Talent behind 'Steve Jobs' didn't worry about looking like or appeasing their real-life counterparts

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2015
The actors who bring the film "Steve Jobs" to life went to great lengths to get to personally know the real-life people they were portraying. But in the end, they weren't worried about closely matching their physical appearance, or even making them happy about how they were depicted.


Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs.


The talent from the film took part in a Q&A session following a screening of the movie at the 53rd annual New York Film Festival on Saturday, which was attended by AppleInsider. They all spent time with former Apple CEO John Sculley, company cofounder Steve Wozniak, and original Macintosh team members Joanna Hoffman and Andy Hertzfeld.
"Obviously, I don't look anything like Steve Jobs." - Michael Fassbender
And while star Michael Fassbender obviously could not spend time with the late Jobs, he said getting to know those around him helped immensely to shape his portrayal of the iconic Apple cofounder.

"The one thing that stuck with me was how much of an impression that he made on these people, obviously when he was alive, but since he passed away, you could see that he was still very much present in their lives," Fassbender said. "Even if the relationships were difficult, there was a sadness and there was a love there, that I thought was pretty clear."

Some have criticized the film's aesthetics by noting that Fassbender looks nothing like Jobs. Fassbender, it turns out, completely agrees with that assessment.

"Obviously, I don't look anything like Steve Jobs," he said. "That was the first thing I said to (director) Danny (Boyle). I was like, 'Well, Christian Bale looks a lot more like Steve Jobs than me.'"

Bale was originally in talks to portray Jobs, but Boyle explained to Fassbender that his intent was to capture "the essence of the man," rather than worrying so much about his physical appearance.




"From the beginning, the approach was to just not try and emulate that look or copy that look," Fassbender said.

There were still obviously some efforts to make Fassbender look more like Jobs, including wardrobe choices matching the three time periods the movie takes place in, and the use of brown contact lenses to make Fassbender match Jobs's eye color.

As production of the movie proceeded, Fassbender and Boyle even debated whether or not to have the title character wear his well known black turtleneck, jeans and New Balance sneakers for the third act, set in 1998 at the unveiling of the first iMac. But the two eventually concluded that the audience would want to see Jobs portrayed in his most iconic appearance for the film's finale.

"It kind of developed as the third act came along," Fassbender said. "It was very organic."




Seth Rogen, who portrayed Wozniak, said he appreciated the time "Woz" spent with him, but in the end, the actor wasn't worried about whether his performance would please him.

"My job, first and foremost, was making my boss, who was Danny (Boyle) happy. Woz wasn't paying me. I was hired by these guys," Rogen said onstage with his costars, director, and writer Aaron Sorkin.

As an actor doing a job, Rogen said that if the filmmakers asked him to completely disregard everything he learned about Woz, he would have done it, trusting their artistic vision.

"I don't want to get fired, and Woz can't fire me," he joked.


Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak.


Rogen noted that in the end, Wozniak is "very happy" with the final product, which did please him to hear. He told the audience at the Walter Reade Theater that it would be "terrible" if Wozniak hated him.

"Accuracy isn't necessarily creatively the thing that portrays someone the best," Rogen said.

Hertzfeld was also very gracious to Michael Stuhlbarg, who portrays him in "Steve Jobs." The actor said that he spent many hours with Hertzfeld, including a visit to his house, meeting his wife, and eating together.

Hertzfeld told Stuhlbarg of the "love and mutual respect" that he and Jobs had for one another. The Mac co-creator also found it very challenging when he wanted to stay around Apple longer. Even though Jobs felt differently, he would still constantly check in with Hertzfeld after he left Apple, Stuhlbarg said.


Michael Stuhlbarg, left, and Andy Hertzfeld, right. Via Re/code.


"He couldn't have been kinder to me, and he was really generous to with his time," Stuhlbarg said of Hertzfeld. "I heard from him today, which was delightful.

"He remained, for Steve, sort of a moral center, in a life that seemed quite complicated for Mr. Jobs, I think. Andy was always there for him to check up with, periodically. And he would, just show up on his doorstep."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,401member

    Why didn't Danny Boyle cast Cate Blanchett as Steve Jobs? She's played Bob Dylan once and appearance was not important for this movie, right? Oh, but wait... Seth Rogan looks marginally like Woz and Jeff Daniels looks slightly like John Sculley... This is just a flimsy excuse since they couldn't get Christian Bale for the role. Fassbender is a fine actor, but he was not their first choice.

  • Reply 2 of 32
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member

    ...which is why I'm not seeing it.

