Aaron Sorkin thinks a young Denzel would have made a great Steve Jobs too

24 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Jeff Daniels on ‘Steve Jobs’: ‘We Took Out the Boring Parts’ (Video Interview).

I am, indeed, a product of the attention-deficit generation whose mind was ruined by the “beautiful” ideas of Steve Jobs. Jeff Daniels has been winning strong reviews for his performance as former Apple CEO John Sculley in “Steve Jobs,” but some critics have taken parts of the film to task for leaving out aspects of Jobs’ life and career. “We took out the boring parts,” Daniels says. He told Danny Boyle as much when the director approached him to play the charismatic Apple co-founder in Steve Jobs. “The first thing I said to Danny when I met him was like, ‘Well you know, I don’t look anything like this guy,’” Fassbender recalled in an interview with EW at the recent New York Film Festival. “And Danny was like, ‘Well, that’s not what I’m interested in. The actor stopped by the Wall Street Journal to talk about “Steve Jobs” and what the real Sculley had to say to him before and after the movie came out. They’ve been etched on our public consciousness with an endless stream of books, movies, TV specials, magazine articles. jumps right into establishing these genius and asshole personalities right from the start: It’s 1984, and there’s Steve Jobs fretting about the fine points of the Macintosh unveiling event.

We knew that we were never going to try and resemble aesthetically what he looked like, other than putting in brown contact lenses.” Written by Aaron Sorkin and loosely based on Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography, Steve Jobs is more of an impressionistic portrait, one that takes some artistic license while trying to convey greater truths about its subject and the world he helped shape. “This is a dramatization; it’s not a biopic,” Fassbender said. “I just tried to represent a human being. Rather than follow the conventional blueprint of the Great Man biopic, the Oscar-winning screenwriter (The Social Network) eschewed huge portions of Jobs’ history and built a narrative that views his life through the prism of three monumental product launches, set in 1984, 1988, and 1998. At one point, David Fincher was poised to reunite with Sorkin and direct, but when he dropped out, Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) stepped up and embraced the concept. “For the most part, this structure works,” writes EW’s Chris Nashawaty, in his B review. “Each chapter symbolizes a critical crossroads in Jobs’ career.

I can’t sit through this again.” Then five minutes later, I was saddled in my seat barely blinking, my brain chewing every word of Aaron Sorkin’s delicious script. Michael Fassbender plays Jobs, Kate Winslet is his trusted assistant Joanna Hoffman, and Seth Rogen and Michael Stuhlbarg play Apple co-founders Steve Wozniak and Andy Hertzfeld. And Boyle, who’s always been one of our most playful visual stylists, shoots each section using different film stocks (16mm, 35mm, and digital) to subliminally reboot the audience’s expectations. Every section crackles with exquisite rat-a-tat dialogue (Sorkin has no peer in this regard, with the possible exception of Preston Sturges 70 years ago)…” Mastering that rat-a-tat is Michael Fassbender, who stepped into the giant role only after Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale backed away — reportedly under pressure from Jobs’ partisans — but he makes the producers look smart.

We start in 1984 with the launch of the McIntosh, which lost big money and ended up with the Apple board firing Jobs–then it’s on to 1988 with Jobs introducing a cube-computer called “Next”. Finally it’s 1988 and Jobs is about to introduce the iMac, which finally met and even exceeded expectations and opened to door for some of the biggest changes in technology that the world has ever seen. His audition for the role and the Sorkin trademark fast-talking dialogue was being on “The Newsroom” for three years. “Steve Jobs” the movie is not based on a play, but it easily could have been. It’s shot more like a stage production than a movie, and that’s a gutsy and risky move for director Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”, “127 Hours”).

As Daniels told me this week “It’s a dark portrait and character study of a creative genius who is one of those handful of people who changed the world–Henry Ford, Thomas Edison…people like that. Unburdened by the distraction of spot-on impersonation and conventional Great Man milestones, Fassbender and his fascinating, often off-putting character steer clear of the dreaded biopic shallows to explore murkier psychological depths.” “What Sorkin and Boyle have to offer is not a warts-and-all portrait but the suggestion that there is something heroic about a wart. As a result, despite the lunging modernity of the products on display, Steve Jobs comes across as strangely old-fashioned in this romantic insistence on its hero.” “Steve Jobs is a rich and potent document of the times, an expression of both the awe that attends sophisticated new consumer goods and the unease that trails in the wake of their arrival. … Mostly, though, it is a formally audacious, intellectually energized entertainment, a powerful challenge to the lazy conventions of Hollywood storytelling and a feast for connoisseurs of contemporary screen acting.” “Little of this happened in the exact way it does onscreen, but it’s generally accurate and performed at such a rollicking tempo that as you watch you hardly care.

Boyle doesn’t bring his own point of view — the way David Fincher chilled down and distanced Sorkin’s script for The Social Network — but you can’t fault his palette. He’s the deftest superficial director alive.” “It’s interesting to imagine what Fincher, with his eagle eye for vanity and other human follies, might have made of Sorkin’s genially misanthropic script. Most of all, you get the strong sense from Fassbender of a mind that is always several steps beyond everyone else’s, one that allows him to shift gears without taking a breath.” “Some of the best scenes take place between Jobs and Wozniak, who are more like McCartney and Lennon than they realize, with each possessing necessary qualities that the other lacks, and each both resenting and loving the other guy for it.

The movie argues that a big part of Jobs’ genius was his sense of showmanship, and that his enormous ego was both hindrance and boon: He simply refused to be wrong, even when he was.” Just before Jobs takes the stage to announce the iMac—the first Jobs product to really change things—he shares a tender moment of light mutual understanding with his then-19-year old daughter. When Alex Gibney’s critical documentary about Jobs was released last month, I noted that it’s important to acknowledge what a shitfuck Jobs was to everyone around him. It does try to explain it away a little bit with a portrayal that says that he was damaged by a sense of rejection from having been put up for adoption by his parents.

But a question I’ve been pondering with all of the Jobs media that’s been released in the years since his death is whether or not we absolve Jobs for his assholishness, just because he was a genius who had a huge positive impact on the world. For example, John Sculley and Jobs never spoke again after Jobs was fired from Apple following the Macintosh disaster, and yet, the ex-CEO appears at two keynotes in the film he didn’t actually attend.

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