The Steve Jobs Movie Will Be Better This Time
If the talks about an upcoming Steve Jobs biopic from screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director Danny Boyle have you scratching your head and thinking, “Wasn’t there just a Steve Jobs movie?” — you’re right. But the biopic this time around promises to be a vast improvement over last year’s critical and box office failure that starred Ashton Kutcher.
Ashton Kutcher played the Apple founder in Jobs more due to his physical similarity to Steve Jobs than his actual acting ability. The movie received a pitiful 27 percent rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, with critics saying that the movie missed the mark completely on its overly ambitious goals and felt like a made-for-TV movie rather than a serious endeavor to portray the life of a complicated and important figure.
Hollywood is going to get it right the second time around by working with some of the best in the business. Sorkin is known for writing on the television series The Newsroom and The West Wing, which feature his signature rapid-fire dialogue. He also helped write the screenplays for Moneyball, Charlie Wilson’s War, and The Social Network, for which he won an Oscar. Sorkin knows how to take real-life stories and adapt them to the screen with great success. With The Social Network, he was able to keep the tech-y nature of the subject material both accurate and entertaining.
The writer will be working to adapt Walter Isaacson’s acclaimed biography of Jobs, which was written with unprecedented cooperation from the Apple founder before his death, though Jobs didn’t seek to have any control over the final product. Thus Steve Jobs is considered to be the definitive book on his life and was a New York Times bestseller.
Director Danny Boyle is also a big name to get involved with the project. Boyle is known for many films that have balanced both popular and critical success, including the zombie movie 28 Days Later, the cult classic Trainspotting, and the adventure-gone-wrong 127 Hours. He won an Oscar in 2009 for his rags-to-riches tale set in India, Slumdog Millionaire.
The planned cast is also looking much more impressive than Jobs, with some acclaimed actors rumored to be onboard with skills that include more than just looking like their real-life counterparts. It was originally reported that Christian Bale was set to star as Jobs, but now reports are saying that Bale won’t be able to take on the role and Michael Fassbender is instead being pursued. The Hollywood Reporter’s sources say that Fassbender is in early talks with Boyle and Sorkin. The publication says that Bale has determined he isn’t the right fit for the role and withdrew from the project. The publication also said that Seth Rogen is in talks to play Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak. The Wrap has reported that Oscar-winner Jessica Chastain is being sought for an unknown role in the movie as well.
Sorkin has recently revealed some details about the plot of the film in a talk with Bloomberg TV that show how different his film will be from the other Jobs movie. Sorkin plans to tell the story of Jobs’ life through three pivotal presentations he made at Apple. The script will include lots of words and lots of side characters to flesh out the story.
Sorkin has already said in a previous interview with Bloomberg, given back when it was thought that Bale would be the star of the movie, that the leading man “has more words to say in this movie than most people have in three movies combined.” Maybe Fassbender could prepare with some lessons in Sorkin dialogue from Newsroom star Jeff Daniels.
“You have to know the dialogue and know what you’re going to do with it because it’s so intricate, so tricky and so fast that if you aren’t on top of that and ahead of it, your head will explode,” Daniels recently joked to The Hollywood Reporter as The Newsroom is getting close to wrapping its final season.
In the most recent Sorkin interview (via The Wrap), the screenwriter opened up about the seven main side characters in Jobs’ life that he’s including in the movie. “I’ve spent a lot of time with the other seven characters who are in the movie, like Joanna Hoffman, who’s a fantastic character. She was the head of marketing for the Mac team,” Sorkin said. “John Sculley was the CEO of Apple and became famous, or infamous depending on how you look at it, for firing Steve Jobs from Apple. He’s a wonderful man and a great character. In this movie, Jobs has conflicts with all of them that get dramatized and worked out in a very compressed, very claustrophobic environment.”
Getting a jump on the rumor mill, it wouldn’t be off the mark to guess Joanna Hoffman is the character that Chastain is being looked at to portray.
“I think that you can do 10 more movies about Steve Jobs,” Sorkin said when asked why make another Jobs movie so soon. “And I think if you lined up 10 writers and said ‘write a movie about Steve Jobs,’ you’d get 10 different movies, all of them worth going to see.”
Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS