Aaron Sorkin Explains the Writing Process Behind 'Steve Jobs'

"I don't think what you want from art is a Wikipedia page shot nicely."

"The thing that has surprised me is how surprised some people have been that it’s not a literal biopic," says screenwriter Aaron Sorkin on the audience reaction to his latest film, Steve Jobs. "It's not a cradle-to-grave story where you land on the greatest hits of the character along the way."

"I can tell you that I didn't distort, pervert or invent any facts about Steve Jobs for this movie at all, except one, which is that Steve did not have confrontations with the same five people 40 minutes before every product launch that he did; that's plainly a writer's construct." Sorkin argues for his right to take liberties as an artist. "It isn't, and I don't think it should be, journalism. I don't think what you want from art is a Wikipedia page shot nicely."

Sorkin got his start as a playwright (most notably for A Few Good Men), and critics have noted Steve Jobs' layout is more theatrical. Says Sorkin, “I think there are two reasons why they’re saying that: One is simply the amount of language in it, but the other is, in the theater, we’re very used to things not being literal, and in the movies, we’re not so much used to things being literal.”

Steve Jobs' widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, called people and said, "Don’t be involved in this film," but Sorkin defends his work, saying, "She hadn’t read the film. She didn’t like Walter Isaacson’s biography that it was based on. Walter’s biography was comprehensive. He is a very well-credentialed journalist. Steve and Laurene Jobs went after Walter and said, ‘We want you to do this.’ He turned them down and said, ‘No, let’s wait 10 or 15 years.’ Walter wasn’t aware of the extent of Steve’s diagnosis. They told him, he agreed, and they explicitly told him, ‘Don’t pull any punches, don’t whitewash anything.’ ”

THR's Roundtables air on Sundance TV. The shows air Sunday at 8 a.m. PT on channel 557 on DirecTV, 126 on Dish nationwide and at 11 a.m. ET/PT on cable (channel 625 on TWC in L.A., 94 in NYC).

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