Aaron Sorkin Reveals Unique Story Structure for Steve Jobs Biopic; Film Will Be Made Up of Three 30-Minute Scenes [Updated with Video]

     November 15, 2012


Much interest has surrounded Sony’s biopic of the late innovator Steve Jobs, but it now looks like we have a clear idea of what to expect when the film eventually hits theaters.  The Oscar-winning The Social Network scribe Aaron Sorkin has been tasked with crafting the screenplay for the adaptation of Walter Isaacson’s biography Steve Jobs, and he previously revealed that his film won’t be a straight biography “because it’s very difficult to shake the cradle-to-grave structure of a biography.”

Many assumed the eschewing of the cradle-to-grave structure meant that Sorkin’s film would focus on a short period of time in Jobs’ life, but now the West Wing creator has revealed that he’s got something wholly unique in mind for the film’s structure: three 30-minute scenes that will play out in real time.  Hit the jump for more. [Update: We've updated the article with video of Sorkin talking about the film.]

steve-jobs-ipodSpeaking at The Daily Beast’s “Hero” conference (via Business Insider), Sorkin revealed that he will “structure the film around three 30-minute scenes all set right before three major product launches.”  The products that will be featured are The Mac, NeXT, and the iPod.  The scribe revealed that the scenes will play out in real time, which suggests that the entire feature film will be made up of three, 30-minute scenes.

To put it mildly, this is a ballsy move on Sorkin’s part.  In any other writer’s hands I might be rather worried, but I have faith that Sorkin can make this work (The Newsroom notwithstanding).  This is, after all, the guy who teamed up with director David Fincher to make a “Facebook movie” that struck a chord with both audiences and critics, becoming a frontrunner for the Best Picture trophy.

The three-scene structure actually provides an interesting avenue to explore three different periods of Jobs’ life.  The launch of The Mac put Jobs on the map and began his legendary career run, NeXT was founded by Jobs shortly after he resigned/was forced out of Apple, and the iPod changed the way we listened to music forever and became the launching pad for a revolutionary set of portable devices.

There’s no word on how soon the Steve Jobs film might get off the ground, but with Sorkin hard at work on the second season of The Newsroom I imagine the project’s timetable depends on whether he’s already completed a draft of the script.  Either way, this theater-like approach to Jobs’ life will need one hell of a director and leading actor to stick the landing (much like The Social Network).  Hopefully we hear more soon, but for now I’m both intrigued and excited by this development.


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  • Pocketses

    This could be REALLY interesting and a bit of a risk.

    But if Sorkin is involved, I’m 10000% sold. He has NEVER done wrong in my eyes. Sports Night and Studio 60 are 2 of my 3 favorite shows ever aired, and Social Network is one of the best movies in the last 5 years in my eyes. Newsroom is the current best show on TV…it all just adds up. The guy can write anything and make it amazing and entertaining.

    I’ve long been wanting to see him do a film strictly on the Hollywood black list, as the Hollywood Ten stuff he wrote in S60 was so compelling, I’d be interested in his retelling of what events we know of from that time.

    But for now, I’ll wait for Newsroom 2.0 and this new flick.

    • Weeks

      Not to mention Moneyball. Sorkin was probably the only guy capable of adapting that so well.

  • Brett

    I love Sorkin but this has a high probability of being awful.

    • Steve

      Due to….?

      • Brett

        It being a stupid idea.

  • ari

    Christian Bale could be a terrific Steve Jobs.

    • Tyler


  • Collin V.

    I’m actually excited for this now! Who knows, maybe it’ll be better than the one with Ashton Kutcher.

    • Moneyman555666

      Steve jobs is my hero!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Thomas K.

    I LOVE Sorkin. But this is the MOST Disappointing thing I’ve ever heard of.

    Steve Jobs was an Amazing, a terrible, troubled, confident, conflicted, intelligent, caring, happy, peaceful, inspiring, and extremely important individual. He deserves much more then just three scenes that will show this. He deserves a true biopic. A 3-hour epic, even. This man’s life is a truly amazing story that needs to be told to fullest and most complete capability possible.

    I highly recommend you pick up his biography if you haven’t.

  • Chad

    When will Sorkin learn he’s writing for the cinema, not the stage? Everything he does is so talky and self-aggrandizing, it’s not cinematic AT ALL. The Newsroom is a major fail – I’ve worked in one and it’s nothing like what he shows us, not to mention the fact that every character talks exactly the same… if the janitor and the intern are as smart and witty as the top anchor, what’s the use in having him?

    • Pocketses

      Then it’s a good thing there are no other shows ever that have had people like doctors, lawyers, police officers, judges, teachers, students and other real-world positions acting or behaving in a way that isn’t 100% accurate. There is no other over-reaching writing going on, the whole world other than Sorkin’s work is exactly as it is portrayed IN CINEMA.

      He writes entertaining dramatic pieces. If they’re not for you, fine, but don’t try to come off sounding high and mighty or above it, tastes differ, deal with it. I happen to know there is a large contingent of people who don’t want him to change his style, especially not to pander to a closed-minded jackass such as yourself.

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