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When biopics are made, they are often controversial. When you’re digging around in somebody’s history, you are bound to upset people. That’s apparently what happened in the case Danny Boyle's upcoming Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs' widow, Laurene Jobs, apparently did not want the movie made, and she went as far as calling actors and studios and asking them not to make it.
The Hollywood Reporter has a new feature on the trials and tribulations of the upcoming biography of Apple’s co-founder. The film has been in development for four years, first at Sony, and then Universal. Leonardo Dicaprio, and then Christian Bale were both attached to play the title role before Michael Fassbender finally took the lead. The film also went through two directors, as David Fincher was tapped first before Danny Boyle took over. Throughout that time, Jobs' widow was so dead set against the film being made that she allegedly called both Dicaprio and Bale directly and asked them not to make the film. She was apparently also in touch with both studios asking them to kill the project.
While she was never able to kill the film outright, it’s possible her work did have an effect. Back when Sony’s Amy Pascal was still trying to line up financing she reached out to Zero Dark Thirty producer Megan Ellison. While Ellison had worked with Pascal in the past she declined to do so in this case. Perhaps Laurene Jobs played a part in this decision, as Megan Ellison’s father is Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle who had been close with the Jobs family over the years.
It’s not entirely clear why the widow of the Apple founder was so dead set on the film not being made. She is a fairly private individual, that much is true, but any objection to the film due to her own privacy does not hold up. Laurene Jobs’ is not featured in the movie at all. Instead, when the film does focus on Jobs’ personal life it is on a daughter from another relationship that he did not acknowledge until several years after her birth. That relationship was obviously a difficult one and it’s possible that is the reason that Laurene Jobs tried to stop the movie from being made. It likely won’t paint Jobs in the best light. According to screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, and early reviews, it’s a fairly big part of the movie.
A great deal of the behind-the-scenes knowledge about Steve Jobs was released last year as Sony’s difficulties in getting the film produced were a big part of the Sony email hack. We’ll finally all get to see if all the problems, all the work, and all the waiting are worth it when Steve Jobs premieres on Friday.