The Steve Jobs in ‘Steve Jobs’ is a fictional character invented by Aaron Sorkin

“Actor Michael Fassbender puts in a riveting performance as the Silicon Valley icon. But the Steve Jobs we came to know over the past 40 years rarely puts in an appearance,” Dawn Chmielewski writes for Re/code. “The Hollywood version of Jobs will be barely recognizable to those in Silicon Valley who had a front-row seat for the dramatic arc of his life, from early success to humbling failure to improbable comeback.”

“Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin uses those actual events to take the audience on an imagined — as in, fictional — series of fast-paced exchanges in the minutes before the curtain would rise on the introduction of each product,” Chmielewski writes. “‘It deviates from reality everywhere — almost nothing in it is like it really happened,’ said original Mac team member Andy Hertzfeld, who advised on the film. ‘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.'”

“Sorkin and Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle say their movie seeks to portray a character who fundamentally changed the nature of modern communication, but whose interpersonal relationships were deeply dysfunctional,” Chmielewski writes. “‘That’s not real life,’ Boyle said in the press materials for the film. ‘It’s a heightened version of real life.'”

“The story is populated by events that never happened — such as a dramatic reimagining of preparations for the Mac’s demo in which it blows up in rehearsal, instead of declaring, ‘Hello, I am Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag’ — and long, stinging exchanges that aren’t drawn from any of the six biographies written about Jobs,” Chmielewski writes. “‘Steve Jobs’ is full of… entertaining put-downs that no one who joined Jobs backstage in the moments before a product launch had the temerity to deliver in real life. It’s almost like watching the cinematic version of revenge porn. It’s no wonder that Jobs’s widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, and the folks at Apple are bristling ahead of the movie’s Friday release.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: What’s worse than a bad Steve Jobs movie? One that plants fiction in place of fact and gets lauded for it. For example, the “Apple stole the GUI… What do you do?” screed as uttered by some invented “Woz” character; Woz would never say those things because those things are simply not in his nature nor are they true.

Anyone who knows even a little bit about Woz knows that whole puked-out mess rings jarringly false. Sorkin either didn’t know or, more likely, didn’t care. He got to concoct another little testy exchange between two fictional characters. If he put words into people’s mouths that never came out, words that would never come out, so be it. Poor Woz was likely railroaded quickly (they paid him $200,000 to consult on the movie) when he read that scene, if he even read that scene.

We fear that Apple, Jobs’ family and friends, and, yes, even we will now have to spend years constantly correcting the concocted “facts” implanted in the public’s imagination by this work of fiction, this excuse for Sorkin to scribble down some more of his insult dialog and for actors to spit it out in the hopes of receiving self-congratulatory statuary.

The Aston Kutcher flick will likely end up being far more accurate than this one. The theme that runs throughout this “Steve Jobs” movie is “It either never happened or it didn’t happen even remotely like that.”

And, yes, we understand artistic license. We also understand how fictions can be implanted as facts, and even be forced to become facts, by Hollywood movies. There never was a bridge on the River Kwai, but there is now (kinda, sorta), thanks to a Hollywood movie that made up that “fact.”

Jony Ive joins chorus of insiders’ complaints about new ‘Steve Jobs’ movie – October 8, 2015
The Strange Saga of ‘Steve Jobs’: A widow’s threats, high-powered spats and the Sony hack – October 7, 2015
‘Steve Jobs’ director Danny Boyle warns of ‘tremendous, terrifying power’ of tech giants like Apple – October 7, 2015
Forbes reviews ‘Steve Jobs’: ‘An electrifying interpretive dance of abstract biographical cinema’ – October 7, 2015
Steve Jobs’ daughter Lisa skips movie screening, but parties with cast – October 7, 2015
Philip Elmer-DeWitt reviews ‘Steve Jobs’ movie: ‘I loved it’ – October 7, 2015
Aaron Sorkin: Steve Jobs just wanted to be loved – October 6, 2015
The ‘Steve Jobs’ movie that Sony, DiCaprio, and Bale didn’t want is now an Oscar favorite – October 6, 2015
Michael Fassbender already the odds-on favorite to win an Oscar for ‘Steve Jobs’ – October 5, 2015
Steve Jobs’ widow and friends take aim at Hollywood over ‘Steve Jobs’ biopic – October 5, 2015
‘Steve Jobs’ biopic too nasty to win Best Picture award – October 2, 2015
Andy Hertzfeld: ‘Steve Jobs’ movie ‘deviates from reality everywhere’ but ‘aspires to explore and expose the deeper truths’ – October 2, 2015
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. Dear Pixar,

      It’s time for your first animated true story pix in honor of Steve Jobs who started you all up. Work with his friends, family, even his adversaries to create a true animated story that should last the ages.

      Just get some great voice actors and work it out.

      Just an idea. Apple has the connections to make a real true story if they really wanted to.

    2. What’s somehow worse is how much MDN is covering this movie.

      We get it MDN! Over and over, everday you keep posting the same crap about this Steve Jobs movie. The law of dimishing returns has kicked in. Focus on other news because you’re belabouring this now. And the more press you give it, the more it will stick in people’s minds.

      1. It is not lost on me that this is also an opportunity to bash Sorkin, the hated liberal arch- enemy of MDN financier Rush “Pighead” Limbaugh. Not so much objectivity here, either… But I’m not happy about this movie, either, from what I’ve heard. You don’t bash Tim Cook, either, Sorkin…

  1. It’s even worse than that, just look at what you’ve got here: a genius who had an oversized impact on the world by building out a company that creates products that transform our lives.

