Aaron Sorkin: Making a Movie About Steve Jobs Is Like Writing About the Beatles
Don’t expect a cradle-to-grave depiction of Steve Jobs’s life from Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming movie, said Sorkin, who has signed on to write the would-be blockbuster biopic, based on Walter Isaacson’s biography and made by Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Instead, Sorkin is looking to absorb as much as he can about the Apple founder and then “identify the point of friction that appeals to me and dramatize it.”
Speaking at D10 in conversation with Walt Mossberg, who frequently interviewed and wrote about Jobs, Sorkin said he feels the pressure of depicting a legend. “One of the hesitations I had in taking on the movie was it was a little bit like writing about the Beatles. There are so many people who know so much about him and who revere him, and I just saw a minefield of disappointment.”
To those people, he warned that the movie will be more of a painting than a photograph.
But it’s not like Sorkin has finished a script yet. The Jobs project is at the earliest stages, he said.
“I will be going through a long period that would not look to the casual observer like writing. It will look more like watching ESPN; to the untrained eye, it would look like watching college football. It’s a process of procrastination,” he said of his creative process.
What actor will play Jobs? Sorkin said he didn’t know, but it had to be someone smart, because that’s impossible to fake.
Sorkin said he’d describe his career as a pattern of writing about people who are smarter than he is, something he was inspired by from a young age, growing up in a family of people smarter than he was.
“I really fell in love with the phonetic sound of intelligence and the sound of a really good argument,” Sorkin said.
Later in the conversation, Sorkin talked about how he writes outside of the current trend toward antihero characters, with the possible exception of his depiction of Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network.”
Mossberg asked Sorkin if he plans to portray Jobs as an antihero.
“With as little as I know about the Steve Jobs movie, I know this for sure: I can’t judge the character,” Sorkin said. “He has to be a hero, I have to find the parts of him that are like me; I have to defend this character. You want to write the character as if they are making the case to God why they should be allowed into heaven.”