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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