Steve Jobs is not your typical biopic. In fact, it’s not a biopic at all, according to screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. The spitfire wordsmith behind The Newsroom, The West Wing, and The Social Network sat down with Cinema Blend to chat about his take on the late Apple co-founder, and his explanations really turned our heads.
The film, directed by Danny Boyle, hit the film festival circuit early on and recently screened at the New York Film Festival. Those who’ve seen it already know it’s not like that Ashton Kutcher-led pic. Steve Jobs is split into three acts, taking us behind the scenes of three product launches: the first Mac computer, the NeXT cube Jobs launched when he left Apple, and the iMac for when Jobs returned.
In speaking of this unique format, Sorkin said,
Before I knew what I wanted to do, I knew what I didn’t wanna do and that was write a biopic, which — a biopic has a structure that’s very familiar to audiences and it’s hard to shake that structure: the cradle-to-grave structure with the character’s greatest hits along the way, and then they go to a doctor and then they die. I wanted to do something else.
After speaking with a number of people in Jobs’ life, including his initial partner-in-crime Steve Wozniak, Sorkin honed in on these "very interesting points of friction," as he called it. Then you factor in his love for "claustrophobic spaces, compressed periods of time with a ticking clock," and the backstage of theaters, and the form became a natural development.
I came up with this very theatrical notion of playing out these conflicts during the moments before a product launch backstage, dividing it into — it’s really three scenes that are in real time… And it was, I think, a fairly radical departure from what you’d expect if you were going to see a movie called Steve Jobs, but we think it worked out well.
Watch the clip from our interview with Sorkin below.
Steve Jobs stars a dynamite cast that includes Michael Fassbender in the lead role, Kate Winslet as his close confidante and marketing expert Joanna Hoffman, Seth Rogen as Wozniak, Michael Stuhlbarg as Andy Herzfeld, Katherine Waterston as the mother of Jobs’ child Chrisann Brennan, and Perla Haney-Jarine as the eldest version of Jobs’ daughter Lisa. The film will hit theaters on October 9, then expend to more markets on Oct. 23.