For all the critical acclaim “Steve Jobs” has received, things have gotten pretty heated off-screen. Apple CEO Tim Cook lashed out at the movie and defended his former his boss, saying on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” that, “He was a joy to work with and I love him dearly, I miss him every day. I think that a lot of people are trying to be opportunistic and I hate that, it’s not a great part of our world.” Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin did not take that comment lightly, responding, “If you’ve got a factory full of children in China assembling phones for 17 cents an hour, you’ve got a lot of nerve calling someone else opportunistic.” Zing. (Sorkin later apologized). But the nervousness of Cook in general is perhaps not surprising given that the film shows the Apple icon as a genius who had as much intelligence as flaws (basically, he was kind of a jerk). And apparently, Jobs’ wife was also none too pleased to learn that a movie was being made about her late husband.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Laurene Jobs — who notably did not take participate in Walter Isaacson‘s book on which the movie is based — apparently reached out to Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale, two early rumored leads for the movie, and urged them not to sign on.
It the end, the picture did end up getting made, even if the journey was tough. David Fincher, initially attached to direct, fell out of favor by demanding $10 million just to get behind the camera, a $45 million budget, and full control over the marketing (by comparison, he was paid $5 million for “The Social Network,” and didn’t have final say on that movie’s promotion). And then there was the friction between Sony head Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin, which got quite ugly, and the project eventually shifted over to Universal.
However, underneath the concerns of Cook and Jobs’ widow is undoubtedly how Steve Jobs’ legacy will be preserved, and how the movie represents the “truth.” But particularly as we head into the awards season, where this “issue” tends to flare up, the words from A.O. Scott‘s New York Times review of “Steve Jobs” are particularly instructive: “The accuracy of this portrait is not my concern. Cinematic biographies of the famous are not documentaries. They are allegories: narrative vessels into which meanings and morals are packed like raisins in an oatmeal cookie; modern, secular equivalents of medieval lives of the saints; cautionary tales and beacons of aspiration.”
“Steve Jobs” opens on Friday and goes wide on October 23rd.