Aaron Sorkin, the screenwriter for the film adaptation of Walter Isaacson's official Steve Jobs biography, was another high-profile guest being interviewed at the D10 conference this week.
Sorkin spoke in fairly general terms about the project, since it was still very early stage, but Sorkin was certainly worried how taking on such a project could just be a "minefield of disappointment" if he didn't get things just right and hoped that watchers would understand that these kinds of non-fiction movies were framed as a "painting and not a photograph". Sorkin admits that Jobs was a big enough deal to merit the second movie starring Ashton Kutcher, and though he admits that he still hasn't found a lead actor for his own film, he'll have to be smart "because you can't fake intelligence." What was particularly interesting was Sorkin's take on where Jobs fit in the hero/antihero spectrum:
He's an extremely complicated guy, that I know that for sure. Mark Zuckerberg is an extremely complicated guy as well. With as little as I know about Steve Jobs movie, I know this for sure: I can't judge the character. He has to for me be a hero. I have to find the parts of him that are like me, I have to be able to defend this character. With a character like Steve Jobs, or the character like David Sarnoff in the Farnsworth Invention... To put it as simply as possible, you want to write the character as if they are making their case to God why they should be allowed into heaven.
Hearing that doesn't exactly fill me with confidence, to be honest. The official Steve Jobs biography was explicitly written to show both the flaws and the qualities of Apple's co-founder, not to be an embellishment. Of course, Sorkin's a seasoned author, with West Wing, A Few Good Men, The Social Network and much more to his credit, and I'm sure will include all of the interesting gritty parts of Jobs' life, but I think the last thing we want to see is a movie that amounts to little more than a beatification. That said, it will be interesting to see how Sorkin's movie stacks up against Jobs: Get Inspired, even if it comes out much later.
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