Tribeca: Aaron Sorkin Says 'Steve Jobs' Is 'One of the Few Times I Ended Up Writing What I Set Out To'
The screenwriter also touched on his upcoming adaptation of former John Edwards aide Andrew Young's "The Politician" and apologized for the early days of "The Newsroom."
Sony's upcoming Steve Jobs movie was in the news Monday, with The Hollywood Reporter revealing that Danny Boyle is in talks to direct the project David Fincher recently exited. But the film's screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, said he didn't want to make news when he talked about the project at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Still, Sorkin did tease a few things about the highly anticipated film during his conversation with former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau Monday night.
The screenwriter, who adapted Walter Isaacson's biography, said the script was titled simply Steve Jobs and the movie would start shooting in the fall. “It's very, very exciting,” Sorkin said. “It's not a biopic. It's not the story of Steve Jobs. It's something much different than that." Sorkin was likely referring to film’s narrative structure consisting of three longer scenes, to be shot in real time, that are set backstage before the product launches of the Mac, NeXT and iPod.
Sorkin added that Jobs was “a fascinating guy, surrounded by fascinating people, and he had very interesting relationships with the people in his life.” Later, in a discussion of how he felt his writing and sense of story had gotten better with age, Sorkin pivoted back to his Jobs script: “One of the things that really excites me about Steve Jobs is, it is one of the very few times I ended up writing what I set out to write when I began. It's an incredibly satisfying feeling."
The Emmy winner also discussed his HBO series The Newsroom, which is in production on its third and final season.
“I feel like I'm just now starting to learn how to write it,” Sorkin told a sold-out crowd at the festival. “I'm very proud of The Newsroom...but there is a learning curve, and unfortunately those lessons are learned in front of several million people.”
When asked what he learned about the news media in the process of writing The Newsroom, Sorkin jokingly addressed the audience, "I think you and I got off on the wrong foot with The Newsroom, and I apologize, and I'd like to start all over."
Sorkin was particularly mindful of the criticism that he was trying to show the media how they should have covered recent news. “I think there has been a terrible misunderstanding,” he explained. “I did not set the show in the recent past in order to show the pros how it should have been done. That was and remains the furthest thing from my mind."
“I didn't want to make up fake news,” Sorkin went on to explain. “I also wanted the option of having the terrific dynamic you can get when the audience knows more than the characters do.”
Sorkin also touched upon his upcoming adaptation of former John Edwards aide Andrew Young's The Politician, which chronicles Young's attempt to protect his former boss by falsely claiming to be the father of the baby Edwards had with his mistress Rielle Hunter. Sorkin admitted he wasn’t sure how he would handle his portrayal of Edwards, but that it was actually Young’s story that drew him to the project.
“Storytelling-wise the thing that really has me interested," Sorkin explained, "is that the U.S. attorney, before trying to bring an indictment on Edwards, wanted to make sure that their star witness Andrew Young was going to be the witness they wanted him to be. So they brought him to Washington and spent the day beating the hell out him in a mock cross examination. I like that. It feels like a really good storytelling device to me. I like claustrophobic spaces and pieces of time, so I think I have a better idea of how I'm going to handle Andrew than John Edwards, but I'll figure something out."