Aaron Sorkin, the Oscar-winning screenwriter behind the new “Steve Jobs” movie, doesn’t know exactly what genre the film about the Apple co-founder falls into.
But he knows it’s not a traditional biopic.
During a Q&A Monday evening, the writer (“The West Wing,” “The Social Network”) said he didn’t set out to write a biopic of the late Apple co-founder for two reasons: the audience is too familiar with the structure, and he didn’t think he’d be able to do it well.
“I didn’t want to do the cradle to grave story where we land on the greatest hits along the way,” Sorkin said following a press screening in Manhattan on Monday evening. “I didn’t think I’d be able to do that well. I think it’s a structure that’s familiar to audiences. I think that all of you would have come into the theatre assuming you were going to see — the first scene will be a little boy and his father and they’re looking through the window of an electronics store. And Steve’s going to meet Woz and they’re going to start inventing.”
Sorkin joked that audiences already know how a traditional biopic unfolds.
“You know the structure of it. Somewhere toward the end of the second act they get a drug or alcohol addiction, and in the third act they make their greatest album ever. I knew that I didn’t want to do that,” he joked. “I wanted to do something else.”
Sorkin, who was joined on Monday after the screening by director Danny Boyle, described coming to his decision about the type of story he wanted to tell — set in three acts, which all take place in the minutes before Steve Jobs introduces new products — as a “serpentine thought process.”
He credited Boyle, who has won eight Academy Awards, as a “visual master” who not only gave the movie “visual interest,” but also got “great performances out of a group of great actors.”
“Steve Jobs” opens in a limited release October 9.
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