high gear from start to finish, Danny Boyle’s electric direction tempermentally complements Sorkin’s highly theatrical three-act study, which might one day be fascinating to experience in a staged setting.”
The movie may have been premiered, but Boyle apparently told Deadline that at the time he was still “tweaking little bits” in the film prior to release.
Steve Jobs also premiered at the
New York Film Festival in early October. And then closed the London Film Festival on 18 October.
The Independent writes: “Danny Boyle captures the Apple guru’s showmanship but the film runs out of steam”
Financial Times says: “Some commentators have called the film unkind. Don’t they know the reputation Jobs already has, at least with some? Manipulative, coldhearted, egotistical, ungenerous with praise, a financial miser.”
Rolling Stone writes: “In Steve Jobs, sure to rank with the year’s very best films, we see the circuits without ever diminishing the renegade whose vision is still changing our digital lives.”
Steve Jobs movie underperforms in opening weekend
The Steve Jobs movie isn’t proving to be particularly popular with the masses.
This may be because, despite the positive reviews from movie critics (who, lets face it, don’t know the true story of Apple and Steve Jobs), Apple fans are reading the reactions of those who have seen the movie and know just how inaccurate a representation it is (we can vouch for that). After all even screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director Danny Boyle have admitted to having taken creative license to represent Steve Jobs life within the constructs of the three scene forma, as you will see if you read on.
The movie grossed $7.3 million during its first weekend release throughout the whole of the US. Reports suggest that the movie backers would have preferred that number to be in the teens. The figure means that the Sorkin Steve Jobs movie grossed just $500,000 more than last years Jobs movie starting Aston Kutcher.
The movie was in eighth place over its opening weekend, and things have got steadily worse for it.
According to MacRumours the film has been pulled from more than 2,000 cinemas in the US after flopping at the Box Offic. In the second weekend the movie made 69 percent less profit than it did in the previous weekend.
MacRumours is suggesting the movie might be re-released again nearer the Oscars.
What Jony Ive thinks of the Steve Jobs movie
Apple’s head of design and close friend of Steve Jobs, Jony Ive, hasn’t seen the film yet, but he has been fold by friends that the portrayal of Jobs is inaccurate and described his “primal fear” over the upcoming movie. He states that the film depicts a person “I don’t recognize at all,”
reports the Wall Street Journal.
“How you are portrayed can be hijacked by people with agendas that are very different than your close family and your friends,” Ive said during the Vanity Fair technology conference.
Ive admitted that Jobs was a tough boss, but said: “It doesn’t mean you’re an a-hole. You could’ve had somebody who didn’t ever argue, but you wouldn’t have the phones you have.”
Ive described Jobs as having a “very, very simple focus on trying to make something really beautiful. There wasn’t this grand plan of winning or very complicated agenda. … The simplicity seems almost childlike in its purity. That stands in such contrast to how he’s been frequently and popularly portrayed.”
Ive added that Jobs: “Had his triumphs and his tragedies like us all,” but now he his having his “identity described, defined by a whole bunch of other people and I think that’s a bit of a struggle personally,”
writes The Verge.
With the film hitting cinemas in the USA on 9 October, days after the anniversary of Jobs’ death, it seems particularly cruel to those who miss the man. Ive said: “There are sons and daughters and widows and very close friends that are completely bemused and completely upset. We’re remembering and celebrating Steve Jobs’ life and at the same time there is this perfectly timed movie and I don’t recognize this person.”
What Tim Cook thinks of the new Steve Jobs film
Apple is not very impressed with the depiction of Jobs in the movie, either. Even the trailer suggests that the founder and late CEO of the company is being depicted at his most tyrannical, and there are questions of what this will do to the image of the company.
Some might describe the movie trailer as depicting Jobs in “full jerk mode,” but the depiction of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network didn’t really negatively affect Facebook, so perhaps this is unlikely to affect Apple, other than by boosting the company into further prominence in the minds of the general public.
Apple CEO Tim Cook isn’t happy about the upcoming biopic, stating that movies about Steve Jobs were ‘opportunistic’ and always portrayed him in a negative manner. “I haven’t seen them, but the Steve I knew was an amazing human being,” Cook told US talk show presenter Stephen Colbert on The Late Show.
