‘Jobs’ Interview: Director Talks Title Error, Character Arc & iPhone Pocket Problems

Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad in JOBS

You go to the movies to experience a story, period, but Joshua Michael Stern’s Jobs is also going to mean something else to many people because Steve Jobs didn’t just create products to buy; he created products that changed the way we live our lives.

Jobs focuses on the rise of Apple, beginning with Steve’s discovery of Steve Wozniak’s (Josh Gad) early design of the personal computer. Positive that the machine could change the industry and the world, Steve insisted that they create Apple Computers and start pushing the product fast. Sure enough, things took off and Apple eventually grew into one of the most profitable companies in the world, but not without a great deal of time, energy, and extreme highs and lows. While Jobs’ dedication to the user over the shareholder would eventually see him removed from the company, it’s that devotion to making the best user-friendly product that made Jobs himself an icon and turned items like the iPhone into an additional appendage of sorts.

Perhaps this is shedding too much light on my addiction to all things Apple, but think about it; could you watch a movie about something that’s part of your life the same way you experience something that you’re not directly connected to? In the case of Jobs, I couldn’t and walked away with two separate reactions – a reaction as a moviegoer simply looking for a good story and also as someone whose life is intrinsically connected to Apple products.

In response to my two takes on his movie, Stern explained:

“In the course of his life, there was so much we had to leave out, and I think different people have something separately invested in him … To me, this was just a movie about a man and his company and how at some point the company became the man and the man became the company. People say, ‘Is this a movie about Steve Jobs or just a movie about Apple?,’ and I think that they’re inextricably linked.”

Stern owns loads of Apple products, but he doesn’t consider himself Apple or Steve Jobs obsessed and noted that that was essential for him to be able to make this film.

“I think that was important that I, the director, was almost removed from it so that he could see that this was a movie about a man and a character. Regardless of the fact that he was an icon, I had to find the drama and I had to find the arc of the character.”

Ashton Kutcher in Jobs

And that character arc is also tied to some very distinct visual choices. Stern ran through some of the key components of his shot selection that define specific stages of Jobs’ life:

“The beginning of the movie is all long lenses, lots of flares, lots of him in nature, lots of him among a lot of people … And then, when he steps into the second part of his life, which is when he created Apple, he was in the business part … windowless, florescent, big wide lenses. He starts to become more isolated in the frame because he’s separate from people. He’s in big spaces, but alone, which is sort of the symptom of being a visionary, you become more and more isolated as you get older. And then at the end, when he has his resurrection, he’s fired and comes back, it becomes a much richer, not so de-saturated, flares kind of creep back in, windows blow out.”

A Jobs fun fact – even though IMDb still lists it as the film’s original title, jOBS was never a legitimate name for the film. Stern explained:

“I think somebody just did it as a lark on the script just ‘cause it was kind of goofy, and they just picked it up, but it was never gonna be the font for the title of the movie. It was almost an in joke and it got put on crew sheets and then it eventually got into the media.”

And a Steve Jobs fun fact – Apple’s main man found toilet flushing soothing.

“To relax himself, he used to sit on a toilet and he used to put his feet in the cold water and just flush the toilet. It was relaxing to him. And we kind of shot that scene, but it never made it in - it just didn’t work.”

Check out our full video interview below to hear about all of that and much more straight from Stern himself.


Jobs will get a limited release on Friday, August 16, 2013.

Follow Perri on Twitter @PNemiroff.

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