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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Steve Jobs

Aaron Sorkin set to adapt 'Steve Jobs' for Sony

May 15, 2012 |  6:56 pm

Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin once declined an offer from Steve Jobs to write a movie for animation house Pixar, saying he couldn't pen dialogue for inanimate objects. Now, however, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of "The Social Network" will aim to help bring the life of the legendary tech icon to the screen in a film for Sony Pictures that will reunite him with his "Social Network" producer Scott Rudin.

"Steve Jobs" will be based on the bestselling biography written by former Time magazine managing editor Walter Isaacson. Mark Gordon and Guymon Casady will also produce.

Sorkin, awaiting his cable television debut with the HBO series "The Newsroom," famously depicted the world of Silicon valley with his Academy Award-winning script about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. His biggest challenge in adapting Isaacson's book will likely be reducing the sprawling biography into a digestible narrative.

Jobs, the Apple tycoon who died last year from cancer, is also the subject of another film simply titled "Jobs" that will star Ashton Kutcher in the title role. No word on who will play the lead in the Sorkin-scripted film or who will direct.


L.A. Film Fest to show premiere of Aaron Sorkin's 'The Newsroom'

— Nicole Sperling

Photo: Aaron Sorkin. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times.

Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs: Can it work? [poll]

April 2, 2012 |  3:02 pm

You’ve already emailed your friend to say how crazy is it, or proved your contrarian cred by saying you thought it could actually work. There’s little middle ground in the debate over whether Ashton Kutcher can pull off the role of Steve Jobs — which, as we learned on April Fools' Day, he will attempt to do in an independent film that begins shooting this spring.

On the one hand, Kutcher has that breezy vibe that characterized a young Jobs. And Kutcher has acted in dramas, though before reading some of these stories we never thought we'd see "acclaimed" and "Spread" in the same sentence. Kutcher taking on the Jobs part also prevents him from acting with Justin Bieber anytime soon.

On the other hand, he’s Ashton Kutcher — the guy who hosted an MTV reality show, starred in "Dude, Where's My Car?," fumbled away interest in a hit CBS sitcom. Also, he’s Ashton Kutcher.

Kutcher's Jobs movie is the second feature about the Apple co-founder that's currently in the planning stages, after Sony's as-yet-uncast adaptation of Walter Isaacson's biography. Dueling projects often lead to one movie flopping (“Infamous,” or this weekend’s “Mirror Mirror”) or not getting made at all. So we'd take all this with a grain of salt.

Either way, the Isaacson film suddenly looks a lot more prestigious by comparison.

Do you think Kutcher can pull off the role? Vote in our poll below.



Will Aaron Sorkin take on Steve Jobs?

Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher look to buddy comedy

Steve Jobs' Apple had another role: movie star

— Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Steve Jobs and Ashton Kutcher. Credit: Monica M. Davey / Nina Prommer / European Pressphoto Agency


Will Aaron Sorkin take on Steve Jobs?

October 24, 2011 |  4:44 pm


EXCLUSIVE: Steve Jobs was front and center again Sunday night when "60 Minutes" aired its much-anticipated interview with his biographer, Walter Isaacson. It proably won't be the last time the Apple co-founder will dominate our screens.

Sony is moving forward with a Steve Jobs movie based on Isaacson's book. And one of the writers being courted by producers to pen his story, according to a person who was briefed on the project but not authorized to speak about it publicly, is Aaron Sorkin, Hollywood's chronicler-in-chief of the complicated visionary.

The "Moneyball" and "Social Network" writer was said by the person to be considering the prospect but had made no decisions. Sony and a Sorkin representative declined to comment on the writer's potential involvement.

Would the writer be a good fit for the story of the Apple leader, which is being produced by "Saving Private Ryan" producer Mark Gordon and the Hollywood management and producing mainstay Management 360?

Sorkin is known for penning stories about the lives of fiercely smart, if difficult, figures, of which Jobs certainly was one. Isaacson's take on the late executive as someone whose penchant for "magical thinking" was both a great advantage and a fatal liability seems particularly suited to a Sorkin script, as does the detail about Jobs' biological father, whom he met unwittingly at a Silicon Valley restaurant.

Of course, Sorkin could feel like he's already been done the Silicon Valley thing with "Social Network." And Sorkin did know Jobs, which could make things a bit sticky. In fact, it's rare for a biopic to cover someone who so recently died, which could create a challenge for any writer.

On the other hand, the tech pioneer had once asked Sorkin to write a Pixar movie. Sorkin declined, saying he couldn't "make inanimate objects talk." But writing a movie about the man behind Pixar might serve as a certain kind of tribute.

Whoever winds up penning it, there's clearly an appetite among the viewing public for Jobs' story, especially as told by Isaacson: Sunday night's edition of "60 Minutes" was up an impressive 47% in the coveted 18-49 demographic compared to the previous week.


Will Steve Jobs' story make a good feature film?

Is Steve Jobs' 1984 Apple spot an underrated film influence?

