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Steve Jobs movie director declares Apple has ‘terrifying power’

Director Danny Boyle with the cast of Steve Jobs

Director Danny Boyle with the cast of Steve Jobs

Despite the film being based on Walter Isaacson’s authorized Steve Jobs biography, the upcoming Aaron Sorkin-written biopic telling the story of the late Apple co-founder isn’t being totally welcomed by Tim Cook and company. As we’ve seen play out over the last few weeks, the Apple CEO called recent movies including Sorkin’s that depict Jobs in a not entirely positive light as “opportunistic”. A counter punch then apology from Sorkin followed.

The film’s director Danny Boyle isn’t softening his words, however, calling Apple a company with “tremendous, terrifying power” in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter promoting the film. Boyle believes artists should keep corporations like Apple in check, so to speak:

“These companies are so powerful now that governments are running scared,” Boyle says. “They have such influence around the world, they’ve replaced petrochemical companies, pharmaceutical companies, they’re bigger than all of them put together and they have tremendous, terrifying power and it’s important that artists and writers are not cowed by them and if that means they’re accused of being opportunistic then so be it.”

He adds: “It’s important that we put these people in the spotlight for the reasons of their own business reasons or visionary reasons and we need to keep an eye on them.”

Aside from Boyle describing his view on the responsibility entertainers have to keep giant companies accountable, Sorkin talks about some of the backstory behind the film’s production including the shift from Sony to Universal:

“Danny wanted to shoot in San Francisco, but shooting in San Francisco added $8 million to the budget, and the movie was only supposed to cost about $25-30 million,” he tells THR. “The studio was saying, ‘No you can’t shoot in San Francisco. So Scott Rudin said, ‘Give me the movie back for a week, let me shop it around for a week, you have to let us do that.’ And Amy Pascal said ‘I’ll give it to you for a week’. Less than 24 hours later Universal had taken it and at the same time Amy was saying ‘I’ve made a big mistake you can do it in San Francisco.”

But Sorkin says by this time there was “so much bad blood between Scott and Amy” that it stayed with Universal.

You can read the full interview on THR. Steve Jobs hits select theaters on Friday followed by a full release on October 23rd.

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  1. If Apple has such terrifying power, how did the movie get made?

    • Charlypollo - 7 years ago

      Your logic is flawless. You must be the new Aristotle.

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        Sorry but he has a point. Job’s wife didn’t want it made. She has massive power at Apple.

      • Gregory Wright - 7 years ago

        The First Amendment (free speech and freedom expression) can’t be curtaiedl just because someone is made to look bad.

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        @Gregory umm no one is curating it? Hence the numerous inaccurate accounts of Job’s? From the books to the movies.. It’s Mrs. Job’s first amendment right to call out the garbage inaccuracies and opportunistic film, and her disdain for it, and her wanting for it not to exist.

        It’s all inaccurate in numerous ways, but it’s all there to make them money. Nothing more. When you introduce greed, bias comes into play very strongly. If there was no money, or time involved, then you may get a much more accurate depiction.

    • Jonny - 7 years ago

      @o0smoothies0o Given the context in the sentence, I think he was typing ‘curtailed’ (as in reduced), not curated.

  2. Bryan Conn (@4bryan) - 7 years ago

    The “movie director declares Apple has ‘terrifying power'” is the second highest level of power, just below, “movie director refuses to declare Apple has ‘terrifying power'”.

  3. markbyrn (@markbyrn) - 7 years ago

    so a major propagandist of the fourth estate (Pot) is calling out Apple (Kettle) for having terrifying power – hilarious!

  4. Rich Davis (@RichDavis9) - 7 years ago

    Terrifying power? hahahahaha. That’s the most ridiculous statement I’ve heard. They aren’t a monopoly like Microsoft, and they just know how to run their company better than the others. They have influence, but not terrifying power.

    • Samuel A. Maffei - 7 years ago

      Um, Apple is the biggest company in the world now (bigger than Exxon / Mobile). How can you assert that they don’t have “terrifying power”?

      Apple could buy a movie studio if the wanted to (a much smaller Comcast did, Universal). That is power.

  5. paulywalnuts23 - 7 years ago

    All this is, is free advertising nothing more nothing less.

