Following the untimely death of Apple founder Steve Jobs, Hollywood scrambled to move in-development docudramas based on the charismatic tech genius through the production pipeline onto the big screen. The first film out the gate, Jobs (often mistitled jOBS), starring Ashton Kutcher did not make a significant splash, critically or commercially; though, the movie and star actor were ultimately better than many expected (read our Jobs review). The film managed to provide insight into Apple’s keynoter extraordinaire in the months following his passing but, meanwhile, critically-acclaimed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin was working on his own Steve Jobs-centric script.
Hot on the heels of his Facebook movie, The Social Network, Sorkin’s film was uniquely positioned to be the definitive take on Apple’s CEO – whereas Jobs was viewed as a cookie-cutter biopic. Now, following a series of production setbacks, we’re getting our first look at the Sorkin scripted Steve Jobs – directed by Danny Boyle (127 Hours) and starring Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Apocalypse).
The teaser trailer lives up to its name, running only 1-minute four seconds and is predominantly comprised of voice over narration set against Jobs preparing for a product launch keynote.
In addition to the voice-over, the trailer also gives viewers a glimpse at other members of the cast, which includes:
- Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, Apple cofounder
- Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman, former Mac marketing chief
- Jeff Daniels as John Sculley, Apple’s former CEO
- Katherine Waterson as Chrisann Brennan, Jobs’ ex-girlfriend
- Makenzie Moss and Perla Haney-Jardine, Jobs’ daughter Lisa (at different points in her life)
In addition to a talented cast, Steve Jobs will also feature an extremely unique narrative structure. Kutcher’s Jobs played out in standard docudrama fashion, following Steve Jobs and Wozniak from their startup days to Job’s triumphant return to Apple in the mid-90s – charting his personal relationships, challenges, and successes along the way. Boyle’s film will follow similar thematic parallels, specifically that Jobs was a better CEO than he was a family man, but will skew from the usual biopic format – with a three-part story (in which each chapter is set around backstage happenings at key product launches). That said, the set-pieces are not meant to be simple recreations of Apple stage announcements, Sorkin has previously indicated that Lisa, rather than Jobs, is the hero – as the pair’s relationship is instrumental in depicting how Apple’s founder behaved when he wasn’t on stage.
With an all-star cast and crew, Steve Jobs might seem like a sure-thing for Apple enthusiasts and moviegoers looking for inspiration and insight but the movie’s journey to theaters has not been without setbacks – some due to scheduling, others due to creative differences (that indicate Sorkin and Boyle’s latest may not be either’s stronger). Several other big names were attached to the main role: frequent Sorkin collaborator David Fincher was originally attached before Boyle signed-on, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale dropped out of portraying Jobs, with sought after actresses Natalie Portman and Jessica Chastain also passing on a support role.
No doubt, behind-the-scenes shakeups happen all the time in Hollywood but, for a film that seemed to be firmly set as a Fincher project written by Sorkin, the final cast and crew saw a lot of last-minute changeups. Nevertheless, while some viewers will understandably wonder what DiCaprio or Bale might have done in the role, especially with Fincher in the director’s chair, the final team is equally strong – with some intriguing choices set to depict influential members of the Apple story. Fassbender is no stranger to serious drama – with memorable turns in 12 years a Slave and Shame. As a result, there’s plenty of reason to be confident that Fassbender will manage to capture Jobs’ enigmatic personality – especially with Sorkin supplying the dialogue.
Despite absence in the teaser, the relationship between Jobs and Lisa still serves as the movie’s emotional core – meaning that Makenzie Moss and Perla Haney-Jardine will get a prime spotlight. Additionally, even though Winslet, Daniels and Waterson all have key roles, Seth Rogen is sure to be a major talking point – depending on whether his interpretation of Steve Wozniak, Apple’s affable co-founder (and Dancing with the Stars alum), connects with viewers. Rogen has stepped outside of his raunch-comedy niche before but his part in Steve Jobs will be challenging – forcing Rogen to follow the lead of his Apatow-brand colleague Jonah Hill, who received an Oscar nomination for his work in Moneyball (before later appearing in The Wolf of Wall Street).
Given Steve Jobs‘ unique narrative structure, it’s likely that future trailers will also take a relatively subtle approach to marketing the film – meaning fans may have to wait until the film’s October 2015 release for a clear idea of whether Boyle has delivered the definitive Steve Jobs movie (at least in the foreseeable future). Regardless, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic. After all, Boyle and Sorkin have made highly-successful careers out of their ability to “think different” and differentiate their work from – especially in the biopic genre.
Steve Jobs hits theaters October 9, 2015.