Andy Hertzfeld: ‘Steve Jobs’ movie ‘deviates from reality everywhere’ but ‘aspires to explore and expose the deeper truths’

“Director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin have created what they call an ‘impressionistic portrait’ of one of Silicon Valley’s most iconic figures in their forthcoming film, ‘Steve Jobs,'” Dawn Chmielewski writes for Re/code.

“Among those Sorkin consulted was Andy Hertzfeld, one of the original members of the Macintosh team, who chronicled the computer’s development, from skunkworks project to launch and beyond, in his book ‘Revolution in the Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made,'” Chmielewski writes. “He also appears as a character in the film.”

Chmielewski writes, “We interviewed Hertzfeld about his involvement in the project and his appraisal of the completed work.”

I have seen the film, but not a finished version — it was still a work in progress when they showed it to me in August. Again, I am in a poor position to judge it, since I am too close to it and my experience with the underlying reality distracts me from appreciating it as a film. That said, I think it’s a fine movie, brilliantly written and performed and full of humor and feeling. It deviates from reality everywhere — almost nothing in it is like it really happened — but ultimately that doesn’t matter that much. The purpose of the film is to entertain, inspire and move the audience, not to portray reality. It is cavalier about the facts but aspires to explore and expose the deeper truths behind Steve’s unusual personality and behavior, and it often but not always succeeds at that. — Andy Hertzfeld

Much more in the full interview here.

MacDailyNews Take: Fiction in a quest for facts.

Aaron Sorkin blasts Apple’s Tim Cook over ‘Steve Jobs’ critique: ‘You’ve got a lot of nerve’ – September 25, 2015
Kate Winslet on ‘Steve Jobs’ biopic: ‘Sorkin makes it almost not about Steve Jobs at all’ – August 26, 2015
Watch Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs in new official trailer – July 1, 2015
See Michael Fassbender as ‘Steve Jobs’ in first movie trailer – May 18, 2015
Universal Pictures announces full cast of ‘Steve Jobs’ as biopic begins shooting – January 28, 2015
Filming for Steve Jobs biopic underway at Apple co-founder’s childhood home – January 17, 2015
Perla Haney-Jardine to play Lisa Jobs in Universal’s ‘Steve Jobs’ biopic – January 6, 2015
Kate Winslet eyed for female lead in ‘Steve Jobs’ biopic – December 22, 2014
Jeff Daniels eyed to play former Apple CEO John Sculley in ‘Steve Jobs’ biopic – December 9, 2014


  1. Sure, why not?
    What is Hollywood good for if not to give their interpretation of reality for us ‘underlings’ to fall in line to.

    Mississippi Burning?
    And now the best titled….Truth.

    No wonder we are getting our asses kicked all over the world economically, politically and militarily. We’re fed a daily dose of reconstituted HollyGood via the media and the Feds and are just expected to accept it.

    1. Tone – You’re missing the essential element of storytelling: the essential truth IS what matters, not the details of events. This is narrative fiction: characters are condensed, events are combined.

      The best movie biographies (Patton, Schindler’s List, Raging Bull, Serpico, Lawrence of Arabia) HAVE to do this, otherwise you’d need a 40-hour documentary series just to capture the highlights of someone’s life.

      And by the way, exactly how are we “getting our asses kicked” anywhere? Last I heard, no one is shooting at us (unless you count our own crazy citizens), we’re still #1 in the world militarily and economically, and if the middle class is getting screwed, the corporations are doing better than ever in history.

      Sounds like you’ve been watching too many Donald Trump speeches.

      1. > we’re still #1 in the world militarily

        sure, still.

        > and economically,

        hosed I think, with another 2008 on the way

        > and if the middle class is getting screwed,

        more like wiped out. No society can afford to do that without getting into stability trouble

        > the corporations are doing better than ever in history.

        The people behind those are the only real powers right now, owning the governments. What can possibly go wrong?

        I frankly don’t believe in thousand year empires…….

      2. Oh, GoodGodDamAlmighty, as if I don’t know the difference between literary license and propaganda. Maybe you should review, and ease up on the BoneInMyHighCheeks Warren bitchma (yes, that was intended to be sexually explicit…).

        There is a distinct difference in condensing and fabricating. Say that out loud 4,000 times and I bet you still won’t get it. If you want to relay a persona, do it with care and respect. If you want to relay a viewpoint, fuck you and get off the stage, I no longer need you and good luck with that fiction, Mr. Rather.