  6. Rich Davis (@RichDavis9) - 7 years ago

    Hollywood is always doing something as a publicity stunt. calling Apple with Terrifying Power is just another publicity stunt. Freaking Hollywood retards.

  7. I agree that tech is replacing oil as the industrial superpowers of our time and that it is the role or journalists and artists to shine a light on what they’re doing, but terrifying? Running scared? That’s more than just a little hyperbolic.

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      Hahaha artists aren’t shining a light on anything. They only are making a movie to sell tickets. If you think you’re going to get an accurate account of what happened. I feel bad for you.

      Journalists today are also garbage, it’s all about money, and the money isn’t coming from shining a light on nefarious actions by companies or Wall Street douches (most of which are bought off from being publicized). The money is coming from 24hr coverage of horrific school shootings, or devastating national disasters. Humans are a naturally violent species, and death and destruction and violence sells. It’s not seen as bad, because it’s described as ‘news’, but 24hr coverage of a school shooting for weeks is really evil because they are covering death and drama for as long as the ratings support it over a panda’s birth. It’s a really sad society, but it’s just human nature in every aspect, from greed to violence and drama.

  8. o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

    What a pathetic moron. One look at that guy and you can tell he is a stupid douche. Apple has such terrifying power to not allow the government to read people’s private messages and have all of their private information!! They’re the devil!!! They’re pure evil!!

    What a publicity stunt from a butt-hurt director called out for his opportunistic, inaccurate film.

    Any intelligent person knows that Hollywood does everything for money. That is all. Sure, there are many people that want to make good, entertaining films too, like dicaprio, scoresese, hanks, cruise, but the people that actually give the go-ahead, the people that actually allow for the films to be made, want only the maximum profit (as seen by that moron Amy Pascal’s email exchange). It matters not how accurate a film is, the only thing that matters is how entertaining is it, how many people will they get to pay money and view it.

    • samuelsnay - 7 years ago

      Dude calm down. He insulted Apple, not your family.

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        It’s not about Apple haha. Apple is stupid as hell too. They removed swiping from the finder in Mavericks, that was just sad. Thankfully they realized how stupid that was and out it back in Yosemite. However, they clearly don’t know how to do swiping navigation in general because occasionally it works in things like system preferences, but then it doesn’t, and in iTunes it works (albeit badly) but only with two fingers, as opposed to three fingers and two fingers.

        16GB base storage is ridiculous.

        The pressure needed to peek and pop multitasking switcher is idiotic, it should be far less, pressure should be ignored out onto the screen, and slight swiping shouldn’t ignore the real intent of 3D Touch gesture. So many many bad things I could go over but it would be pointless.

    • vamseenunna - 7 years ago

      yep, the guy with a Oscar and several critically acclaimed films is stupid. You nailed it!

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        Yes oscar’s mean something!! It’s not at all political.

  9. zcforlife - 7 years ago

    I’ll give it to him that big companies need to be kept in check, however, that’s not Apple. There’s a difference between a company manipulating their way to the top, and a company pinned as doing that just so the producers make money. I agree with Tim Cook that these movies are opportunistic, and try to only show Jobs’ negatives. Although this makes for good entertainment, it does it at the expense of the image of a dead man. John Sculley (who took over Apple when Jobs departed) even defended Jobs. My two cents is that Sorkin tried to make a Jobs biopic, tried to add his own flare to it, and in the end, ended up completely deviating from truth. At this point, all this movie is, is a mere fictitious depiction of a late CEO with the end goal of earning profit out of Jobs’ name attached to the project.

  10. kittykatta - 7 years ago

    The deflection and excuse making we see in the comments is exactly why Apple has “terrifying power”.

    The company itself is a powerhouse but they exercise their strength with moderation. But where you see the “terrifying” part is in the fans that are constantly looking for fights with anyone who dares say a negative word (and that includes cannibalizing their own fellow users).

    This sense that “Buying an Apple product makes you part of Apple” is scary stuff because people don’t identify themselves WITH Apple, they consider themselves that they ARE Apple.

