Sony Working on a Steve Jobs Biopic
Posted 10.09.11 by Chris
You're nobody until somebody makes a movie about you.
Just days after the passing of Apple founder Steve Jobs, Sony is working to acquire Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs, simply titled Steve Jobs, which is set to be published in November.
With Jobs being unquestionably the biggest name in technology and the most renowned inventor of this generation, it's not unexpected for studios to be swarming to pick up the rights to put Jobs' story on the big screen.
According to Deadline, the rights for Isaacson's book could go for as much as $3 million. The reason? This is Job's authorized biography, meaning Isaacson's book will have intimate details about Jobs.
Deadline brings up the point that the book was actually originally set to publish in March but a few months ago, the release date was moved up to November. Now that Jobs has passed away, the book will be released on Oct. 24.
So here's the inevitable question: Who will play Jobs? Most biopics have luxury of hitting theaters years, if not decades, after the passing of the subject has passed away. But if Sony fast-tracks this project, the Jobs biopic will be in theaters just a few years after Jobs passed away. With his trademark black turtlenecks and jeans, Jobs is easily one of the most recognizable public figures in the world. So far, one actor has had the challenge of playing Steve Jobs — Noah Wyle in the TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley. Joey Slotnick played Jobs' co-founder Steve Wozniak and Anthony Michael Hall played Jobs' sometimes friend, sometimes enemy Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
In 2009, Wyle talked to Fortune Magazine about playing Jobs.
I had apprehensions of playing Jobs in Pirates of Silicon Valley. TNT was really excited about me taking the part, but I had worries I usually didn't have as an actor. I knew something about him and I had the script, but I couldn't really get a beat on the guy until they sent me the documentary, Triumph of the Nerds. Then it was "Ohmigod! I've never seen anything like this. I have to play this guy." I was so taken by his presence, his confidence, smugness, smartness, ego, and his story's trajectory. He seemed to be the most Shakespearean figure in American culture in the last 50 years I could think of – the rise of, the fall of, and the return of. The truest definition of a tragic hero—but you get the 'bonus round' that F. Scott Fitzgerald said didn't exist. Jobs has had one hell of a second act.
Wyle later talks about getting a phone call from Jobs and asked to impersonate him at a Macworld convention.
We were under a very strict directive not to contact the people we were playing for fear that they would find something libelous in the script and shut the production down. So I didn't. The day after the movie aired [in 1999], I was sitting in my living room and my phone with what I thought was my unlisted phone number rang.
"Noah?" said the voice.
"Yes," I said.
"This is Steve Jobs."
My heart started beating through my shirt. And he said — and I've memorized this— "I'm just calling to tell you I thought you did a good job. I hated the movie, I hated the script, I think if you had spent a little more time and a little more money and maybe a little more attention to detail, you could have had something there. But you were good."
And all I could say was, "Thank you. Sir."
So could Wyle play Jobs on the big screen? What about Ed Harris as an older Jobs? Let us know who you think could play Steve Jobs.
Here is Wyle imitating Jobs at the 1999 Macworld.