  • Reply 3 of 32
    This is as much of a documentary as Stone's JFK, which is to say that people will think they got the truth but were sold a bag of steaming lies.
  • Reply 4 of 32
    I see the essence of the portrayed characters which is infinitely more important to me considering this isn't a documentary in any sense of the word.

    I love Fassbender and plan to see it at some point.
  • Reply 5 of 32
    vfx2k4vfx2k4 Posts: 43member

    Fassbender's Jobs will blow away Kutcher's even though the latter technically looks closer to the real person. 

  • Reply 6 of 32
    I wonder if the child actors will look anything like their real life counterparts or do you think the film will skip over the part that Jobs / Apple made billions of dollars with child labor.
  • Reply 7 of 32
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    We'll see how it turns out. Looking just like their characters is hard to pull off, so we need to lenient there. But I'll be disappointed if the actors haven't taken the time to get their mannerisms down right.
  • Reply 8 of 32
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member
    randel77 wrote: »
    I wonder if the child actors will look anything like their real life counterparts or do you think the film will skip over the part that Jobs / Apple made billions of dollars with child labor.
    I think I detected a troll.
  • Reply 9 of 32
    xixoxixo Posts: 422member

    all this 'discussion' made me wonder about the film biography of a man Jobs is often compared to:

     

    image 

     

    (skip to 1:29)

     

     

    image 

     

    image 

     

    image 

     

    the DED talk could have been Real SJ talking...

  • Reply 10 of 32
    wvdirkwvdirk Posts: 20member

    Example 1 of "Edison the Man" is Tracy playing Manuel in Captains Courageous, not Thomas Edison...

    Yo Ho, Yo Ho, Little Fish don't cry...

  • Reply 11 of 32

    Why would they worry when creating a work of fiction?

  • Reply 12 of 32
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    ... and Morgan Freeman as Abraham Lincoln.
  • Reply 13 of 32
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post



    From the wall street journal:



    "Mr. Jobs’s allies, led by his widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, say the film “Steve Jobs,” and other recent depictions, play down his accomplishments and paint Mr. Jobs as cruel and inhumane. Ms. Jobs repeatedly tried to kill the film, according to people familiar with the conversations. She lobbied, among others, Sony Pictures Entertainment, which developed the script but passed on the movie for financial reasons, and Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures, which is releasing the $33.5 million production on Friday.



    “A whole generation is going to think of him in a different way if they see a movie that depicts him in a negative way,” said Bill Campbell, a longtime Apple board member and friend of Mr. Jobs. Mr. Campbell hasn't seen the film."





    Thats enough for me. If Jobs wife is against it so am I

    Oh come on, because of what Laurene Powell Jobs says, does and feels, you will follow in lock step with her?

     

    Same goes for everyone else who has an opinion on the film, yet hasn't seen it like Bill Campbell as you quoted.

     

    Good grief. I prefer to think for myself. Letting others do your thinking for you is not only lazy, but it is also scary.

     

    Once I see the movie, which I will at some point, I will formulate my own opinion.

     

    My suggestion to you is to do the same. You never know, you might like it. And if you never watch it, how will you really know that you don't like it? Because someone told you that you wouldn't?

  • Reply 14 of 32
    Ok so if this is not based on actual facts then there shouldn't be any problem placing that disclaimer at the front of the movie then. That solves that problem
    "this movie is loosely based on fictional situations that may or may not have actually taken place"
    That works for me

    Now should they have done it? There's one way to know for sure! Let's make a movie of Sorkin and add not only the actual stupid things he did say but for drantic purpose make up a bunch more and put it out. Let see if this works both ways. Will he object to us taking liberties with his life story using shit that "may or may not" have actually happened? If he's ok with widely made up crap and the movie is just his name. Will he feel ok with that? Any if he isn't ok can we wait till HE'S dead then put it out then so they'll be no push back?

    What if his Hollywood elitist don't like it? Does it still get to come out against their objections?

    Just sayin'. Good for the goose must be good for the gander.
  • Reply 15 of 32
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by razormaid View Post



    Ok so if this is not based on actual facts then there shouldn't be any problem placing that disclaimer at the front of the movie then. That solves that problem

    "this movie is loosely based on fictional situations that may or may not have actually taken place"

    That works for me



    Now should they have done it? There's one way to know for sure! Let's make a movie of Sorkin and add not only the actual stupid things he did say but for drantic purpose make up a bunch more and put it out. Let see if this works both ways. Will he object to us taking liberties with his life story using shit that "may or may not" have actually happened? If he's ok with widely made up crap and the movie is just his name. Will he feel ok with that? Any if he isn't ok can we wait till HE'S dead then put it out then so they'll be no push back?



