Steve Jobs Movie: 5 Myths, 5 Realities - InformationWeek

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10/16/2015
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Kelly Sheridan
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Steve Jobs Movie: 5 Myths, 5 Realities

The latest Steve Jobs film hits most theaters this weekend. What did the movie get right, and what did it get wildly wrong?
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(Image: Steve Jobs official website)

(Image: Steve Jobs official website)


Steve Jobs, the latest film about Apple's late co-founder, will be fully released this on Oct. 16. As with all movies about Jobs's life and work, this piece has come under scrutiny as critics question the accuracy of its events.

The film is directed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, Moneyball). Michael Fassbender stars as Jobs, and Kate Winslet as original Apple team member Joanna Hoffman.

Sorkin's adaptation takes a slightly different approach from other movies focused on Steve Jobs In an email to producer Scott Rudin, Sorkin wrote out the following plan for his film, as described in an interview with Wired:

"If I had no one to answer to, I would write this entire movie in three real-time scenes, and each one would take place before a particular product launch. I would identify five or six conflicts in Steve's life and have those conflicts play themselves out in these scenes backstage – in places where they didn't take place."

[Apple's Project Titan: 8 rumors to follow]

After getting the go-ahead from Sony, Sorkin chose to write the film around three iconic product launches: the Macintosh in 1984, NeXt in 1988 and the iMac in 1998. He focuses on an earlier Jobs building the future of personal computing, long before the iPhone was even a thought.

Sorkin admits there were generous creative liberties taken while writing and arranging the film's events. As Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said in an interview with Bloomberg TV, the movie "isn't about reality. It's about personalities."

In order to depict Jobs's behind-the-scenes behavior and capture the essence of the Apple icon, Sorkin spent time with Wozniak, Hoffman, former Apple CEO John Sculley, and Jobs's daughter, Lisa. The goal is to portray Jobs and his relationships, not his life story.

Upon viewing, Wozniak described the film as "unbelievable" but also admitted much of the film was not factually accurate. Here we separate fact from fiction in Steve Jobs – what's real and what's fabricated?

Have you seen the movie or plan to make a trip this weekend? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
10/16/2015 | 2:25:43 PM
A rose by any other name...
I'm intrigued but didn't Ashton Kucher just do this?
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
10/18/2015 | 8:14:39 AM
Re: A rose by any other name...
vnewman, 

Yes, Ashton Kucher did another movie on Steve Jobs. I suspect many more will come. 

-Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
10/18/2015 | 9:21:36 AM
Just a work of fiction with the intention of making money using Steve Jobs' name
"To paint a picture of Jobs's personality and relationships, he read Walter Isaacson's biography and tried to re-imagine how the Apple leader would have acted away from the public eye. As a result, certain events and details have been made up, or put in a different order, so Sorkin could depict the truth of Jobs as he imagined it."

Tried to re-imagine Steve Jobs? Certain events and details have been made up? What truth are we talking about here if the film is full of fiction? Why, then, a work of mainly fiction is selling the wrong idea of a film about Steve Jobs? Oh, I see. Because it will sell well and that's the only point of this movie, right? 

-Susan 
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
10/18/2015 | 9:58:16 AM
Re: Just a work of fiction with the intention of making money using Steve Jobs' name
@Susan. I think if most of the stuff is fiction then it shouldn't be called Steve jobs, but john smith.  He took parts of his life and integrated into a fictional story, sort of like historical fiction.  You build a story of a fictional character into a sort of actual facts.  If all things Steve jobs sell now, I wouldn't be surprised if they try to create a netflix show about this life.
MerrillC237
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MerrillC237,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/18/2015 | 12:45:01 PM
Re: Just a work of fiction with the intention of making money using Steve Jobs' name
And having written a novel about Jobs entitled "Selling Steve Jobs' Liver: A Story of Startups, Innovation, and Connectivity in the Clouds" I am in full accord with this grubby philosophy. But, let's be honest. Even the best biopics take enormous liberties with the truth and that will never change.

But I think the most interesting question which none of the films address, though this movie does ask it, is what did Steve Jobs do? Not a programmer, designer, engineer, writer, etc., etc. What exactly did he bring to the party and why?

I haave some thoughts on the issue and will post up an extensive review on this at the "Liver" website.   I sold Apple IIs and IIIs, was trained as a Apple "Level 2" service repairman circa 1982, owned several Macs though I'm more a Windows guy, and over the years developed a perspective on why Jobs flopped so badly in the 80s but hit it out of the park in the new century.

rick

 
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
10/18/2015 | 7:09:15 PM
Steve Job's Movies: Fact or Fiction
"......the movie "isn't about reality. It's about personalities."


While I don't think I will be paying to watch this movie on Jobs at least it is admitted that there is a very definate slant to it. I wonder if the layman will realize this ?
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
10/18/2015 | 7:18:27 PM
Factual, Nearly Factual and Sony
"Everything I say, every scene that I'm in, I wasn't talking to Steve Jobs at those events."

 

Amazing to see the conflict between Hollywood's requirement of dialog and the realities of tech. Techies for the most part do not talk much, but a still shot of Wozniak programming and developing is not Hollywood's view of how things should be retold.

So as a result we get this fictional, one sided depiction of the subject. Did Sony do this ? This sounds like their Statement of Purpose.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
10/19/2015 | 4:09:03 AM
Re: Steve Job's Movies: Fact or Fiction
Technorati rati, :D I don't think I will pay any money to watch this movie either. -Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
10/19/2015 | 4:21:17 AM
Re: Just a work of fiction with the intention of making money using Steve Jobs' name
Pedro, exactly. Maybe that's also why it was not important to do a casting searrching for an actor who looked more like Steve Jobs. -Susan
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
10/19/2015 | 10:54:22 AM
Re: Steve Job's Movies: Fact or Fiction
That's something I thought of -- sure, Boyle and Sorkin admitted the movie isn't factually sound, but is that something most viewers will recognize or remember? Or will they leave theatres thinking this is an accurate portrayal of how things unfolded in Jobs' life?
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