Less than 24 hours after the news of Steve Jobs‘ death, Hollywood is discussing options for immortalizing him on film.
The frontrunner for source material: Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson‘s forthcoming biography of the Apple founder, out November 21.
The kneejerk optioning of the book is inevitable — actually getting a movie into the theatres will be trickier.
And maybe it shouldn’t happen at all.
For starters, there’s the fact that there’s already a movie about Jobs — Noah Wyle played him in TNT’s “Pirates of Silicon Valley” in 1999. (Click here to see the great moments from that film.)
More importantly, though: struggling to cast someone who can live up to the real Jobs, wrestling the scores of interviews in Isaacon’s book into a cinematic narrative, dramatizing the tech business (paging David Fincher) — it might be a big waste of time.
Not just because it’s always difficult capturing a legend close to the time of his demise — but also because there’s a bigger opportunity here: the chance to let the true story speak for itself.
Most of the past decade’s top-grossing documentaries came from either Michael Moore or exotic animals.
Only one of the top 10 was about a person, and that person is Justin Bieber.
Jobs, though, is a rare perfect fit with the genre. Yes, he lived an exciting life of innovation and historical importance, but it’s not just that.
Jobs was a visionary of one generation who achieved near-worshipful relevance with a younger one.
If a film on his life is put into the right hands, those young people will turn out in droves to see it.
But when the lights go down, it’s not some Oscar winner’s face they’ll want to see filling the screen. It’s Jobs’s persistently impish mug — so cancel the casting call.
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