Photo: Movie screenshot
Noah Wyle, perhaps most famous for his role on ER, played Steve Jobs in “The Pirates of Silicon Valley,” a made-for-TV movie that tells the story of the birth of the personal computer business.The movie went on to become something of a cult hit among the tech crowd, but it’s recently been re-aired in memory of Steve Jobs.
Wyle had the pleasure of meeting Jobs several times, even impersonating him on stage during a MacWorld convention.
Here’s Noah Wyle speaking to Fortune contributor David A. Kaplan in April 2009 about his experience with Jobs (reprinted with permission):
I had apprehensions of playing Jobs in “Pirates of Silicon Valley.” TNT was really excited about me taking the part, but I had worries I usually didn’t have as an actor. I knew something about him and I had the script, but I couldn’t really get a beat on the guy until they sent me the documentary, “Revenge of the Nerds.” Then it was “Ohmigod! I’ve never seen anything like this. I have to play this guy.” I was so taken by his presence, his confidence, smugness, smartness, ego, and his story’s trajectory. He seemed to be the most Shakespearean figure in American culture in the last 50 years I could think of – the rise of, the fall of, and the return of. The truest definition of a tragic hero—but you get the ‘bonus round’ that F. Scott Fitzgerald said didn’t exist. Jobs has had one hell of a second act.
We were under a very strict directive not to contact the people we were playing for fear that they would find something libelous in the script and shut the production down. So I didn’t. The day after the movie aired [in 1999], I was sitting in my living room and my phone, with what I thought was my unlisted phone number, rang.