Steve Jobs' Apple had another role: movie star

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Images of Steve Jobs at an Apple store. Credit: Christian Palma/Associated Press

The week in film: Steve Jobs, 'Tower Heist' and 'Ides' [Video]

October 7, 2011 |  5:41 pm


As the world mourned the passing of Steve Jobs this week, Hollywood also reflected on the legacy the Apple and Pixar co-founder left on the movie world. Meanwhile, Universal announced a bold experiment under which the Eddie Murphy-Ben Stiller movie "Tower Heist" will be available on-demand three weeks after it arrives in theaters.

The Times' Rebecca Keegan and Steven Zeitchik offer their thoughts on what Jobs meant to Hollywood, as well as on the viability of the "Heist" experiment and this weekend's release of George Clooney's political drama "The Ides of March."


Steve Jobs' Apple had another role: Movie star

'The Ides of March' splits the vote with film critics

Would you pay $60 to watch Eddie Murphy from home?

-- Steven Zeitchik

 Photo: Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick and Eddie Murphy in "Tower Heist." Credit: Universal Pictures

Will Steve Jobs' story make a good feature film?

October 7, 2011 |  5:12 pm

Walter Isaacson's upcoming "Steve Jobs" biography has been surging up the Amazon sales charts, as consumers order advance copies of the book about the late Apple co-founder. Now Hollywood has taken notice: Sony Pictures is poised to land rights to the tome, according to Deadline.

Isaacson's book, which comes out later this month, looks to be the definitive account of Jobs' life and career. Will it make a good movie?

Jobs' story has a triumph-of-the-underdog quality -- his Apple fought behemoths like IBM and Microsoft for years before (usually) coming out on top -- and he of course lost and then regained control of the company. And a film about one of the great visionaries of the modern era would seem like an easy sell in a time when a movie about a technological entrepreneur such as "The Social Network" has been a big hit.

Then again, Jobs' story is already well-known, and will be even more so by the time a film arrives. And "The Social Network" achieved popularity by getting at the underlying tragedy of the Mark Zuckerburg figure, something that may be trickier with a worldbeater like Jobs. Still, his story would attract a top-tier filmmaking team. Sony's move makes the Jobs tale one of the hottest film projects in Hollywood that's nowhere near becoming a movie.

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: images of Steve Jobs at the Apple store. Credit: Christian Palma / Associated Press

Steve Jobs' Apple had another role: movie star

October 5, 2011 |  7:07 pm

Apple Under Steve Jobs, Apple has become a part of daily existence in numerous ways. But his products have also seeped into a less obvious part of our lives: the entertainment landscape.

Jobs, who died Wednesday at 56, of course co-founded and ran Pixar, incubator of untold animated hits. But his influence on screen entertainment was more pervasive than that. Jobs and Apple realized early on that one way to gain consumer acceptance (apart from, you know, creating compelling products) was for your logo to make frequent appearances in film and on television. So the company hired product-placement experts who could get the logo into our entertainment.

Starting all the way back in the 1990s (long before product placement was de rigueur) the MacIntosh began to pop up in mega-hits such as "Seinfeld" and "Independence Day."

As the company's products began to gain consumer dominance, first with evolutions of the Mac and later with the iPod and iPhone, producers started to want them in their movies. (Hollywood marketers never admit whether such appearances are paid. Often it's a barter deal -- show our products and we'll give you a bunch of freebies -- but paying for screen time is not uncommon.)

Soon Apple products were everywhere. Carrie Bradshaw used a MacBook on "Sex and the City," and Michael Scott was given an iPhone on "The Office." By 2008, Apple products appeared in nearly 50% of the films that won the weekend box office that year, according to the marketing industry group Brand Channel.

Nor was the Apple-mania limited to Hollywood. Chen Daming, director of a Chinese remake of the Mel Gibson hit “What Women Want," said recently that the company gave the production 100 computers to use as props.

It all fit with Jobs' strategy: to show Apple as a brand used by the people you wanted to emulate. (Carrie kept pecking out details of her glamorous life on a Mac, but the workers on "The Office," for instance, slaved away at bland, nondescript PCs).

Of course, as other companies began to see the fruits of Apple's labor, they wanted in too. Sony began replacing Apple products with its own gizmos in its studio division’s movies. By last year, the number of box-office winners showcasing Apple products dropped to 30%.

Still, that number was higher than behemoths like Nike or Ford, according to Brand Channel. (And its appearances could be relentless -- "Iron Man 2" showed 64 Apple products.) And it's a testament to Apple's marketing savvy that the equation has now been flipped. Seeing a certain character use an Apple product once might have made us see Apple in a different, more appealing light. Now it makes us see the character that way.

Given the brand's careful grooming of its image, we wouldn't expect to see Apple fall off our entertainment screens anytime soon. And with Jobs' death, we also wouldn't be surprised to see filmmakers, many of whom have edited their movies on his computers, begin slipping in references to the Apple co-founder.


Steve Jobs dies at 56

Steve Jobs reaction: Gov. Brown, Bill Gates

Steve Jobs legacy: Apple CEO was more than a turnaround artist

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Sarah Jessica Parker uses a MacBook on "Sex and the City." Credit: HBO



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