        If you can’t deal with what distortion of truth leads to, then I give you central Europe circa 1932. I tried to instill this but no, instead of learning, one had to get proud with their limited knowledge and end with a proposition, which is that I would vote for Trump in anything other than the general election in 2016.

        Please, learn to pay more attention to the realities of the real world and less to the confinements of your MTV ‘Real World’……

      3. BTW, Mike, my anger is directed more at Hollywood and DC than you. There is so much shoveling coming in from all directions that we’re turning into a mass grave.

        As far as the ass-kicking we’re getting, keep in mind that just because you are ahead 40-7 going into the 4th quarter doesn’t mean the other team has given up. We’ve sidelined our best players and are using the third string coach….

      1. More of his “personality” or “behavior”. Yeah I get that. As far as the Apple business accuracy and business dealings he was involved in, most of it is Fiction then. The iHaters are going to have a field day with this. lol

  2. Doesn’t bother me that another movie distorts truth. Even documentary movies have a point of view.

    Crucial facts were left out of Blackhawk Down, for example, and there was even a movie that “showed us” the killing of Osama Bin Laden, despite his being dead since around 2002. Even the most recent movie about the guy who walked the tightrope between the World Trade Center towers plays with the facts a lot.

    By comparison, what Danny Boyle et al did was tame.

    1. Osama BIn Laden was dead in 2002? Source please?

      Let me guess, WorldNetDaily?? The people who thought the Army was going to invade Texas this summer? The people who think airplane exhaust is somehow controlling the weather.

      Your tinfoil hat is showing.

  3. There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding of what movies can and can’t do. To show everything accurately would take much, much longer. Now imagine if they pick and choose events for a 100 minute feature and showed them accurately. They would end up with something completely lacking in the intervening context and it would be a train wreck. So, they chose to focus on portraying the character and essence of Mr. Jobs. The facts must be modified to create a compelling, inspiring, and non-chaotic narrative. That is the art of film-making. I imagine Mr. Jobs would have been completely capable of understanding the distinction. We need to engage a similar level of imagination and enjoy the film as it was intended.

  4. so what they are saying is that this is a FANTASY about a character coincidentally called ‘Steve Jobs’.

    From the first trailer (before they revamped it) it seems like a hit piece on Jobs and Apple filled with falsehoods like the urban legend “Apple stole the GUI”.

    Also Sorkin’s assertion that APPLE PAYS IT’S CHINESE WORKERS 17 CENTS AN HOUR (said probably to entice Tim Cook in a pissing match to generate publicity for the movie) shows how little he cares or KNOW about apple and he’s willing to perpetuate ‘apple hate’ with lies for his ends.

    So what is the point of watching the movie? Even Woz said the conversations and many incidents were made up. You can’t learn anything about Jobs or Apple because you don’t know what is fake. (seriously how can this movie be accurate if the creator thinks apple pays it’s workers 17 cents?)

    Sorkin if he was so desperate to make a buck should have GONE ALL THE WAY to make fantasy, get his character ‘Jobs’ ride a motorbike, carry a shotgun and shoot terminators, he might sell more tickets …

  5. We all knew it would have to, to cover an entire life – even one tragically cut short – involves editing to fit it into a viewable time. Since they’re focusing on a few events things would almost have to deviate in order to make any sort of sense. As long as it doesn’t paint him as some sort of monster with no redeeming qualities I’m happy for it to just be a good film.

    1. Sorkin may be rude, thin-skinned, and an ass, but he is a story-teller. The story arc demands a growing awareness culminating in redemption, possibly through the agency of Jobs’ unflinching assistant. Jobs, the grand dreamer on behalf of humanity, must access his own humanity through his estranged daughter.

      As for playing fast and loose with the facts, Woz and now Hertzfeld shrugged those off, sensing emotional truth in the film. That’s good enough for me.

  6. Andy Hertzfeld is a great guy, a real mensch. If the movie was a hack job he’d be the first to say it.

    Yes Sorkin made a fool out of himself with his comments about Apple but so what. He remains a brilliant screenwriter and Danny Boyle is a brilliant director and the movie has an incredible cast. My guess is this movie will be terrific.

    Amazing that so many people have such negative things to say about a film they haven’t seen.

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