On the surface, the news is strange: an Aaron Sorkin-penned script – an ambitious one, to boot! – about one of the modern world’s great visionaries just can’t get made. But upon closer examination, it seems clear that Sony’s Steve Jobs biopic was never going to pan out. With the news (via Variety) that Sony has effectively tossed their long-gestating project into a teensy, tiny trash can somewhere (perhaps someone just slid their mouse over an icon, clicked, held, and moved?), it seems as if this feature may never come to fruition. News that Universal may pick up the feature is initially heartening, but we’ve got a better idea: just don’t make it.
Or, perhaps more accurately – and yes, far less salaciously – just don’t make it as is.
We’ve previously covered the film’s long and winding road to the big screen, and you can refresh yourself with that right here. Since its initial publishing mere weeks ago, still more things have happened in unhappy biopic land, including the seemingly official addition of Christian Bale, the addition of Seth Rogen, the eventual loss of Bale and rumors that Michael Fassbender would come on board to play Jobs.
The still-untitled feature (and, yes, we seriously doubt that Sony – or anyone else – would saddle the film with the moniker Jobs, making it even more obvious that it was following the footsteps of the remarkably nonessential Ashton Kutcher-starring Jobs) has been through almost countless incarnations, none of which have panned out. Perhaps it’s time to abandon big screen dreams for the feature and try one of two options:
1. Shelf it. Come back to it later. Try again. Uh, later.
2. Take it to television.
That first choice stand on its own, even if it’s not exactly appealing. The Kutcher-starring Jobs was, again, by no means essential, and even though it beat the Sorkin project to the big screen, the problems that the Sorkin project have had in getting made don’t seem to be tied up in “been there, done that” territory. Sorkin’s vision for the script is a fresh one, and not just as it applies to Jobs, but as it applies to the biopic genre in general. It should be made, but perhaps not right now, when it already has such a rocky reputation surrounding it.
Sorkin’s script reportedly plays out in three parts, “three thirty-minute scenes that are all set in the lead-up to three major Apple product launches. Those three launches? The original Macintosh computer (1984), the NeXT Cube (1990), and the original iPod (2001).” Now what could we possibly do with three thirty-minute scenes?
Hey, what about a miniseries? Sorkin’s track record with television isn’t nearly as strong as his film work, but why not bridge that gap with a television version of big screen script? Take it to HBO and call it a day, people.
There’s also this: by setting the film up as a feature film, the project all but begs for the sort of A-list name to lead it that the film has already cycled through. If an A-lister like Bale or DiCaprio or a rising major like Fassbender can’t make this work, who else is left? Take it to television and perhaps look for a less-well-known actor – an emerging star! just like we normally find on television! – to take up the role. Then, churn out three episodes, call it a special series, and watch the accolades pour in (well, we’re assuming here). Why keep hacking away at something that hasn’t panned out – and not for lack of trying and talent – for entire years?
In the meantime, we can all go watch Jobs. Or, well, not.
What do you think should be done with this biopic?