Painting a complex portrait of Steve Jobs

Writing about Steve Jobs would be a dream gig for any A-list screenwriter, right?

It’s a great story that encompasses many great elements of drama, and Jobs is obviously not a one dimensional character by any stretch of the imagination. He was very complicated, to say the least, and that’s what any screenwriter worth their salt would love to tackle.

Then again, writing a story this important, and complicated can also be a screenwriter’s nightmare. It’s not a simple story, Jobs is not easy to capture on the page, and yes there’s tons of great elements that any highly-skilled screenwriter would relish, it’s a very complex puzzle to try and solve for the silver screen.


So sure, Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing, and writer of The Social Network and A Few Good Men, must have been honored to be the first choice to write what’s sure to be a major movie event for Sony.

Then again, you can’t blame him for getting cold feet either. 

As reported on Deadline, Sorkin said, “It is a little like writing about The Beatles.”


Indeed, it is difficult to “shake the cradle to grave” arc of the book, and that he wants to “identify the point of friction that appeals to me,” and in the life of Jobs there were plenty of points of friction for sure. Friction that launched the company that changed the world, friction among his co-workers, friction as he tried to pass his innovations to the masses, and so on.


Sorkin also added that a biopic should be “a painting, not a photograph,” and as to who could possibly play Jobs in the film? Sorkin says he has no idea, but emphasized that anyone representing Jobs would have to “talk fast and be smart,” and he joked, “good actors are hard to find.”

Certainly a lot of the right elements have to be in place for the life of Jobs to hit the big screen, and a great screenplay from Sorkin should be a great foundation to build on, but there’s still plenty of heavy lifting to do from there.