Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Danny Boyle|
|Screenplay by||Aaron Sorkin|
|Based on||Steve Jobs|
by Walter Isaacson
|Music by||Daniel Pemberton|
|Cinematography||Alwin H. Küchler|
|Edited by||Elliot Graham|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$33.7 million|
Steve Jobs is a 2015 American biographical drama film directed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin. Based on the biography of the same name by Walter Isaacson, as well as interviews conducted by Sorkin, the film is structured into three acts which cover fourteen years (1984–1998) in the life of personal computing innovator and Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, with each act taking place immediately prior to the launch of a key product - the Apple Macintosh, the NeXT Computer and the iMac G3. Jobs is portrayed by Michael Fassbender, with Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen,Katherine Waterston, Michael Stuhlbarg and Jeff Daniels in supporting roles.
Steve Jobs premiered at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival on September 5, 2015, and began a limited release in New York and Los Angeles on October 9, 2015. It opened nationwide in the U.S. on October 23, 2015. Winslet won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress and Sorkin won the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay at the 73rd Golden Globes, while Fassbender and Winslet are both nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, at the 88th Academy Awards.
In 1984, the Apple Macintosh's voice demo fails less than an hour before its unveiling. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs demands engineer Andy Hertzfeld fix it, threatening to publicly humiliate him in the presentation. Hertzfeld finally suggests faking the demo using the prototype Macintosh 512K computer.
Jobs rants to marketing executive Joanna Hoffman about a Time magazine article exposing his paternity dispute with ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan; he denies he is the father of Brennan's five-year-old daughter, Lisa. Brennan arrives with Lisa to confront him; she is bitter over his denials and his refusal to support her despite his wealth. Jobs bonds with Lisa over her MacPaint art and agrees to provide more money and a house.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak asks Jobs to acknowledge the Apple II team in his presentation, but Jobs feels that mentioning the ageing computer is unwise. Jobs and Apple CEO John Sculley discuss Jobs's life as an adopted child, and Jobs admits that his need for control stems from his feelings of powerlessness in being given up.
By 1988, following the failure of the Macintosh, Jobs has founded a new company, NeXT. Before the NeXT Computer launch at the War Memorial Opera House in 1988, he spends time with 9-year-old Lisa, but his relationship with Brennan is still strained; he accuses her of irresponsible behaviour and of using Lisa to get money from him. Wozniak arrives and predicts the NeXT will be another failure. Jobs confronts him about his public criticism of him, and Wozniak questions Jobs's contributions to computing history. Jobs defends his role as that of a conductor, who directs "musicians" like Wozniak.
Sculley demands to know why the world believes he fired Jobs; Jobs was actually forced out by the Apple board after he defended the Macintosh following its discontinuation, despite Sculley's warnings. After Hoffman and Jobs discuss NeXT's unclear direction, she realizes that Jobs has designed the computer to entice Apple to buy the company and reinstate him.
By 1998, Apple has fired Sculley, purchased NeXT, and named Jobs CEO, and Jobs is about to unveil the iMac at Davies Symphony Hall. He is delighted by Hoffman's strong commercial forecasts, but furious to learn that Lisa has allowed her mother to sell the house Jobs bought for them. Hoffman reminds Jobs that he threatened to withhold Lisa's college tuition; Hertzfeld admits that he paid Lisa's tuition and suggested she attend therapy, stunning Jobs. Wozniak again asks that Jobs credit the Apple II team during the presentation, and again he refuses.
Sculley arrives in secret and the two make amends. At the behest of Hoffman, Jobs apologizes to Lisa for his mistakes, admitting that he is "poorly made". Lisa watches her father take the stage to introduce the iMac.
- Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc.
- Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman, marketing executive for Apple and NeXT and Jobs' confidant in the film.
- Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and creator of the Apple II.
- Jeff Daniels as John Sculley, CEO of Apple from 1983 to 1993.
- Katherine Waterston as Chrisann Brennan, Jobs' former girlfriend and Lisa's mother.
- Michael Stuhlbarg as Andy Hertzfeld, a member of the original Mac team.
- Makenzie Moss, Ripley Sobo, and Perla Haney-Jardine as Lisa Brennan-Jobs (at different ages), the daughter of Steve Jobs and Chrisann Brennan.
- Sarah Snook as Andrea "Andy" Cunningham, manager of the Macintosh and iMac launches.
- Adam Shapiro as Avie Tevanian, software engineer for NeXT and later Apple.
- John Ortiz as Joel Pforzheimer, a journalist for GQ who interviews Jobs throughout the film.