    What does Hollywood do? With a precious two hours for a film that should in some way touch on the essence of this man’s success, of his genius, it instead focuses on a brief youthful fling with a woman that–for Steve Jobs–blew it and got pregnant. Instead of enlightening us, this movie makes Jobs’ life into a sleazy daytime soap opera.

    I don’t care how good the “acting” is in this movie, for me it’s a total joke, and I don’t care what Woz says (he’s kind of loony in his own way anyway…). You could take all references to Jobs out of the movie and no one would notice that it had any sort of resemblance to the real Steve Jobs.

    1. Sorkin just needs to start writing for ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, The NYT, The WaPo, etc., etc., etc.. Maybe this film is part of his resumé.

      Some of you deluded Dem/Lib/Progs just can’t stand that the one network you haven’t polluted with your proven failure of an ideology happens to be far and away #1.

      U.S. Cable News Ratings

      1. You do, of course, realize that while Fox news unquestioningly dominates cable news ratings it pales in comparison to the major network news, right? They would absolutely LOVE to have the numbers NBC/CBS/ABC get.

      1. I second that emotion. Burns tells stories as compellingly as Sorkin does but he uses the actual shards of the past to do it, instead of the auteur interpretation that artistic poseurs advance as authentic narrative. If you’ll pardon my French.

  2. Funny to see Sorkin and Boyle come crawling out of the woodwork these past few days, trying to spin this film. I think we’re at the “We’re artistes and you regular people probably just won’t understand what we’ve done here.” They can go crap on somebody else’s lawn. I’ll not be rewarding them with ticket sales just to see how bad it is.

      1. Saw Sorkin on TV again last night. He sounds more defensive and desperate every day. Maybe he’s starting to get a clue that character assassination for artistic effect isn’t always acceptable. Or that the people who might care about seeing SJs story aren’t buying into sensationalized BS and he may have a turkey on his hands.

  3. Its going to be a misleading movie… Not an inspirational movie..
    Unless it starts with the words in font as big as the screen will allow..

    “Most events and characters in this movie are fictional”

    And if anyone wants a good Jobs and silicon valley movie.. The best and most accurate, watch:
    Pirates of Silicon Valley …

  4. here is the FIRST and LAST scene of my Steve Jobs movie

    we start with a grey scene of computer users miserably hunched over their green screen Command Line MS Dos machines tediously inputing stuff — ‘click, slash, dash, colon, bracket DeFrag … ‘

    We end the movie with smiling people working on Macs with stunning Graphical Interfaces (yes with Mice and Trackpads !) and others happily walking around and working with powerful mini computers: iPads and iPhones …. Implication THIS IS THE WORLD JOBS MADE.

  5. This is great, no kidding.

    People who knew Steve and knew about him and studied him – most of the MDN readers – will always have the inside track on him. Even a good movie about Steve could not get it right. He was too complex for two hours.

    This movie will also show us how little we know about any historical figure. For good or ill, we just can’t know what was really going on in the minds of a US President, an Edison, a Tesla, or an Einstein.

    1. I had similar thoughts around viewing the movie Lincoln, having had read many books about his life and times, and especially about Gettysburg. There are many Lincolns, as it appears there are many Jobses. The difference is there is no angry moral uprising about any particular portrayal of Lincoln, compared to the contemporary outrage of Jobs loyalists. How could it be otherwise in a world of emotionally connected humans? When the man is dead a hundred years, only then will there be acceptance in the portrayal, instead of a sense of personal wounding.

  6. Crap!! It’s not a “heighten version of real life”, it’s a spiteful perverts twisting of reality to appeal to the lower sadistic animal instincts of the masses. Sordid Sorkin is the Hollywood equivalent of Pervert Murdock. It’s a weird sadistic pervert opportunist who takes a self-acknowledged sad, unfortunate side episode in another persons life (a person whose whole life was intensely focused on working to make life better for humanity) and features it as the center-point of his multi-million dollar production tabloid-style biopic. Is this what you want to spend $30 million to tell the world about this great soul? To hell with your shitty little movie. It’s gossip vomit!

    Look at their faked, acted ha, ha, ha, fat Santa laughter on the cover of Hollywood Reporter while they inflict pain and hurt on those who love Steve and know him as the warm, fun, compassionate, caring person that he is.

  7. Thank You Dawn Chmielewski!

    But we know we of the Apple cognoscenti are going to run into people who think the movie mythology is real life Steve Jobs. Having to explain real life to people intensely bores me. It’s remarkable how few people bother to research what they’re chattering on about. MDN is an excellent illustration of that phenomenon.

    1. Some of us will smile and nod and not bother to correct people’s impressions of a historical figure like Jobs…we won’t bother because we are not acolytes. We may have been, once, but now we serve in respected professions, unlike the dark days when computing was suspect, feared by the masses, misunderstood. We no longer need to correct people’s impressions of seminal figures in computing any more than we feel compelled to earnestly defend Alan Turing against calumny.

      As I say, some of us will hold off explaining Etruscan or Minoan history, or recent computing history, to misinformed colleagues and friends who, ignorant though they may be, will sadly fail to benefit from our moralising lectures. Not that we lack charisma; but some people just don’t give a hoot about our personal hobby horses.

  8. Don’t none of ya’ll notice the cruel touch of them releasin’ this here movie on what woulda been John Lennon’s 75th birthday?
    For those of you who really haven’t actually read anything about him, Jobs was an obsessive fan of the Beatles; he often credited them as a source of compelling inspiration. Somewhat remarkable.. considering how similar the behavior typical of Beatlemania (the mass hysteria, not the show) resembles that seen in the rabid legions of Apple kool aid drinkers. And for those who still can’t put two and two together… “Apple Records” was/is the name of the Beatles’ self-founded record company….hmmm.

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