“He’s someone that you wanted to do your best work for. He invented things that I think other people could not. He solved things other people could not. He had this uncanny ability to see around the corner and to describe to the future.”
“[Jobs] was a joy to work with and I love him and I miss him every day. I think a lot of people are trying to be opportunistic and I hate this. It’s not a great part of our world.”
Sorkin responded to these comments in a less than desirable manor, telling the Hollywood Reporter that he and other members of the team had to take paycuts in order to make the movie, and suggested that Cook should actually see the film before judging it. That’s not too bad, right? Well it’s what came next that shocked everyone:
“If you’ve got a factory full of children in China assembling phones for 17 cents an hour, you’ve got a lot of nerve calling someone else opportunistic” Sorkin said.
However, it seems that Sorkin realised that was a step too far. Speaking to El News days later, Sorkin said “You know what, I think that Tim Cook and I probably went a little too far,” and apologised to the Apple CEO, stating “I apologize to Tim Cook. I hope when he sees the movie, he enjoys it as much as I enjoy his products.”
What Steve Wozniak thinks of the new Steve Jobs film
Steve Wozniak confirmed to the BBC in an
exclusive interview that he was shocked and amazed at just how good the movie is. “I’ve actually seen two rough cuts. My impression was I was shocked and amazed at how good it was in the sense of professional filmmaking” Woz said. “In this case the filmmakers have done an award-winning job. The acting was just so realistic.”
However, Woz worked alongside Aaron Sorkin, the writer, on several occasions, giving Sorkin various pieces of information and stories about working with Jobs.
Wozniak admits that the movie doesn’t accurately describe events, but, perhaps because he was reportedly paid $200k as a consultant, Wozniak claims that he “felt like he was actually watching Steve Jobs,” when he saw a rough cut of the movie,
according to 9to5Mac.
Deadline spoke with Woz about the film and the Apple co-founder was enthusiastic, calling the film “authentic”. “I give full credit to Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin for getting it so right,” he said.
Woz said he saw a rough cut of the movie and “felt like I was actually watching Steve Jobs and the others” rather than the actors playing them. A pretty good reaction from someone who was actually there!
This is a turn around from when Steve Wozniak originally saw the trailer and stated that the scene in the trailer in which he is depicted by Seth Rogan, is “pure fantasy”.
In the scene, Wozniak is shown shouting at Jobs about the theft of his graphical interface. In an email to Bloomberg he said: “I don’t talk that way. I would never accuse the graphical interface of being stolen. I never made comments to the effect that I had credit (genius) taken from me.”
Woz did confirm that he felt that the trailer gave an accurate representation of Jobs, saying that he did find “a lot of the real Jobs in the trailer”, although he added that it was “a bit exaggerated.”
UPDATE 20 October:Having seen the movie now, Woz has
spoken to Bloomberg and admits: “Everything in the movie didn’t happen” in the way it’s portrayed. He adds: “Every scene that I’m in, I wasn’t talking to Steve Jobs at those events.” He also notes that the scenes where he clashes with Jobs never happened. What Woz does say though is that Seth Rogen’s character in the movie says all the “things I could never say.”
Despite admitting that the film isn’t an accurate representation of events, Wozniak described the movie as the best depiction of Apple yet, and admitted to Bloomberg that he has already seen it three times.
What Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs thinks of the Steve Jobs movie
Jobs’ widow is said to have repeatedly tried to block production of the movie,
according to the WSJ. That report states that she “repeatedly tried to kill the film, according to people familiar with the conversations. She lobbied, among others, Sony Pictures Entertainment, which developed the script but passed on the movie for financial reasons, and Universal Pictures.”
Powell Jobs is said to have felt the script portrayed Jobs as “cruel and inhumane” while playing down his achievements. According to producer Scott Rudin, Powell Jobs disliked the book and believed that if the movie was based on the book it could not be accurate.
Powell Jobs not only attemped to get the project killed, apparently she also begged Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio not to take on the role,
according to The Guardian.
