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Laurene Powell Jobs tried to block the Steve Jobs movie, saying it painted him as inhumane [Updated]

Steve Jobs and Laurene Powell at the The Museum of Modern Art in New York, New York (Photo by Brian Ach/WireImage)

The WSJ reports that Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs repeatedly tried to block production of the Sorkins/Boyle movie Steve Jobs.

Ms. Jobs repeatedly tried to kill the film, according to people familiar with the conversations. She lobbied, among others, Sony Pictures Entertainment, which developed the script but passed on the movie for financial reasons, and Universal Pictures, which is releasing the $33.5 million production on Friday … 

The paper reports that she felt that the script played down his accomplishments and portrayed Jobs as “cruel and inhumane.” The studio says that she was offered the opportunity to be involved in the development of the movie, but she declined. She also declined a private viewing prior to release on condition that she not comment publicly until it opened.

“She refused to discuss anything in Aaron’s script that bothered her despite my repeated entreaties,” producer Scott Rudin said in an emailed response to questions from the WSJ. He said Ms. Jobs “continued to say how much she disliked the book, and that any movie based on the book could not possibly be accurate.”

Bill Campbell, longtime friend and former Apple board member, said that the movie depicted Jobs in “a negative way” and wasn’t fair because “he’s not there to defend himself.” Tim Cook had previously described the movie as “opportunistic” and “not a great part of our world” – which led to scriptwriter Aaron Sorkin first hitting back and later apologizing.

The movie is clearly dividing views amongst those who knew Jobs well. While observing that the movie doesn’t accurately describe events, Steve Wozniak– who was reportedly paid $200k as a consultant – said that he “felt like he was actually watching Steve Jobs.” Macintosh system software designer Andy Hertzfeld commented that the movie “deviates from reality everywhere” but “exposes deeper truths” about the man. Sorkin reportedly described it as “a painting, not a photograph,” while director Danny Boyle said that “the truth is not necessarily in the facts, it’s in the feel.”

Steve Jobs goes on general release on October 9th.

Speaking of true-or-false Steve Jobs stories, Woz was a guest on The Tonight Show recently, inviting Jimmy Fallon and Seth Rogen to guess whether it was true that the two Steves were once held up at gunpoint outside a pizza place.

Photo: Brian Ach/WireImage

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  1. AeronPeryton - 7 years ago

    This movie has quickly gone from an I don’t know, to a Definitely not for me.

    • Why – because it criticises Steve Jobs, and shows him as a flawed genius, like every single person who has ever made a massive difference to the world?

      Incredible how grown adults hero worship someone they have never known and are unable to stomach any sleight against them. Just like religion, except this isn’t The Last Temptation of Christ.

      • rogifan - 7 years ago

        No because there’s an over emphasis on Steve the jerk, Steve the jackass and very little on how Steve grew and became a better person after marrying Laurene, buying Pixar and coming back to Apple.

      • Matt (@apple4ever) - 7 years ago

        I knew I was never going to be a fan of this movie. Sorkin cares more about feel than truth- that was clear in the FaceBook movie. I don’t mind showing Steve’s bad side- he had it and nobody is denying that- but only focusing on that and not the truth is just wrong.

        Sorkin sucks.

      • Well for me, its gone from def no to maybe, now in light of her comments. See I thought the book was fair. Ive read it twice. But all the trailers Ive seen of the movie, doesn’t scream fair in any sense. And you have to be fair. You have to be fair, like the book was in illustrating the good and the bad. Most everyone knows he had flaws and was kind of a jerk at times. But the trailers and TV spots, makes him out to be the biggest bad guy this year since Ultron.

    • scumbolt2014 - 7 years ago

      I agree. And add to thIs the track record of every other movie that has been made about Jobs, everyone is horrible. I was considering seeing this, but won’t now to support his widow Lauren Powell.