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      What a moronic comment. The commenters are pointing out BS because they’re intelligent enough to know that this douche dorector is all sad because he’s been labeled as opportunistic and his work isn’t accurate. He’s also causing more drama for publicity for his film.

      • zcforlife - 7 years ago

        You just proved her argument.. people need to realize that they’re NOT Apple. Fans are going to protect their fanbases, just like Samsung fans are going to defend Samsung products.

        On the flip side though @kittykatta , @oOsmoothiesOo is right, this isn’t Apple fans protecting Apple, this is people calling out bullshit

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        I didn’t prove her argument. I love Apple products, they’re by far the best products, but I could name numerous stupid things they’ve done, and things I would change about the hardware/software. It’s about truths, it’s about facts. Not everything someone says or does is in defense of some other thing. Sometimes people do things in defense of the truth, in defense of facts, in defense of science, in defense of calling out BS.

      • @dannypwins - 7 years ago

        You’re looking very childish throwing all these insults around..

  11. Don Horne (@DonHorne) - 7 years ago

    Years ago I remember reading that “of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations while only 49 are countries, based on a comparison of corporate sales and country GDPs”. It would be foolish to dismiss Danny Boyle’s comments just because he specifically named Apple.

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      His comments are immediately dismissible. If the government chose to, they could go in, take all of apple’s servers and confiscate it all for whatever reasons they choose. Assuming they agreed on doing so.

      People need to be more intelligent, and realize when someone is saying something for their own personal benifit. He is causing drama for publicity, and because he’s sad about his film not being depicted as something more than entertainment.

      • zcforlife - 7 years ago

        Clearly you have no understanding of the law… The government can’t just go in and confiscate servers for no apparent reason, thats called stealing. Your argument is that, if Apple was a country, the U.S, should invade just for the hell of it.

        You also need to understand that corporations are also multinationally based, meaning not all of their servers are in the U.S.

        I completely agree with you on that he’s only doing it for publicity, but you can’t say his comments are dismissible just because you don’t agree with them.

      • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

        You missed the part where I said ‘assuming they agreed on doing so.’ Of course they can’t go do it right now, but if they decided to pass legislation that declared they need all information to stop terrorism and criminality then they could do just that. Haven’t you seen the comments from power hungry idiotic politicians and people in power at the FBI? They have been calling out Apple for making user information so secure and private. They want a backdoor to the information and Apple won’t give them that. One of them, who should be beaten to death for his stupidity actually said Apple could one day be responsible for a child’s death. I mean that’s one of the stupidest comments ever, coming from someone in power at the FBI or in Washington, I forget which, and that’s just scary how dumb that person is.

  12. Jake Becker - 7 years ago

    What happened? I was busy planning getting my silver 6S this weekend, sorry.

  13. hodar0 - 7 years ago

    I guess it’s a good thing that Apple is doomed …. doomed ….. doomed. (at least, that’s what I read, over and over again).

  14. Jim Hassinger - 7 years ago

    Yeah, the Apple veeps and Mrs. Powell didn’t like it, and they made the movie anyway — don’t get me wrong, they should make it — and no doubt it will be on iTunes. The unflattering documentary is. I think Apple is looking a bit the wrong way here; let’s hear it for difficult Americans! Steve was a hippie who got an accountant. And a fuzzy engineer! And they walked down the yellow gold road. And by the sometimes repulsive drive, he made a company. Read an Edison biography. Read how he treated the engineers who worked for him. Took all the credit. Remember those pious biopics of the 1930s? The Great Men theory movies? In the past, apparently, every third person was a saint.

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      The truth is all that matters. If jobs was a bad person through and through and your account of him is perfectly accurate, that’s fine. If he wasn’t and your account of him is highly fictions then you’re a jackass. In this case, they’re jackasses. It’s a film, it’s meant to be entertaining and ultimately to make as much profit for them as possible, full stop.

  15. Jim Hassinger - 7 years ago

    Any large company, I am leery of. But when you talk about Exxon Mobil and Apple, what’s so terrifying about Apple? They turn out very nice stuff. You can make phone calls with it and edit a movie. And then… In general terms, yes, the power of corporations needs containing. But all Apple does for artists is give them tools to make their art and many places to sell it. Oh, and really good engineers, too. Now, Exxon spent billions in the ’70s on science that measured the atmosphere and the ocean all over the world, and when they realized that Global Warming was real, they closed the unit, fired the staff, and invested in PR companies. Apple gives a pretty good security regime to your phones.

