Steve Jobs is a 2015 American biographical drama film directed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin. Based on the biography of the same name by Walter Isaacson, as well as interviews conducted by Sorkin, the film is structured into three acts which cover fourteen years (1984–1998) in the life of personal computing innovator and Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, with each act taking place immediately prior to the launch of a key product – the Apple Macintosh, the NeXT Computer and the iMac. Jobs is portrayed by Michael Fassbender, with Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Katherine Waterston, Michael Stuhlbarg and Jeff Daniels in supporting roles.
Development on the project began in 2011 after the rights to Isaacson’s book were acquired. Sorkin wrote the screenplay with filming beginning in January 2015. A variety of actors were considered and cast before Fassbender eventually took the role. Editing was extensive on the project, with editor Elliot Graham noting that he was working on existing footage while the film was still shooting. Daniel Pemberton served as the film’s composer, with a focus dedicated to dividing the score into three distinguishable sections.
Steve Jobs premiered at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival on September 5, 2015, and began a limited release in New York City and Los Angeles on October 9, 2015. It opened nationwide in the U.S. on October 23, 2015 to critical acclaim. Individuals close to Jobs such as Steve Wozniak and John Sculley would praise the film’s performances, but dispute some of the film’s scenes as inaccurate. Winslet won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress and Sorkin won the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay at the 73rd Golden Globes, while Fassbender and Winslet received nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, at the 88th Academy Awards.
In 1984, the Apple Macintosh 128K‘s voice demo fails less than an hour before its unveiling at Flint Center. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs demands engineer Andy Hertzfeld fix it, threatening to publicly implicate him in the presentation’s credits if he does not. Hertzfeld finally suggests faking the demo using the prototype Macintosh 512K computer.
Jobs rants to marketing executive Joanna Hoffman about a Time magazine article exposing his paternity dispute with ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan – he denies he is the father of Brennan’s five-year-old daughter, Lisa. Brennan arrives with Lisa to confront him – she is bitter over his denials and his refusal to support her despite his wealth. Jobs bonds with Lisa over her MacPaint art and agrees to provide more money and a house. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak asks Jobs to acknowledge the Apple II team in his presentation, but Jobs feels that mentioning that aged, technically obsolete computer is unwise.
By 1988, following the apparent failure of the Macintosh, Jobs has founded a new company, NeXT. Before the NeXT Computer launch at the War Memorial Opera House, he spends time with 9-year-old Lisa, but his relationship with Brennan is still strained – he accuses her of irresponsible behavior and of using Lisa to get money from him. Wozniak arrives and predicts the NeXT will be another failure. Jobs confronts him about his public criticism of him, and Wozniak questions Jobs’ contributions to computing history. Jobs defends his role as that of a conductor, who directs “musicians” like Wozniak.
Apple CEO John Sculley demands to know why the world believes he fired Jobs – Jobs was actually forced out by the Apple board, who were resolute on updating the Apple II following the Macintosh’s lackluster sales. Jobs lambasted the decision and dared them to cast a final vote on his tenure, despite Sculley’s warnings. After Hoffman and Jobs discuss NeXT’s unclear direction, she realizes that Jobs has designed the computer to entice Apple to buy the company and reinstate him.
By 1998, Apple has fired Sculley, purchased NeXT, and named Jobs CEO, and Jobs is about to unveil the iMac at Davies Symphony Hall. He is delighted by Hoffman’s strong commercial forecasts, but furious that Lisa has allowed her mother to sell the house Jobs bought for them. Hoffman reminds Jobs that he threatened to withhold Lisa’s college tuition – Hertzfeld admits that he paid Lisa’s tuition and suggested she attend therapy. Wozniak again asks that Jobs credit the Apple II team during the presentation, and again he refuses.
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