Ex Apple CEO John Sculley’s take on the new Steve Jobs movie
John Sculley – who was bought in to Apple as CEO by Steve Jobs but is generally thought to be the executive who oversaw his downfall at the company – has also spoken about the Steve Jobs movie.
told the Wall Street Journal that the film examines “only one aspect of Jobs’ personality.”
He said: “The young Steve Jobs that I knew had a great sense of humor. He was on many occasions, when we were together, very warm. He cared a lot about the people he worked with and he was a good person. So, I think those aren’t the aspects that are focused on in this movie.”
Sculley also points out that a lot of creative license has been taken with the movie, telling the WSJ that the movie incorrectly depicts two subsequent encounters between Jobs and Sculley after Jobs left Apple, where there was in fact only one.
However, Sculley thinks that Jeff Daniels, the actor who portrays him in the film, “accurately summarized a lot of the things I felt then, and now.”
What Andy Hertzfeld thinks of the Steve Jobs movie
Andy Hertzfeld, one of the designers of the original Macintosh, and one of the key characters in the movie, told Re/code that the movie “deviates from reality everywhere” but admits that the movie “exposes deeper truths” about Steve Jobs.
He describes events in the film as being nothing like the reality: “Almost nothing in it is like it really happened.”
For example, the speech demo at the launch of the original Mac, a focus of the first scene of the film. “[Sorkin] asked me how Steve would react to a specific situation, involving the speech demo failing. I pointed out that it didn’t happen in reality, and we had a lengthy discussion about artistic license, about how okay it is to diverge from reality,” he
He does suggest that the aim of the film is to “expose the deeper truths behind Steve’s unusual personality and behavior, and it often but not always succeeds at that.”
According to the Re/code report, Hertzfeld met with Sorkin to talk about working with Jobs, but he wasn’t paid for his contribution. He admits that when he met with Sorkin he was given no indication that the intention was to make him a key character in the film.
Regarding Michael Stuhlbarg, the actor who played him in the movie Hertzfeld said: “I think Michael’s performance was excellent, but I am probably the worst person in the world to judge it, since I hardly get to observe myself — it feels strange to me, kind of like the first time I heard my voice played back on a tape recorder. I couldn’t help but cringe at times, especially when they apparently put him in a fat suit for the third act.”
When Hertzfeld spoke to Re/code he hadn’t seen the final film, but what he saw he said: “Deviates from reality everywhere”.
What Walt Mossberg thinks of the Steve Jobs movie
column for The Verge, Walt Mossberg, one of Jobs’ favoured journalists, who had interviewed the late Apple CEO on many occasion writes: “In 2015, the brilliant writer Aaron Sorkin made a movie loosely based on a famous, powerful, contemporary American business figure — the technology innovator Steve Jobs — that showed him in a bad light. He, too, took artistic liberties with the character, and with events. But, his entertaining work of fiction isn’t labeled for what it is.”
“For the multitudes of people who didn’t know the real Steve Jobs, Mr. Sorkin’s film, which opens nationally Friday, will seem like a factual, holistic portrait of a great man,” he adds.
However, “Unlike Mr. Sorkin, I did know the real Steve Jobs, for about 14 years… And the Steve Jobs portrayed in Sorkin’s film isn’t the man I knew.”
“Sorkin chose to cherry-pick and exaggerate some of the worst aspects of Jobs’ character, and to focus on a period of his career when he was young and immature,” writes Mossberg.
“It would be as if you made a movie called JFK almost entirely focused on Kennedy’s womanizing and political rivalries, and said nothing about civil rights and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” he continues.
Other criticisms: “The movie mangles too many facts”. For example: “Joanna Hoffman, was long gone from Apple by the time Mr. Jobs returned to launch the iMac.”
“[Sorkin} treats Jobs worse than his purely fictional characters. Sorkin’s West Wing president Jed Bartlet hides a serious disease during an election, approves a cold-blooded assassination, and fails to achieve his goals far more often than Jobs did. But he’s also allowed to show a noble, kind, principled, even funny side. Sorkin denies that chance to Jobs, though I can attest that the Apple boss, too, had such qualities, without which he could never have retained talent and succeeded in changing the world as he did.
