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Aaron Sorkin appeared on Today on Tuesday to promote his new biopic Steve Jobs and revealed that, in response to Apple Chief Tim Cook‘s criticism that recent attempts to bring the story of his former boss to the big screen were “opportunistic,” the studio made arrangements for Cook to view the film.
“Tim Cook — at the time he made that statement, at the time he took umbrage, he hadn’t seen the movie,” said Sorkin. “The studio since set up a screening for him and he hasn’t said anything since.”
Today co-host Tamron Hall asked Sorkin about allegations in The Wall Street Journal that Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, had tried to kill the movie.
“Mrs. Jobs hasn’t seen the movie,” Sorkin responded. “When she does, if she does, I think she’ll be pleasantly surprised. I don’t think it’s what she expects it to be.”
A day after the four-year anniversary of Jobs’ death, Sorkin took a decidedly gentler approach to dealing with his critics on Today than he has previously. Originally, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter responded to Cook’s allegations with much harsher words.
“Certainly with Mrs. Jobs — and yesterday was the anniversary of Steve’s death, it was four years — with Mrs. Jobs, with Tim Cook who was such a good friend, I don’t begrudge them wanting to protect a good friend who isn’t here to defend himself but again, they haven’t seen the movie and I think they will be surprised that it’s not the thing they’re scared of.”
Hall asked Sorkin about the challenge of writing characters like Jobs, noting that in a recent New York Times interview, Sorkin had described writing about “antiheroes as if they are making their case for God.”
“When I’m writing a character like that, I can’t judge them,” said Sorkin. “I have to be able to defend them and I have to be able to identify with them.”
But Sorkin also acknowledged the difficulty he faced with Jobs in particular: “I’ll be honest, with Steve, it was tough. I’m the father of a daughter. He denied paternity of his daughter. But it was his daughter, Lisa, who actually helped me get past that. But I have to be able to identify with these people, so that I can write them as if they’re making their case to God.”
Sorkin also discussed Jobs’ particular brand of genius, noting that Jobs’ remarkable talent was his ability to “infuse these [devices] with a personality. People have a relationship with their Apple devices. If you go online, you’ll see that there’s a lot of emotion there between the Apple lovers and the Apple haters.” Sorkin added, “Either group, by the way, will be able to enjoy this movie.
In closing Hall remarked: “You’ve taken on Mark Zuckerberg, now Steve Jobs. Can Kanye be next?”
“Maybe, but I honestly don’t consider it ‘taking on’ these people,” laughed Sorkin. “They’re not hit pieces. Steve Jobs is a very complicated, brilliant person and this movie tries to illuminate and illustrate that.”
Watch the full clip below.
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