From the products he brought to the market to his famously abrasive management style, Steve Jobs was a singular figure in American life — heck, in global life. So it follows that any feature film about him should also stand out from the crowd.
That’s certainly the belief of A-list screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who was tapped earlier this year by Sony Pictures to adapt Walter Isaacson’s eponymous biography of the Apple Computer cofounder. During a Q&A session at The Daily Beast’s Hero Summit, Sorkin revealed on Thursday his unusual plan for bringing Jobs’ story to the big screen. Rather than take an audience through Jobs’ life with a standard series of well constructed scenes, Sorkin’s script will feature just three scenes, each roughly 30 minutes long, that unfold in real time.
“I hope I don’t get killed by the studio for giving too much away,” Sorkin said. “Each of these three scenes is going to take place backstage before a product launch.” The first product will be the Macintosh in 1984; the second, the NeXT computer in 1990, which Jobs masterminded after he’d been essentially fired from Apple; and the third the iPod in 2001, five years after Jobs returned to Apple when the company purchased NeXT.
Sorkin said he’s been speaking with many of Jobs’ colleagues and contemporaries, including his fellow Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. “These people revere [Jobs], in spite of the fact that he made all of them cry at one point or another, but he made all of them better at what they were doing.” When moderator Tina Brown asked if Sorkin had known Jobs, Sorkin relayed that their only interactions were over the phone. “The last time I spoke to him, he asked me to write a Pixar movie,” said Sorkin. “I told him that I loved Pixar….But that I didn’t that I would be able to make an inanimate object talk. He said, ‘Once you make them talk, they won’t be inanimate anymore.’”
If anyone is keen on what may turn out to be a more traditional take on Jobs’ life, don’t worry — jOBS, starring Ashton Kutcher as the mercurial tech genius, concluded filming earlier this year from director Joshua Michael Stern (Swing Vote) and first-time screenwriter Matt Whiteley. It’s due for release in 2013.