Bill Campbell is a former Apple board member and a friend of the late Steve Jobs. He said that the movie depicted Jobs in “a negative way” and wasn’t fair because “he’s not there to defend himself,” according to a 9to5Mac
Chrisann Brennan on the Steve Jobs movie
Chrisann Brennan has penned a
piece for the Daily Mail describing Steve Jobs as “rotten to the core”. She also says that he was a “threatening monster”.
She describes one time when she visited Jobs at his marital home and he “blurted out the meanest, terrible comments at me, about why I was such a total failure of a human being. I gasped, but Steve’s wife, Laurene, yelled at him to stop.”
She accuses him of having “Tourette’s-like behavior” and suggests that he was trying to keep it hidden.
Regarding her pregnancy, Brennan writes: “More than anything, I wanted Steve to just talk to me so we could make a decision together. Instead, he blamed me as if it were mine alone. At one point, well into the pregnancy, he told me he felt like I was stealing his genes. Apple was taking off and he had begun to think of himself as a high-end commodity.”
Brennan goes on to suggest that his rejection of her during her pregnancy, and of his daughter Lisa may have been due to his being adopted.
Regarding Lisa’s name: “We went into a field to decide on a name. We agreed on Lisa. Why Steve wanted to use our newborn’s name for his new company’s new computer, the Apple Lisa, while denying paternity, dishonouring and abandoning both of us, was a question I couldn’t answer.”
Brennan describes the moment that Jobs admitted to Lisa that he was her father: “In 1980, after Steve started sending a monthly automatic transfer to my account, he came over to my house out of the blue to speak to Lisa, who was not yet three. He sat on the floor with us and then proudly announced to Lisa: ‘I am your father.’ It was like some kind of Darth Vader moment.”
Brennan concludes that Jobs didn’t’ have the “basics of emotional intelligence, much less a real conscience. He was somehow just blank and theoretical.”
“For all the sparkling, spacious beauty of the Apple Stores, Steve was a haunted house whose brokenness was managed and orchestrated by Apple’s PR team in an extremely masterful way,” she concluded.
What Aaron Sorkin says about the Steve Jobs movie
In an interview with Wired, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has revealed why he chose to write a screen play that told the story of Steve Jobs in three acts prior to product launches rather than write a standard biopic: “It was particularly daunting for me as I didn’t know that much about Steve Jobs, and the idea of doing a biopic was daunting,” he said.
“When you’re doing a biopic, it’s very hard to shake the cradle-to-grave structure that audiences are so familiar with,” he explained.
“I didn’t want to do a biopic. I didn’t want to do the cradle-to-grave story where we land on the greatest hits along the way,” he said.
“Also, I’m not really a screenwriter; I’m a playwright who pretends to be a screenwriter,” he added.
Sorkin has stated that the movie is not intended to be a documentary and admits that it is within the bounds of artistic license. But he claims the film was made with “the utmost integrity.”
He described the film as “a painting, not a photograph.”
Regarding his use of Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs, Sorkin revealed that it was “invaluable”. He also stated that the time he spent with the actual people was also invaluable, picking out Jobs’ daughter and John Sculley for their particularly useful input.
Regarding why he focused on Jobs’ relationship with his daughter for the film, Sorkin explained that “what started out as this huge obstacle [why Jobs would initially reject his daughter] became a great engine for writing the movie, because Steve would find his way to being a father.”
Sorkin admits: “There are going to be people who say we were rough on him, and there are going to be people who say we weren’t rough enough on him. But I think we made a good movie, and I think that if you asked 10 writers to write 10 movies about Steve Jobs, you’d get 10 different movies that wouldn’t resemble one another.”
Speaking at a panel discussion about Steve Jobs after a screening of the film in Manhattan
attended by Macworld US, Sorkin explains his portrayal of Jobs: “I like to write the character as if they’re making their case to God as to why they should be allowed into heaven. I think that for whatever reason, deep down Steve felt that he was irreparably damaged in some way and was not worthy of being liked or loved.”