    What if his Hollywood elitist don't like it? Does it still get to come out against their objections?



    Just sayin'. Good for the goose must be good for the gander.

    You make a fair point, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Fair is fair. To add another idiom, those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Although I am not sure how many people would care to go see a movie about Aaron Sorkin. 

     

    I might spend 90 minutes based on a barely quasi-accurate flick about Sorkin, but I would probably wait for it to hit TV or Netflix.

     

    I like the idea of "This movie is a fictional account based on real events" sort of thing that hangs on screen for a good 10 seconds before the movie rolls. That seems fair.

     

    But like I said in the other thread about this, Pirates of Silicon Valley took some license as well. And Jobs didn't seem to have any issue with that movie. It was made when he was alive, so there is no reason why this movie wouldn't also be made if he was still alive. We can only speculate if he would or would not approve. No one knows or will ever know.

  • Reply 16 of 32
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,461member

    I haven't seen the movie but I really disagree with the view that if people see an unsanitized version of Steve Jobs, that his influence will somehow be diminished or a new generation will fail to see him for his accomplishments. 

     

    One of the big problems with our society is we continually build up our hero's by hiding and accommodating their failings and often sooner rather than later, they fall victim to them. I'd love to have several good artists and people back with their failings rather than have had the groups around them feed them the lines that their own bullshit doesn't stink until they end up choking on it.

     

    Steve Jobs put off his treatment for pancreatic cancer for 9 MONTHS. Maybe a few more people willing to show him his ugliness, selfishness and irrationality there would have had him with us today. 

  • Reply 17 of 32
    I was actually ambivalent about seeing this film. Sorkin's interview (previously reported) put me off.

    After reading this blog, and seeing the (overwrought) comments above, I've decided it's a must-see. I'll decide for myself, and post my thoughts after I've seen it. I'll try to keep an open mind.
  • Reply 18 of 32
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,401member
    I was actually ambivalent about seeing this film. Sorkin's interview (previously reported) put me off.

    After reading this blog, and seeing the (overwrought) comments above, I've decided it's a must-see. I'll decide for myself, and post my thoughts after I've seen it. I'll try to keep an open mind.

    On the other hand, I just saw "The Martian" and I can recommend it without hesitation.
  • Reply 19 of 32
    I could not care less whether Jobs' wife likes the movie or not. I am a little skeptical, though, of Woz being played by Seth Rogen. Seth Rogen, of all people?
  • Reply 20 of 32
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TechLover View Post



    Oh come on, because of what Laurene Powell Jobs says, does and feels, you will follow in lock step with her?



    Same goes for everyone else who has an opinion on the film, yet hasn't seen it like Bill Campbell as you quoted.



    Good grief. I prefer to think for myself. Letting others do your thinking for you is not only lazy, but it is also scary.



    Once I see the movie, which I will at some point, I will formulate my own opinion.



    My suggestion to you is to do the same. You never know, you might like it. And if you never watch it, how will you really know that you don't like it? Because someone told you that you wouldn't?




    Laurene knows Jobs more than any of us. And especially more than a bunch of hollywood types looking for a quick buck.



    This is not about thinking for yourself. This is about showing respect and decency to the family of Jobs. When there is a movie authorized by Jobs family then I will watch it.

    Well suit yourself. Then don't see it.

     

    If you think that you are taking some sort of moral high ground by never watching the movie, that is up to you. And if you want to wait for an authorized version that is also up to you.

     

    Meanwhile anyone who is remotely interested in the subject matter will get over themselves and will check it out. You know why? Because people like us are Apple fans and we liked Steve Jobs, and anything regarding both Apple and Jobs is worth our attention. Good or bad. Authorized or not.

     

    Ignorance is bliss. Go ahead and wait for your authorization from on high. I'm going to check it out. I don't concern myself with some sort of imagined respect for the family of fictionalized depictions of anyone. I enjoyed Pirates of Silicon Valley. Seemed Jobs did too as he invited Noah Wyle onstage for the 1999 Macworld keynote. The number of movies that have been made that are fictionalized and unauthorized by the family of the main subject are too numerous to count and many of them make for decent movies. Some are also turds. You never know until you see it for yourself.

     

    I think in the end that curiosity will get the best of you. My bet is that even though you may never admit it, you will not be able to resist seeing it. Especially when everyone around here and people you know in real life see it and the opinions start rolling in. You will never be able to have an opinion about it if you don't see it other than "I never saw it out of respect for the family." 

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