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Four years ago, The Social Network captured the zeitgeist of young America, portraying Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s rise to fame as a demonic young opportunist who would sell out his friends for the right price. The union between director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin was a novel one: Sorkin believed that progress would make slaves of humanity and natural kindness, taking to an extreme the idea of American Exceptionalism being a form of Social Darwinism. And Fincher, the black-hearted auteur, knew how to get at the primordial ooze seeping out of every pore of the over-privileged and under-loved, turning a success story into a diseased tragedy of technology over man.
So hey! Are you ready to be uplifted again?? THR reports that the duo are reuniting once again, with Fincher in early talks to direct Sorkin’s script about the late innovator Steve Jobs. Sorkin was working from a biography by Walter Isaacson, which painted Jobs are the ruthless maverick at the head of Apple who nonetheless struggled to form inter-personal relationships and benefitted from the slave labor in Third World countries. Sorkin and Fincher likely wouldn’t bite if the project stayed away from those darker elements.
The untitled project, which is being produced by The Social Network producer Scott Rudin (who is also overseeing the tech-based Console Wars), has kept a fair distance from the other biopic about Steve Jobs, the obnoxiously-titled jOBS. That film, from director Joshua Michael Stern and writer Matt Whitley, crashed and burned at the box office earlier last year after a muted festival reception, with only $35 million in box office receipts. The picture only carried a $12 million budget, so we’d be talking a huge hit if Open Road didn’t make a strong advertising push. Regardless, now that it’s basically disappeared from our collective memory, Sorkin and Fincher are free to keep this film from essentially being their White House Down to jOBS’ Olympus Has Fallen.
Fincher remains heavily in-demand in the industry, though this will be a test of the usually-flashy auteur: Sorkin previously revealed that the screenplay would have only three scenes, each taking place behind the scenes at one of Jobs’ product launches. That’s ambitious, for certain, though knowing Sorkin’s gift of gab and Fincher’s sharp experience (this would be his next film following Gone Girl), it would easily land on the radar of most anticipated projects of 2015, particularly considering Isaacson’s book plumbs the depths of Jobs as a person, suggesting this would essentially be something of a spiritual sequel to The Social Network: what happens when the difficult genius needs to pretend to be everyone’s friend in order to push product? THR claims an A-Lister is sought for the role: if Fincher commits, expect that name soon.