  16. MK (@MathiasMK84) - 7 years ago

    It actually is Hollywood that has terrifying power and is opportunistic in every way.

    • o0smoothies0o - 7 years ago

      That’s actually true. Speech is a very powerful thing, especially when you broadcast it to millions of people. I mean entertainment has massive impacts on culture.

      The real evidence of power is that they were able to anger North Korea enough to have them retaliate and hack Sony. Imagine if they depicted the graphic slaughter of certain countries presidents and people? Like Russia, etc., I mean technically speaking, it could be a direct or indirect cause of war, possibly nuclear.

    • Jim Hassinger - 7 years ago

      I wouldn’t name it Hollywood or any other industry that is causing this. We live in an ancien régime controlled by men as rich as Croesus. It’s the Mammon-worshipping everywhere.

  17. modeyabsolom - 7 years ago

    I perceive Apple as being more of a benign company than Boyle’s overreaction to it…he’s probably a Socialist, a lot of Brits are.

    • rnc - 7 years ago

      Let me tell you a secret… I’m a Socialist. Lots of Europeans are…

      “Socialist” doesn’t mean “Communist” in any place in the world besides the US of A.

      • webzpinner - 7 years ago

        Many Americans confuse the terms… Socialist is almost as bad tho to many Americans, because individualism and small government has been a staple part of the country for hundreds of years, and it’s been slowly rotted since FDR and Woodrow Wilson… Now we have a Socialist in the Whitehouse, and the country is worse off then when we had the Progressive numbskull, GWB in the whitehouse.

      • srgmac - 7 years ago

        I’m so sick of people calling Bernie Sanders a “socialist” — like that’s a bad thing.
        He calls himself that — it’s funny when he admits it and then goes on to educate you about how socialism isn’t necessarily a bad thing when he is asked about being a “socialist”

  18. webzpinner - 7 years ago

    Artists and writers??? Pfffft…. If these companies are so powerful, it should be journalists (so few exist today that aren’t shills) and politicians standing up to them. I’m sick of actors with political agendas… They are fakes assuaging their guilt for making money by makebelieve. The world needs to tell Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, etc that we don’t care what they think… We just want them to smile nice for the camera.

    • srgmac - 7 years ago

      The government has been very pissed at Apple for using encryption with iMessage; politicians have called them terrorists and child rapist protectors for making iMessage e2e encrypted with no way for the government to get message contents and listen in / inject fake messages from the server side.

  19. incredibilistic - 7 years ago

    “Terrifying power”?

    I assume he’s never heard of Google.

    • srgmac - 7 years ago

      If you read the whole interview, he said “these companies” referring to all of them.

  20. srgmac - 7 years ago

    A couple thoughts here — first, he is absolutely right, but it’s unfair to pick on just Apple for this…although he does say “these companies” so it’s clear he means Google, Microsoft, etc. Second, it’s so funny to see just how scummy these people are with these movie companies — “Less than 24 hours later Universal had taken it and at the same time Amy was saying ‘I’ve made a big mistake you can do it in San Francisco.” — This is Amy Pascal, the same dimwit you may recall from the Sony email hack, who joked about asking President Obama if he liked the movie “Django Unchained” due to his being African American…wow! Slime, with a capital SCUM. It’s funny how the Sony email hack gave us even more insight into how these leeches operate behind the scenes. Lastly, why do we need yet another movie about Steve Jobs? I’ve already seen “Pirates” and the Ashton Kutcher fail job movie…although with all the controversy surrounding Sorkin’s flick, I’m actually considering checking it out when I can.

    • patthecarnut - 7 years ago

      “Lastly, why do we need yet another movie about Steve Jobs?”

      This has been my point all along. I get it that HollyWeird needs to make movies, and right now “Jobs” on anything is money in the bank, but enough already. Let the man rest in peace and let his friends and family remember him in peace.

  21. patthecarnut - 7 years ago

    He should know coming from an industry that really DOES have “tremendous, terrifying power”.


Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.