Shortly after his passing, I wrote a pretty lengthy stream of thoughts on the interesting opportunities and challenges facing any writer tasked with drafting “the Steve Jobs movie.” Part and parcel of that hypothesizing though, was looking at the possibilities through the lens of Moneyball and Social Network, the successful and recent biographic films from Sony, both written by Aaron Sorkin. Well, according to the LA Times, Sorkin is being approached by the studio to write this film too, which only makes those comparisons more obvious. Sony bought the rights to Walter Isaacson’s novel seemingly moments after Job’s died, and now the (released yesterday) biography is set to break records and become the de facto final word on the tech icon. Suffice to say: much higher pressure than a curiosity of a book about “the facebook guy.”
First of all, let’s pop the brakes and emphasize that there’s absolutely no indication that Sorkin will take the job and in fact, many signs point to him doing just the opposite. Foremost among them is that Sorkin and Jobs actually had a friendly relationship, which throws obvious complications (and admittedly some advantages) Sorkin’s way if he cared to immortalize the tech icon in a screenplay. There’s also an anecdote Sorkin has detailed recently that shortly before Jobs died he asked Sorkin to write a script for Pixar, an offer the writer politely refused. Not the same gig obviously, but something to consider. That said, a book built from dozens of interviews telling a story of interpersonal conflict surrounding a difficult visionary… that’s so deep up Sorkin’s alley it hurts.
I’m not going to pound on the points I already made in the other piece, but it’s safe to say that if Sorkin does take on the job he’ll have a much higher hurdle to jump than with either of those other two films. I also suspect if he does take it, it will be because something very specific in Jobs’ story intrigues him– I really don’t see the Oscar-winner writing a wide-ranging overview of the man’s whole life.
Frankly, I do expect Sorkin to pass. If that’s the case though, what other screenwriter could Sony court that would bring nearly as much authority to the project that’s going to have all eyes on it from start to finish?