- Stan Roth as George Coates, theatre director for NeXT Computer launch.
Sony Pictures acquired the rights to Isaacson's book in October 2011, hiring Aaron Sorkin to adapt it.
In November 2011, George Clooney and Noah Wyle (who previously portrayed Jobs in the 1999 TV film Pirates of Silicon Valley) were rumored to be considered for the title role. In May 2012, Sorkin officially confirmed that he was writing the script, and had enlisted the help of Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, for historical accuracy. Sorkin later stated that his screenplay would consist of three 30 minute long scenes covering 16 years of Jobs' life.
Sorkin developed the screenplay around Jobs' relationship with a few key people: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Jobs’ "right-hand-woman" Joanna Hoffman, former Apple CEO John Sculley, original Mac team developer Andy Hertzfeld, and Jobs' first child, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, as well as her mother Chrisann Brennan. Sorkin had a chance to speak with all of them while developing the screenplay, including Lisa (who did not communicate with Walter Isaacson while he was developing his book). However, Sorkin has stated that much of the dialogue is fiction.
After Sorkin's completion of the script in January 2014, development on the project began to heat up when David Fincher entered negotiations to direct the film, with Fincher selectingChristian Bale as his choice for Jobs. However, in April 2014, Fincher exited the project due to contractual disputes. Danny Boyle was then hired to direct, with Leonardo DiCaprio in discussions for the role. In October, DiCaprio exited, with Bale, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Bradley Cooper being considered. Sorkin revealed in an interview that month that Bale was once again cast in the role, with Seth Rogen entering negotiations to play Wozniak, and Jessica Chastain being considered for a part. Ike Barinholtz revealed he had auditioned for the role of Wozniak. In November, Bale again left the project, with Michael Fassbender emerging as a frontrunner to replace him, and Scarlett Johansson reportedly being offered a role before Sony put the project in turnaround and Universal Pictures acquired it.
Following the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack in December 2014, Sony emails were leaked which revealed casting demands as cause of delay in the film's production. Also revealed in the emails were the details that Tom Cruise, Matthew McConaughey and Charlize Theron were at one point met with to discuss potential roles in the film.
Natalie Portman entered into negotiations for a role in November 2014, but withdrew from the film in December. Meanwhile, Jeff Daniels began negotiations for a role and Michael Stuhlbarg joined the cast as Andy Hertzfeld. In December, Kate Winslet entered negotiations to star in the film, with Fassbender and Rogen confirmed to star, and Katherine Waterston was cast as Chrisann Brennan. Winslet's participation in the film, playing Joanna Hoffman, was confirmed in January 2015. Daniels was also cast as John Sculley, andPerla Haney-Jardine was cast as Lisa Brennan-Jobs. In February 2015, John Ortiz joined the film to play GQ magazine journalist Joel Pforzheimer.
Principal photography began on January 16, 2015, at Jobs's childhood home in Los Altos, California, with additional scenes shot throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Production next moved to Berkeley on January 23–24, 2015 (at La Méditerranée, a restaurant on College Avenue in the Elmwood district).
On January 29, 2015, filming continued at Flint Center, De Anza college (the location of the original unveiling of the Macintosh in 1984). In late February, production moved to San Francisco and took place at the Opera House, Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, and the Civic Center. Filming wrapped on April 10, 2015, after an overnight shoot in the San Francisco Bay Area.
To distinguish each of the three product launches depicted in the movie, Danny Boyle and cinematographer Alwin Küchler implemented three different film formats: 16mm for 1984, 35mm for 1988, and digital for 1998. They also wanted each of the film's three time periods to visually reflect Jobs' own development at the time. For instance, Küchler explains that the filming at Flint Center, De Anza college for the first act combined the graininess of 16mm film and setting to accentuate a provisional, spontaneous look - much in the vein of how Jobs is portrayed at that time. The third act, shot with an Arri Alexa at the Davies Symphony Hall, incorporated an aesthetic and color palette that were intended to be representative of Jobs' own design philosophies of the iMac and subsequent Apple hardware. Küchler describes his experience filming Steve Jobs as "brilliant and challenging at the same time", and that the goal was to "make sure that the visuals kept up with the words", in reference to the production's collaboration between Boyle and Aaron Sorkin.
Costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb says the real Steve Jobs never wore his trademark turtleneck jumper at any of the launches: "The turtleneck was the off book decision. In those 3 actual launches, in real life, he never wore that. In the 1998 portion of the film, in real life he was wearing a dark greyish/brownish suit. We made it for him as a back up idea in case we needed to adhere to it. As we got closer to the time of filming, I thought we'd set up rules for 1984, we'd set up rules for 1988 – there's so much of the film that’s about design and he was about design." Michael Fassbender also remarked that the historically inaccurate black turtleneck for the third act was intentional, believing that wearing the attire "felt like I had arrived at [Steve Jobs'] vision, that the person had arrived." Fassbender later added that he and Danny Boyle decided on this look during filming, and wanted to "give the audience kind of a payoff."
London-based studio Union created the film's visual effects. According to editor Elliot Graham, extensive film editing took place even before principal photography was completed. During the one-week rehearsal that took place in between production for each of the three acts (shot in chronological order), Graham would work on the existing footage and receive ongoing feedback from Boyle in the editing room. In an interview with Variety, Graham said a particular challenge for him was balancing the shot frequency and providing enough "visual interventions" to control for Sorkin's dialogue-heavy screenplay. He described approaching each scene as "a series of fight sequences". Michael Fassbender provided multiple versions of his performance as Jobs, which Graham and Boyle would then choose from during post-production. Graham also said: "Danny would be involved a lot but also take time away. He would say ‘if I’m with you the whole time, we’ll always have the same opinions because we’re on the exact same journey."
|Steve Jobs: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Film score soundtrack album by Daniel Pemberton, The Libertines, Bob Dylan andThe Maccabees|
|Released||October 9, 2015|
|Genre||Alternative rock, indie pop,electronic|
|Label||Back Lot Music|
|Daniel Pemberton chronology|
Daniel Pemberton composed the music for the film. Much like the film's visual approach, the score is divided into three distinguishable sections, each corresponding to the intended feel of the act in which the section is heard. "You have the first act which is analog," Pemberton explains, "you have the second act which is orchestral, and you have the third act which is digital." For the first act's composition, Pemberton primarily used analog synthesizers, in particular ones released no later than 1984 - the time the first act takes place - such as the Roland SH-1000 and Yamaha CS-80. The second act's score is more operatic in nature, matching the setting of the San Francisco Opera House. Finally, the third act featured a more introspective score produced entirely digitally to complement its backdrop of the 1998 iMac product launch, and Pemberton correspondingly used his own iMac to compose this section.
The soundtrack album also features songs by The Libertines, Bob Dylan and The Maccabees. The film ending's featured song, The Maccabees' "Grew Up At Midnight", was reportedly chosen by Danny Boyle himself, who is a fan of the indie rock band. Before its choice, other songs were considered for the final scene, even Daniel Pemberton's own score. The soundtrack was released digitally on October 9, 2015 and in physical format on October 23, 2015.
|1.||"The Musicians Play Their Instruments?"||1:04|
|2.||"It’s Not Working"||3:44|
|4.||"Jack It Up"||3:59|
|5.||"The Circus of Machines I (Overture)"||2:58|
|7.||"Change the World"||5:09|
|8.||"The Skylab Plan"||5:01|
|9.||"Don't Look Back into the Sun" (Performed by The Libertines)||3:01|
|10.||"…I Play the Orchestra"||2:22|
|11.||"The Circus of Machines II (Allegro)"||4:30|
|13.||"Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" (Performed by Bob Dylan)||4:37|
|14.||"It’s an Abstract"||2:27|
|15.||"Life Out of Balance"||4:06|
|16.||"I Wrote Ticket to Ride"||2:59|
|17.||"The Nature of People"||4:04|
|18.||"1998. The New Mac"||2:10|
|21.||"Grew Up at Midnight" (Performed by The Maccabees)||4:00|
|22.||"Shelter from the Storm" (Performed by Bob Dylan)||5:02|
Steve Jobs premiered at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival on September 5, 2015, and began a limited release in New York and Los Angeles on October 9, 2015. It opened nationwide in the U.S. on October 23, 2015. The movie also served as the closing film for the 2015 BFI London Film Festival, approximately one month before its release in the UK on November 13, 2015.
Steve Jobs was released digitally on February 2, 2016 and was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 16, 2016, and will include feature commentary from Boyle, Sorkin, and Elliot Graham. The physical releases contain a 44-minute making-of documentary, Inside Jobs: The Making of Steve Jobs, chronicling the production of the film.
A photo of a shark used in the film is the subject of a lawsuit by the photographer.
Edwin Catmull, president of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios, felt that Jobs would "be appalled" at his depiction in the film, arguing that he was a kinder person later in life than is portrayed in the picture. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Catmull commented, "When [Jobs] left Apple, he then entered into what really is the classic hero's journey: He's wandering in the wilderness, he's working with NeXT, it's not working. He's working with Pixar, we're failing. In that process, Steve learned some major lessons, and he changed. He became an empathetic person, [...] that aspect of the change of Steve was missed."