He describes Jobs as being able to wrangle other talented people to make devices and machines that were not only successful commercially, but that we have an emotional relationship with, but he says that this strategy couldn’t work with his own daughter. “From a father, you’re looking for something else. That was what the movie was about.”
Sorkin goes on to emphasis that Jobs’ widow, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Bill Campbell, all of whom have criticized the movie, “Haven’t seen the movie.”
Sorkin also speaks about his relationship with Wozniak while researching the movie, and his belief that Woz is angry about how things worked out between him and Jobs: “He’s a terribly nice guy, who in his early meetings with me, tried very hard to be the guy we would all want to be, to have no ego about this at all, “No, I don’t mind being Garfunkel, no, I don’t mind that maybe Steve got credit for things that maybe he shouldn’t have gotten credit for.” Then in the 31st minute of the conversation, you start to see that it does start to hurt him a little bit, and maybe some of it he’s angry about. I wanted to write to that in some way.”
Update 20 October: In a screening of the movie in San Francisco, Sorkin was asked what Jobs might think about the film if he were alive today, Sorkin said, “If this movie were about someone else, he’d like it.”
Sorkin also admitted that Fassbender doesn’t look like Jobs, and that they did nothing to make him look like Jobs.
At the San Francisco screening, Sorkin joked also about the improbability of all these significant events in Jobs’ life happening moments before announcing a new product.
At a screening in London on 18 October, Sorkin emphasised that the film is not “a dramatic re-creation of [Jobs’] Wikipedia page”. He said: “Steve Jobs did not as far as I know have confrontations with the same six people 40 minutes before every product launch. That is plainly a writer’s conceit. But I do think that the movie gets at some larger truths, some more important truths than what really went on during the 40 minutes before product launches, which I don’t think was the stuff of drama. What you see is a dramatisation of several personal conflicts that he had in his life, and they illustrate something, they give you a picture of something. Are they fair? I do believe they’re fair. My conscience is clear,” Sorkin said,
according to Cnet.
Regarding Jobs’ wife’s desire to stop the movie from being made, Sorkin said: “While Mrs. Jobs, Laurene Powell, did from the get-go object to the movie being made, [Jobs’ daughter] Lisa Jobs did not, and she’s the one portrayed in the movie.”
What Danny Boyle says about the Steve Jobs movie
Boyle doesn’t appear to be hiding the fact that much of the movie is pure fiction. He says: “The truth is not necessarily in the facts, it’s in the feel.”
Speaking at a panel discussion about Steve Jobs after a screening of the film in Manhattan, Boyle describes Jobs [as portrayed in the movie]: “Everybody knows how [Jobs] did behave, that he was a difficult guy, especially to some people. For reasons you see in the film, he explains why he’s like that: that he wants A players, and B players discourage the A players. He was brutal in explaining it, and also brutal on himself.”
In another interview, Boyle states of Jobs: “Even though he did make the most beautiful things in the world, he himself was poorly made”
spoke to the Daily Beast about using Fassbender to play Jobs, he said: “What I saw in Michael was, aside from him being a great actor, this obsessive dedication to his craft, which I felt made him perfect for Jobs. Even though he doesn’t look exactly like him, by the end of the film, you believe it’s him.”
What Michael Fassbender thinks of the Steve Jobs movie
Speaking at one of the premieres of the movie, Fassbender said: “You have a responsibility to tell stories, that’s your job and you have to approach it with the utmost respect, which I did. I have the utmost respect for Steve Jobs and his family. Hopefully when they see it – if they see it – they won’t feel hurt by it because that certainly wasn’t my intent.”
Why the Steve Jobs movie is nothing like the book
Sony paid somewhere between $1 million and $3 million to gain the rights to Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs with a view to making the movie (eventually made by Universal) and yet, the movie is only loosely based on that biography. As Fortune
puts it, there is a difference between the facts as Isaacson reported them and fiction as Sorkin imagined it.
There is one major difference between the biography of Steve Jobs that inspired the movie, and the final movie – Aaron Sorkin’s access to Steve Jobs’ daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, according to Business Insider. Walter Isaacson was unable to speak to Jobs daughter while conducting his research for the biography.
