Aaron Sorkin says writing about Steve Jobs is ‘a little like writing about the Beatles’

By Daniel S Levine,

Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who was chosen by Sony to adapt Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography into a film, spoke about how hard it will be to translate the Apple co-founder’s life to the screen at the AllThingsD conference on Wednesday.

Sorkin told the audience that he is at the earliest stages of the writing process for the script, reports Deadline. He praised Isaacson’s book, but noted, “...It's difficult to shake the cradle-to-grave structure, so I'm probably not going to write one. Instead, I'll probably identify the point of friction that appeals to me and then approach that.”

Walt Mossberg of All Things D, who moderated the talk, asked Sorkin if he knew Jobs, notes Endgaget. Sorkin gave a lengthy response, noting that he is worried that the film could disappoint, especially since so many people knew and met the innovator.

"To be honest with you, one of the hesitations I had was that this was a little like writing about The Beatles,” he said. “There are so many people out there that know him and revere him; I saw a minefield of disappointment. Hopefully when I'm done with my research I'll be in the same ballpark as some of the folks in here in terms of their knowledge about Jobs -- I hope people don't say 'You really missed the big thing.' But, that's bound to happen -- all I can say at this early stage is that you should think of this as a painting, not a photograph.”

Sorkin mentioned that there are several possibilities for a film on Jobs to go and even referenced the indie project with Ashton Kutcher as Jobs. Sorkin said that he has no idea who will be playing the role in his film, but it has to be a “very good actor. Someone who is smart.”

He later called Jobs an “extremely complicated guy.”

“I know this for sure: I can't judge the character. He has to, for me, be a hero. I have to find the parts of him that are like me. I have to be able to defend this character. With someone like Steve Jobs, to put it as simply as possible, you want to write the character as if they are writing their letter to God on why they should be allowed into heaven,” Sorkin added.

Just over two weeks ago, Sony announced that Sorkin, who won an Oscar for writing The Social Network, would pen the script for the studio’s Jobs film. Sorkin is also working on The Newsroom for HBO.



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