13 November 2015

Will Steve Jobs Sync With UK Audiences? Hear the cast talk about the film’s most distinctive qualities

By Danny Kelly | Categorised in Film Festival Diary, Industry Interviews, Cinema news, Film News

It may come across as funny to some that a film so indebted to failed launches would itself trip at the first hurdle. Reports of Danny Boyle’s latest semi-biopic, Steve Jobshaving a glitchy start at the U.S box office have been widely reported, surprising many who thought the impressively casted film, about the man behind one of history’s most ubiquitous brands, would sync with audiences like the similar The Social Network did during its opening weekend.

The film gets its UK release today and it would be a shame if audiences pay attention to news reports over the majority of critical response. After seeing the film at this year’s BFI London Film Festival, our verdict was that the three-act melodrama was suprisingly sustinct, was bold in its refusal to adhere to fact, and creatively had some effective attention to detail. Whether Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s rapid dialogue is to your taste or not, it’s a thoroughly engaging two hour ride.

We were also lucky enough to attend the film’s London press conference last month where Boyle, Sorkin, and most of the cast warmly discussed their experiences of working on the feature. Below you can read what they had to say about some of the film’s most distinctive qualities.

On Screenwriting

Aaron Sorkin: I’m most comfortable as a playwright. I feel I fake my way through movies, but I like language a lot. By parents started taking me to see plays when I was very little. I loved the sound of dialogue, it sounded like music to me, and so I wanted to imitate that sound. I don’t have much of a visual sense at all so I find my way through with language. I also like very claustrophobic spaces and compressed periods of time. All those things factored in to creating a movie like this.

On Sorkin

Jeff Daniels: It is its own language in way, but it’s just more work before you show up at six in the morning to shoot. You have to do that work to get so on top of it that it’s second nature. Its a lot more memorization so that when you walk in on the day you are ready to hit it. You certainly don’t have to do that on every movie, but you have to do it on an Aaron Sorkin script.

Michael Stuhlbarg: There is a remarkable ability on Aaron’s part to condense so much information and make it so thrilling and to rise to a dramatic place. There is so much that goes by so quickly, but so much is included. What Aaron does so well is take something substantial and real, and re-imagine it to give it a different kind of life.

On the Importance of Rehersal

Michael Fassbender: We had two weeks rehearsal before we started the first act, then we went away and filmed it in two weeks. Then we had two weeks to prep the second act, and then filmed again in two weeks, and so forth with the third. I mean that’s unheard of because the accountant is going ape shit. Coming from a theatre background he [Danny] realised the importance of that: we would have been well rehearsed, we would have tried out and done our mistakes, got to really feel it with one another as actors and then shoot fast and effectively on the day.


L-R Danny Boyle, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels & Aaron Sorkin.

On Shooting Format

Danny Boyle: We shot the first act on 16mm because it was the earliest act and because the way Michael [Fassbender] did it felt like a guy fighting all these impossible forces that were stopping him getting to this vision and it felt like a rough, homemade version. Then we moved to 35mm for the second act, which is a beautiful storytelling act, and it felt beautiful for the opera house. Then we moved to digital for the third act, which is set in 1998. It also helps the actors if you shoot on an inferior format like 16mm when they are trying to play a bit younger then themselves.

On Historical Accuracy

Aaron Sorkin: If you asked a thousand people for their impressions of Steve Jobs, I think you’d get a thousand different impressions. What you don’t see in this movie is a dramatic recreation of his Wikipedia page. What you see is a dramatization of several of the public conflicts that he had in his life, and they give you a picture of something. Are they fair? I do believe they’re fair. My conscious is clear and I don’t think I would have done anything that was unfair. Generally speaking Steve Jobs did not – as far as I know – have confrontations with the same six people forty minutes before every product launch. That’s plainly a writer’s conceit.

I do think the movie gets at some larger, more important truths then what really went on in the forty minutes before a product launch, which I don’t think was the stuff of drama.

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