It is Jobs’ relationship with his daughter, whom he initially denied, that is the major theme running through the movie.
Sorkin told Business Insider prior to the premiere of the Steve Jobs film at the New York Film Festival that: “Lisa didn’t speak to Walter Isaacson when Walter was writing the book because her father was alive at the time. But she was willing to speak to me. She was able to tell stories about her father that weren’t necessarily flattering stories, but she would tell the story and then show me how you could see he really did love her.” This, despite the fact that Jobs denied he was Lisa’s father even when a DNA test proved he was, and only gave Lisa’s mother $500 a month when he was worth $225 million, writes Business Insider.
Sorkin ponders the fact that Jobs named the Lisa computer after the daughter that he denied at the time and admits that it’s the one question he would have loved to have been able to ask the Apple co-founder.
The Steve Jobs movie background
The tech world is buzzing about the new Steve Jobs movie for some time. Sony Pictures initially had the rights to the film, and had a great director on board. But then Sony pulled out and Universal took over… And that’s not the only hiccup experienced in the production: a number of big-name actors were also said to be considering roles, but then pulled out.
But everything finally settled down, with a leading man selected and a couple of trailers for the movie released. The film premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado at the end of September, so some reviews appeared as early as that. Then the film was also shown at the New York film festival at the beginning of October.
Filming Steve Jobs the movie
As for the actors themselves, Kate Winslet complained about the “ridiculous” 12-hour shifts she and her co-star Michael Fassbender had to put in while filming the movie. “We’d start at midnight and film until midday,” she revealed.
Winslet also described the the Steve Jobs movie as having elements of Hamlet about it, not because of any feigned madness, but because of the long monologues.
Describing the pages of dialogue that Fassbender has to deliver she said: “It is unusual for an actor like Michael Fassbender to learn 182 pages of dialogue of which he’s on every page. It’s like Hamlet, times two.”
Winslet also discussed how the film was shot, saying: “The way in which that film was shot was extraordinary…” said Winslet.
“Each act is continuous 45 minutes backstage of real time at each launch that Steve Jobs made during those time periods — ‘84 was the launch of the Macintosh, ‘88 was the NeXT computer, ‘98 was the iMac. Each act takes place backstage and literally ends with him walking from the wings on to the stage to rapturous applause,” she continued. It’s clear the actress did her homework on key events in Apple’s history,” she added, writes Cult of Mac.
Michael Fassbender’s performance is already being suggested for the Best Actor category.
Watch the Steve Jobs Movie Trailers
The film will be out (at least in the US) very soon, but you don’t have to wait to get a preview of it now. You can watch a couple of trailers now.
Back in May we saw a glimpse of Michael Fassbender portraying Jobs at a product launch (you can see that later on in this article), but now we have a longer trailer for the film – a full three minutes!
We think that Fassbender is doing a good job at capturing Jobs’ persona, and if you watch the trailer you will likely agree, although we have to admit to finding that Fassbender doesn’t look enough like Jobs for us, but maybe we’ll grow to accept him in that role, although as Ken Segall says in this article, perhaps it’s a good thing that the film isn’t obsessed with recreating Steve Jobs-look, as the other Jobs film was (to comic effect).
Watch the trailers below and tell us what you think in the comments.
Following on from the first trailer, the second trailer was released in September 2015, only a month before its due to hit cinemas. The second trailer gives fans a better glimpse at what to expect from the biopic, establishing key events, as well as getting a better look at some of the main actors and actresses. Of course, all eyes are on Michael Fassbender who is tipped for an award after a rough cut of the upcoming movie was shown to the public last weekend. You can see the second trailer below:
Here are 21 things you need to know about the new Steve Jobs movie:
1. Danny ‘Trainspotting’ Boyle is the director of the new Steve Jobs movie
We really couldn’t ask for a better director. Danny Boyle has a great portfolio of work: Slumdog Millionaire, Shallow Grave, 28 Days Later and Trainspotting. Not to mention he directed the spectacular 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremony.
