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Danny Boyle’s “Steve Jobs” has faced controversy since its premiere at the Telluride Film Festival. Rather than showing the story of the title character from cradle to grave, the film focuses on three distinct and different acts to showcase a various version of Jobs at different points in his life, a move that not everyone has embraced.
At a brunch held in the film’s honor on Sunday at the St. Regis, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, director Boyle and key cast member Jeff Daniels participated in a discussion around some of the controversies and criticisms the film has received in its theatrical run so far.
Sorkin clearly explained why he wrote the film in its unique three-act structure, “I didn’t want to write a biopic. I didn’t want to write a cradle to grave story, that’s familiar. I wanted to write something else. But I didn’t know what that something else was until I started spending time with all of the real people who were represented on the screen, with the exception of Steve.”
He continued, “I like compressed time, I like when there’s a ticking clock. It’s worth mentioning that there is not a single fact that has been distorted, perverted or invented; not one except this: Steve Jobs did not have confrontations with the same five people before every product launch.”
Still, the film hasn’t been able to avoid criticism, with much of it coming from a surprising place, according to Sorkin: “There’s been some pushback on this movie from Silicon Valley. From the people who know and say they loved Steve, and they say that his movie is unfair and that’s not the Steve they knew.”
Sorkin continued, “I just want to read the two sentences from an email that I got just a few weeks ago that really knocked me out: ‘Those who throw their weight around attacking art do so at their own peril. I know of no instance where art lost when directly threatened by power, authority or wealth. Perhaps I’m wrong, but my belief in the freedom of artistic expression is absolute.’ […] It’s signed ‘Hugs, Joanna Hoffman.’ Joanna knew Steve and did see the real Steve Jobs in this movie, so did John Sculley, so did Andy Hertzfeld, so did Steve’s daughter Lisa Brennan. These are not people who interviewed Steve for an hour 27 years ago…these are people who did know Steve.”
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