In a Bloomberg West interview with Emily Chang on August 26, 2015, Andy Cunningham called it "a wonderful film.... It's an incredible character study of a really complex man. Aaron [Sorkin] and Danny Boyle did a fabulous job with it." Her portrayal bySarah Snook was a "small role but professionally done." The movie also portrays Andy as participating in the iMac launch, even though she was not working with Apple at that time.
When discussing her audition for the film, Winslet later commented that she "heard about it through a crew member who I happened to be working with [in Australia on The Dressmaker], I didn’t even care what role it was. I just wanted to be in it. Found out the nature of the role. Googled [Hoffman]. Found one picture of her. Got my husband to go to a wig shop. Buy a short-haired dark wig. Stuck it on my head. Sent a photograph of myself to [producer] Scott Rudin. Danny Boyle came to Melbourne and we had a meeting and he gave me the part."
Winslet spent considerable time with Joanna Hoffman to prepare for the role before production began. She noted that Hoffman "has a softness to her. She came to America as a young woman and achieved a great deal. One thing that was unique about her as a figure in Steve’s life was that she didn’t need anything from him. She just needed for him to be the best version of himself. And that’s what really set their relationship apart from any relationship with all his other colleagues." Winslet credits Hoffman's difficult childhood (that began in Armenia) with her ability to manage Jobs.
On the nature of the relationship between Hoffman and Jobs, Winslet said that she and Fassbender "were able to develop as literally co-workers. I do believe it was very similar to the relationship that Steve and Joanna had. She was like his work wife. She was head of marketing for the Macintosh, and then she stayed with him for his working life. She was an extraordinary, feisty Eastern European person who was pretty much the only person who could actually knock sense into Steve, and she was also kind of an emotional compass." In developing her sense of the character, Winslet stated that she "just wanted to please [Hoffman] as much as I could. How she sounds, and her accent, is fairly complicated. She grew up largely in Armenia, spent some time in Poland, and has Russians in her family, so she has all three accents, but she’s been in America since she was a teenager, so she had American rhythms. You know, she really has this accent that goes way up and down. It’s almost impossible to copy because of just how singsongy it becomes. So I had to put it into my own register. But we were all doing accents. I mean, Michael’s Irish, and he’s playing Steve Jobs, for God’s sake." Finally, Winslet notes that Hoffman "did genuinely love [Jobs]. And spending time with her, when I was figuring out how to play this difficult part, she would become very emotional. She misses him terribly."
Journalist Walt Mossberg compared Steve Jobs to the Orson Welles film, Citizen Kane, which was loosely based on the life of William Randolph Hearst. Mossberg has stated that while both films are aesthetically well-developed, Welles created a fictional set of characters in order to clarify that his film was a work of fiction. In contrast, according to Mossberg (who knew Jobs for 14 years), Sorkin's decision to use real instead of fictional names detracts from the quality of a film which appears to be a biopic and yet is a work of fiction. Mossberg states that "the Steve Jobs portrayed in Sorkin's film isn't the man I knew. Sorkin chose to cherry-pick and exaggerate some of the worst aspects of Jobs' character, and to focus on a period of his career when he was young and immature [...] It would be as if you made a movie called JFK almost entirely focused on Kennedy's womanizing and political rivalries, and said nothing about civil rights and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sorkin opts to end his story just as Jobs is poised to both reel off an unprecedented string of world-changing products and to mature into a much broader, kinder manager and person."
Steve Wozniak (who consulted with Sorkin before he had written the screenplay) commented on a trailer released on July 1, 2015 that he does not "talk that way... I would never accuse the graphical interface of being stolen. I never made comments to the effect that I had credit (genius) taken from me... The lines I heard spoken were not things I would say but carried the right message, at least partly... I felt a lot of the real Jobs in the trailer, although a bit exaggerated." Wozniak did not ask to see the final script because he did not "think that would be appropriate... it is the creative work of the producer and writer and actors and director and others." He also noted that the trailer's reference to Jobs' initial rejection of his daughter Lisa evoked an emotional response: "It was hard on me, even being quiet, when Jobs refused to acknowledge his child when the money didn’t matter, and I can almost cry remembering it." Wozniak added that he felt honored to be portrayed by Rogen and had spoken with him prior to the beginning of production.Rogen has also commented on his meeting with Wozniak, stating that "his feelings towards Jobs were very complex and interesting. Part of it was taking it at face value and part was reading between the lines."