2. The film’s writer, Aaron Sorkin, created The Social Network, A Few Good Men and The West Wing
Aaron Sorkin wrote The Social Network, a tech-world movie which was everything that 2013’s Jobs biopic wasn’t. Sorkin wrote a tight story about the founding of Facebook and the tension Mark Zuckerberg’s success caused amongst his friends at university. The Social Network is a haunting, chilling and tense movie about friendship, power and success.
Sorkin’s body of work is incredibly impressive. It includes the highly successful Tom Cruise movie A Few Good Men and The West Wing, one of the most acclaimed TV series of the past 20 years.
He has also made The Newsroom, which we think is a bit self-important but has some reliably good lines in it, and the (in our opinion) criminally underrated Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. Give that a look if you can.
3. The new Steve Jobs movie is based on Walter Isaacson’s Jobs biography…
Walter Isaacson, whose authorised Jobs biography is a great read that packs in the whole story of Jobs’ life and is essentially the definitive volume on the subject, is credited as a co-writer of the new Jobs movie. Although how much writing he is doing on the film itself is unclear – it may simply reflect the debt that the script owes to his book.
We hope Isaacson plays a significant part in the production. Aaron Sorkin is a highly creative and imaginative writer (there were more than a few complaints from the parties involved that The Social Network plays fast and loose with the facts of Facebook’s early history) but the involvement of Jobs’ biographer would help ensure a movie that is gripping but also stays true to the source.
4. …but it also includes insight from Jobs’ daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs
The Jobs movie was to be directly adapted from the Isaacson biography, but it appears that screenplay writer Aaron Sorkin has been looking elsewhere for inspiration: Steve Jobs’ daughter Lisa is to play a big part in the Steve Jobs movie.
Lisa Brennan-Jobs was estranged from her father for part of her childhood as he refused to acknowledge that she was his, although she later went on to live with his family. She didn’t participate in the writing of the Steve Jobs biography because her father was alive at the time and she didn’t wish to cause a rift in her family, but she has been working with Sorkin on the screenplay for this film.
Sorkin describes her as “the heroine of the movie”. He explained in an
interview with The Independent that what drew him to the Jobs story was “the relationships he had – particularly with his daughter, Lisa”.
5. Michael Fassbender is to play Steve Jobs…
Perhaps best known for his role of Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto from X-Men (the more recent movies with the younger Magneto), although he has an impressive CV across a variety of roles, Fassbender looks like a good choice to play the charasmatic Jobs.
Fassbender’s work includes 12 Years A Slave (for which he was nominated for an Oscar), Inglorious Basterds, Prometheus and Shame. Fassbender also starred as Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method so he clearly has practice playing intensely intelligent characters.
The first look at Fassbender as Steve Jobs
6. … even though Aaron Sorkin didn’t want Michael Fassbender
When Sony was hacked at the end of 2014, emails were leaked that claim Sorkin was rooting for Tom Cruise, lead role in recent films including Edge of Tomorrow and Jack Reacher, to get the role of Jobs.
When Michael Fassbender’s name was brought up, Sorkin apparently labeled the decision as “insane”, following up by saying, “I don’t know who Michaeal Fassbender is and the rest of the world isn’t going to care.” Ouch. Of course he eventually warmed up to Fassbender, admitting that he is a “great actor”.
When talking to the Associated Press, Fassbender remarked that he had tried not to take the dig too personally because “People have opinions. The internet is the internet. I have a job to do, so I just get on with that.”
7. Christian Bale pulled out of playing Steve Jobs in the new movie…
At least two big-name actors – that we know about – pulled out of playing the role of Steve Jobs. Some speculated that the intimidating script may have been something to do with it (we heard that it’s a 181-page script, with about 100 pages just for the Jobs character), although we’d have thought that would be a challenge that most actors would relish.
Whatever the reason, Christian Bale pulled out of the role of Steve Jobs. Bale, most famous for playing Bruce Wayne/Batman (er, spoiler alert, possibly?) in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films struck everybody as a good choice for playing the charismatic entrepreneur. (Bale also played Patrick Bateman in American Psycho; no comment on whether that would be an advantage or disadvantage…)
But Bale got cold feet about the project, citing “conflicting feelings”. Apparently he thought he was not right for the role.
