Aaron Sorkin, screenwriter of Steve Jobs, told Wired that he had no idea how he was going to turn the huge biography into a movie, and when he finally did come up with an idea for it, he didn’t think the studio would agree.
I didn’t know that much about Steve Jobs, and the idea of doing a biopic was daunting. I work very slowly, and the first couple of months are spent just pacing around, climbing the walls […]
[Finally,] I got this idea, and I wrote an email to Scott saying, “If I had no one to answer to, I would write this entire movie in three real-time scenes, and each one would take place backstage before a particular product launch” […]
Really, I was emailing Scott to get help: Take this thing that I really want to do and tell me what I’m allowed to do, because no studio is going to let me do this. Two or three minutes later, I got an email from Amy Pascal—Scott had forwarded my email to her—and she said, “I think this is a great idea.” I couldn’t believe it. They were going to let me do this thing.
Sorkin said he’d been surprised at the ready agreement as audiences expect biopics to follow the standard cradle-to-grave structure, and what he wanted to do wasn’t that.
And so it turned into not a biopic. I’m not quite sure what to call it.
The movie is set backstage before three product launches: the original Macintosh, the NeXT Cube and the iMac.
The screenwriter said that he found it ironic that he had ended up as the go-to guy for movies about the tech industry as he was “technologically illiterate.”
Sorkin noted that he began to get an idea of Jobs’ genius through his conversations with people like Woz, Lee Clow and Andy Hertzfeld, but that the movie doesn’t put its subject on a pedestal.
I think there are people anticipating that the movie’s going to be just one big champagne toast to Steve Jobs. You saw it. It’s not.
He does, though, think it paints a fair picture.
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.
For the full interview, head over to Wired.
The movie, which got its debut screening earlier this month, has been praised by critics, with Steve Wozniak also giving it a thumbs-up – though Tim Cook was less keen. You’ll be able to judge for yourself when it goes on general release on October 9th. In the meantime, a two-minute trailer gives us a good idea what to expect.