In September 2015, after seeing a rough cut of the film, Wozniak stated that he felt like he "was actually watching Steve Jobs and the others [....] not actors playing them, I give full credit to Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin for getting it so right."
In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle on February 10, 2016, Wozniak claimed that the film's scenes between him and Steve Jobs never occurred in reality. Wozniak specifically mentioned that he never requested Jobs to acknowledge the Apple II team onstage, as was shown in the movie. However, he added that Jobs did purportedly show a lack of respect towards the group. When asked about the accuracy of the film's portrayal of Steve Jobs, Wozniak replied: "In real life, to real people, that’s the way he could be, very sharp, (although) never quite as much as in the movie."
Steve Jobs grossed $17.8 million in North America and $16.1 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $33.9 million, against a budget of $30 million.
In its opening weekend in limited release, the film grossed $521,000 from four theaters, for a per theater average of $130,250, beating out Sicario ($67,000) for the best average theater gross of 2015. The film began its wide release on October 23, 2015, alongside The Last Witch Hunter, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, Rock the Kasbah, and Jem and the Holograms. In its opening weekend, the film was originally projected to gross $11–12 million from 2,491 theaters; however, after grossing just $2.5 million on its first day, it was revised to $7.4 million. It ended up grossing $7.1 million, finishing seventh at the box office.
On November 10, 2015, just over two weeks after its wide release, Universal pulled the film from 2,072 theaters in the United States. Variety said the film suffered from fierce competition at the box office, possible public weariness with Jobs and the low profile of Fassbender in the title role, and that the underperformance at the box office could hurt the film's award chances. After his film was pulled from wide release in the U.S., Danny Boyle expressed disappointment at the box office performance of Steve Jobs, while suggesting that Universal expanded the film's release "too wide too soon" and was "arrogant".
On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 86%, based on 249 reviews, with an average rating of 7.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Like the tech giant co-founded by its subject, Steve Jobs gathers brilliant people to deliver a product whose elegance belies the intricate complexities at its core." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 82 out of 100, based on 45 critics, indicating "universal acclaim." According to CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.
Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said Boyle’s "electric" direction "temperamentally complements Sorkin’s highly theatrical three-act study" and praised Fassbender in the role, who "doesn’t closely physically resemble the man, he fully delivers the essentials of how we have come to perceive the man." Justin Chang of Variety extolled the film as "a wildly creative fantasia...a brilliant, maddening, ingeniously designed and monstrously self-aggrandizing movie." Sasha Stone, writing for TheWrap, stated that Fassbender gives "a stunning knockout" performance as Jobs in a film that is "a kind of talk opera", which to some might seem to be "Sorkin overkill but the same could be said for the best of them: David Mamet, Edward Albee, Paddy Chayefsky and even William Shakespeare. Sorkin is not trying to do anything but write in his own style, thus this film and its exceptional dialogue leaves its mark as profoundly as Jobs himself left his." Eric Kohn of Indiewire gave the film a "B+", stating that "the cast vanishes into their parts...buried under makeup and a distinctive Polish accent, Winslet's chameleonesque transformation is bested only by Fassbender, whose vivid expressions and constant movement turn him into a physical marvel." He also noted that Boyle "drops his usual whirlwind editing style and instead develops an engrossing chamber piece."
Benjamin Lee of The Guardian gave the film three out of five stars, writing that "despite the film constantly informing you of just how incredibly important everything all is, it’s disappointingly difficult to truly care about what’s taking place." He blames Sorkin's "dominating" script, arguing that "the dialogue stifles" and that "the actors are tasked with trying to wrangle enough breathing space to offer up something of their own." He also feels that while it is "Boyle’s best film for years," his direction "plays second fiddle" to a script that verges on a kind of "Apple-sponsored hero iWorship." Joe Nocera of the New York Times, who knew Jobs well, took issue with "how little the film has to do with the flesh and blood Steve Jobs." Characterizing the movie as pure "fiction", he went on to say, "In ways both large and small, Sorkin − as well as Michael Fassbender, the actor who plays Jobs − has failed to capture him in any meaningful sense."
Main article: List of accolades received by Steve Jobs (2015 film)
Steve Jobs has received dozens of industry and critics awards. The film garnered four Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actor for Fassbender, Best Supporting Actress for Winslet, Best Screenplay for Sorkin, and Best Original Score for Pemberton. It won two, for both Winslet and Sorkin. On February 14, 2016, Winslet won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Both Fassbender and Winslet received Academy Award nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress.
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