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Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle on the controversy over 'Steve Jobs'

Caitlin McGarry | Oct. 8, 2015
The new film's writer and director also talk Tim Cook, Steve Wozniak, and why the world needs more movies about Apple.

Steve had this talent to wrangle other talented people to make these devices and machines that were not only successful commercially, but we have an emotional relationship with them. We love these things. That’s why it was important to him that rectangles have rounded corners and that money be spent on fonts and things like that. For Steve, mission accomplished in that regard. The only person that that wasn’t going to work on was his own daughter [Lisa Brennan-Jobs]. From a father, you’re looking for something else. That was what the movie was about.

steve jobs arms raised
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin didn't want his film about Steve Jobs, played by Michael Fassbender, to be a typical biopic. Credit: Universal Studios

Not your average biopic

Sorkin: 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. I didn’t think I’d be able to do that well. It’s a structure that’s familiar to audiences. All of you come into the theater assuming the first scene will be between a boy and his father and they’re looking in the window of an electronics store. Then Steve’s gonna meet Woz. Even if you didn’t know the story, and you do know that story, but if you didn’t, you know the structure of it.

On the controversy surrounding the film

Sorkin: Mrs. Jobs, Tim Cook, Bill Campbell—they have not seen the movie and have not read the screenplay. I don’t begrudge Laurene Jobs any of what she’s feeling right now, especially on the anniversary of her husband’s death. From what I’ve read that they’re assuming of what’s in the movie, that it’s a hit job, I think if they do see the movie they’ll be pleasantly surprised. But I can’t emphasize this enough: They haven’t seen the movie.

Boyle: You respect the personal grief. This guy is one of the most important figures in our lives, and these people [tech executives], I’m afraid, they have to be written about. They have to be examined. There will be many, many more films made about them. The world is changing beyond recognition. Apple is pretty good on issues like data and privacy, but we have to examine these people in a big political way or in a personal way, like this film tries to do.

steve jobs seth and michael
Seth Rogen, left, plays Steve Wozniak, a figure always in the background of Steve Jobs, played by Michael Fassbender. Credit: Universal Studios

On Steve Wozniak, the “sweetest man”

Sorkin: Woz is a very nice guy who I’ve never understood a word that comes out of his mouth. I told the studio early on when I signed up for this that I don’t know anything about computers. It always takes me a couple minutes to find the power button on my computer. I’m going to need an adviser who can tutor me a little bit. They said, “We’ll get you Steve Wozniak.” I said, “That’s great, I can’t do anything better than that.” After five minutes, I had to say, “I need a sixth grade science teacher to do this.” He is the sweetest man in the world but I have never understood a word he’s said.

 

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