8. … and so did Leonardo DiCaprio
The Wolf of Wall Street star is another big name that was linked with the title role, having previously worked with Danny Boyle on The Beach. It’s thought he quit the movie because of a scheduling conflict.
9. Seth Rogen is Woz
Seth Rogen is set to play Steve “Woz” Wozniak. Rogen is an interesting choice as he is a comedian, with roles in films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Superbad and Knocked Up – not to mention the recent dictator-annoying North Korea flick The Interview.
10. Kate Winslet set to play Joanna Hoffman
Kate Winslet is to play Joanna Hoffman, one of the original members of the Macintosh and NeXT teams.
11. Natalie Portman was ‘in talks’ to play a lead role… but apparently also dropped out
Natalie Portman was said to be “in talks to join Universal’s Steve Jobs biopic”,
according to Deadline. It was thought that she would take a major role, perhaps that of Steve Jobs daughter, Lisa Brennan Jobs (see above), or Lisa’s mother Chrisann Brennan (but see the next entry).
However, Portman got cold feet and turned down the role – what is it with this movie?
12. Katherine Waterston cast as Chrisann Brennan
Katherine Waterston is to play Chrisann Brennan, the mother of Lisa.
13. Jeff Daniels to play Sculley
Jeff Daniels, who worked with Sorkin on The Newsroom, has taken the role of former Apple CEO John Sculley.
14. Michael Stuhlbarg takes on role of Andy Hertzfeld
Boardwalk Empire‘s Michael Stuhlbarg is said to be set to play the father of the Macintosh, Andy Hertzfeld.
15. The film was going to be made by Sony, but Universal took over the reins
Sony was originally going to make the film, but pulled out. Instead, Universal is running the project.
We understand that Sony didn’t drop out because of the way the iPod flattened the Walkman. Instead, it was other commitments.
Sony bought the rights to Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs after Apple’s co-founder died in 2011.
16. The script is divided into three parts…
The script is believed to be divided into three acts, following Jobs’ preparation for three Apple product launches spanning 16 years.
17. …but is top secret
Speaking of the script, it’s been reported that those auditioning for parts didn’t even get to see the script. It’s so secret that they had to read scenes from Sorkin’s Newsroom series instead.
(We feel safe predicting that the secret script will be peppered with Sorkin’s trademark fast-paced dialogue, though.)
18. The movie is based around the Macintosh, Next Computer and iPod, but not the iPhone
These are rumoured to be the original Macintosh, Next Computer and iPod. Many Apple fans may wonder why more recent products, such as the iPhone and iPad aren’t included. These three products define an important arc of Jobs’ relationship with Apple (the computer that defined his original success, the time when he was ousted from Apple, and the device that marked Apple’s rise in fortune).
19. Shooting for Steve Jobs was set for winter 2014, but was delayed until spring 2015
The film was due to start shooting this winter but with the changes at the helm, and the fact that Fassbender’s involvement was only confirmed at the end of November, it was delayed until Spring.
20. Watch the first teaser trailer for the Steve Jobs movie
The first teaser for the biopic finally arrived after much speculation that the film wouldn’t get a 2015 release. While it doesn’t reveal too much about the storyline, it gives us a glimpse of Fassbender in character as Steve Jobs preparing to give one of his trademark keynotes.
As well as seeing Fassbender as Jobs, we saw Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman and Jeff Daniels posing as the former Apple CEO John Sculley in character for the first time since taking the roles.
You can see the teaser below:
21. What is different about how the Steve Jobs movie is filmed?
The movie is filmed in three different formats 16mm, 35mm, and digital, to represent the different times in which the scenes take place.
22. How much money did the Steve Jobs movie make at the box office?
In the first few weeks since opening just 60 cinemas in the US, the Steve Jobs film has made $2.26m. The movie will go on full release in the US on Friday 23 October.
23. When is the new Steve Jobs coming out?
The film is to be released in 80 cinemas in the US on 9 October, then countrywide on 23 October. In the UK the film will open on 13 November.