  2. lkrupp215 - 7 years ago

    What’s with the Wozniak popularity? He was a one trick pony who has produced 0.00000 since his Apple I and II series thirty years ago. He has started a couple of failed businesses. He talks a lot of nonsense about stuff he knows nothing about. But apparently he is a nice guy. If Sorkin made a movie about Wozniak it would be about 3 minutes long.

    • Joe - 7 years ago

      I love Woz. He’s brilliant, but yeah I think he’s a little upset that everyone obsesses over Jobs and not him. And I think it’s convenient that he said it was really accurate except when it showed him in a bad light. How convenient, it’s accurate when it portrays the bad side of Steve (which was real) but it’s inaccurate when it shows Woz in a bad light….

      Unfortunately showing Steve in a good light just isn’t interesting enough for people. Nobody cares about writing “Apple is doing great!” articles, but they get millions of clicks for “Apple is doomed!”. That’s just news 101. Nobody cares about good news.

  3. haha you people are hilarious. Nothing but Apple sheep. This movie isn’t going to show anything we didn’t already know about Steve. He was brilliant. And sometime with brilliance comes unrelenting cruelty. I’ll be seeing this one.

  4. vkd108 - 7 years ago

    America has its fair share of Jackasses: John McInroe, Jello Biafra (are those 2 the same person?), Steve Jobs (pre Lauren seemingly), etc.

  5. What I don’t understand why all Steve Jobs movies end long time before iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad. This movie end in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac, so all the great stuff that happened in the 2000s still needs a movie. Hopefully one with an actor who looks at least a bit like Steve Jobs.

  6. Paul Andrew Dixon - 7 years ago

    The fact is, we all know that he did some crappy things in his life… but considering he is still loved by many, that he is still a big part of Apple, that friends and family are still mourning their loss, that he only died 4 years ago – you’d think they’d be more sensitive…

    Worse is that sorkin has said he never knew jobs and actually knew very little about him – yet he decides to make a movie about him…

    on top of all that, the movie is being brought out around the time of steves death…

    Steve was a nob in the early days… he was young and an egotistical tw@… he screwed his best friend, thought he was above everyone, and was power mad — but thats partly because he was never truly appreciated in the early days of apple, he was treated like the kid he was and he didnt like it… he learnt the hard way and lost everything practically…
    And yes, in his immature state he wasnt ready to be a father and never really accepted that because let’s face it, having a baby does put your life on hold and for many parents they have to stop being selfish and thus not be able to do what they want (which often means shattered dreams)

    BUT as he grew he learnt from people… he began to make up for his mistakes… he began show casing the people in team and crediting them for their work…look how he help Ive… he brought people together who shared the same vision, who were equally passionate about creating something – he didnt want money grabbers, or people wanting to copy everyone else, or produce average stuff – he wanted us to feel special and to make the product feel special… he became a man and accepted being a father and made up for that… he learnt to love and to care….

    We all make mistakes, we dont always get along with everyone – even i remember days in school when i had people i wanted to work with and people i didnt want to work with…

    no one is saying there should be a move that is just about the good things… but there doesnt need to be a movie thats just about, or mostly about, the bad things…

    Sorkin started with a biopic, but turned it in to a money grabbing film that is partly fictional… he filled in the gaps … after all, those closes to jobs dont want anything to do with this film – yet their the people who knew him the most…so the only people left are the ones who didnt like steve…

    Maybe it would have been better to have released it next spring… not around his death… it’s poor taste

  7. ozoth (@ozoth) - 7 years ago

    In “The Social Network” Sorkin took many liberties with the facts, especially with regard to Zuckerberg’s social life at Harvard – but the movie is great largely as a result of these distortions. You just have to keep in mind that Sorkin is creating entertainment and is ALLOWED to do these things, to a point. I look forward to seeing the movie. I don’t know that anyone will ever be able to describe Steve Jobs accurately – what an amazing person!

  8. André Hedegaard - 7 years ago

    Laurene tries to block a movie about her estranged husband. I guess rich people have their own problems in life, especially fantasy self-created ones.


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Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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