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Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs biopic, Jobs, seems to be one of those rare birds that, while having an A-list pedigree, manages to have the hardest time getting off the ground. You'd think that a film with Aaron Sorkin behind the writing desk and with David Fincher originally set to direct would have Hollywood abuzz, but for some reason it looks like this film is one that no one wants to touch. Not only did Fincher leave, but so did original lead Christian Bale. Well now it looks like another prominent A-lister is set to turn her back on this rapidly cooling project. Which is a shame, because Natalie Portman could have given it yet another Oscar fueled boost.
Variety has reported that the Academy Award winning actress has passed on taking the female lead in Jobs, which recently moved to Universal for production and has Danny Boyle helming and Michael Fassbender in the lead. Those in the now are denying it will have any effect on the film's status, but it definitely raises a couple of questions about Jobs getting off the ground. Most importantly, it begs the question of if the film can even get off the ground.
This shouldn't be a hard film to make, as Jobs sounds like a slam dunk of talent and prestige on paper. But the situation probably isn't helped by the the Ashton Kutcher biopic that beat Aaron Sorkin's project to the punch. While a Danny Boyle/Sorkin collaboration could lead to something really damned watchable, it's unclear if the general public even wants to see more Steve Jobs. The first film was far from perfect, but many considered it find enough to last them for at least a few years.
As for Natalie Portman's possible reasons for passing, it's a safe bet to assume that her experience with Jane Got A Gun has pusher her away from projects that have a hard time getting off the ground. Before her Oscar win for Black Swan, you could assume that Portman would have jumped on this project very easily, because it's definitely a potential nomination if it gets off the ground. However, that Oscar win seems to have set Natalie Portman off into another portion of her career, where she can pick and choose her roles with a certain degree of personal taste and selectivity. You can't really blame her for that either, as she's earned that right through a lot of fantastic and solid performances that have gotten her to this point.
So now the big question remains: can Jobs 2.0 get it cast in order and meet its self imposed deadline to start production? All signs point to a fair possibility of yes, considering how much traction the film has gained in the past couple of months. Here's hoping that the powers that be can get it together and deliver, because a Fassbender/Sorkin/Boyle triumvirate is just too good to pass up. It's a shame we can't add Natalie Portman's name to the end of that line up, ensuring a powerhouse of talent, but at least there's still time to get things situated.
Jobs does not have a release date set just yet, but is eyeing next Spring as its start of production.