Steve Jobs (15)
09:36 12 November 2015
Steve Jobs is already receiving critical acclaim from those lucky enough to have watched early previews, but the movie’s director, Danny Boyle, makes no secret of the fact he “wouldn’t have normally jumped” at the chance to make a film about the pioneering founder of Apple.
That was before he was handed the script by Academy-Award winner Aaron Sorkin who penned The Social Network.
“I read it and I thought, ‘That’s just amazing’,” reveals 59-year-old Boyle.
“These are really important people and we have to make films about them, because these are the world changers, the world shapers,” he continues.
“They’re much more important than many of the other people you think might be significant in the world, like world leaders. They’re literally altering the way that humans work in the blink of an eye.”
Reading the script, it made the father-of-three realise how important it is to reveal “what was involved in creating this world, in forging this world” and to also humanise the man behind the invention.
“These people are so iconic, they’re mythical in a way, they’re out of reach. Their success is so fast and so enormous, they’ve got to be dragged back down to earth. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, I mean humanised again.”
Jobs, who died of cancer in 2011, doesn’t come across as a particularly likeable man - he didn’t even acknowledge his daughter for many years - but Boyle explains it was never the intention to make him more appealing, “because he wasn’t - and you’d be doing him no service by trying to make him appear like that”.
“That’s what he hated - the safe ground. As you see from the film, he was always about pushing forward and not settling or being complacent.”
Set backstage in the minutes before three iconic product launches, beginning with the Macintosh in 1984 and ending with the unveiling of the iMac in 1998, it’s a unique approach, painting the man at the epicentre of a digital revolution.
But this wasn’t the biggest challenge for Boyle and his team, it was dealing with the divergent opinions that people have on Jobs.
“Some regard him as both a brutal, terrible man to work for, and others, he was almost divine inspiration.”
They needed an actor who would be able to make it comprehensible that these two extremes existed in the same person.
Step forward Michael Fassbender.
“It’s weird, [Michael] likes to be so relaxed in the moment. He doesn’t want ‘Action!’ called or any of the fuss building up to a scene, and he wants you to shoot the rehearsal. He feels it will have the quality of improvisation in a way, even though it’s not, it’s highly scripted and he’d learned or absorbed the script, word for word,” reveals Boyle.
“He’s also uncompromising and ferociously focused. That’s the Jobsian thing about him. A lot of the real people came in to talk to us and I remember they said, basically, ‘Make sure you get the stare right’. Michael’s got that as well.”
Fassbender’s co-stars include Sorkin’s long-time collaborator Jeff Daniels, as former Apple CEO John Sculley, and Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple.
The latter, known for his comedic work in the likes of Knocked Up, has confessed he thought people might think him a fraud.
“I think there’s a terrible disservice done to comedians, that in some way, we assume they can’t act,” says Boyle in response.
“Seth’s an amazing actor, he’s warm and generous and a funny guy, but boy is he on it when he’s on it.”
Kate Winslet also has a prominent role, as Joanna Hoffman, the former marketing chief of Macintosh - although it’s actually a composite character, as Hoffman only worked with Jobs to launch the NeXT, but the pair remained friends.
“Kate helped Michael in the way Joanna helped Steve - and she would help me as well,” admits Boyle.
“She would constantly solve problems on set. She’s a bit of a film-maker on the quiet. She can do it all, she understands all the business and I found her a wonderful partner.”
He recalls how prodcuer Scott Rudin, had told him he’d end up wanting her on all his films.
“He said, ‘She’s very addictive’ - and she is.”
**** (4 stars)