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So, Christian Bale has dropped out of Danny Boyle’s biopic of Apple founder Steve Jobs, leaving the Sony project without a lead for the second time (Leonardo DiCaprio was considering the role for a time, but ultimately passed).
Considering the importance of Jobs to the world as we know it — to say nothing of a script by Aaron Sorkin — you might have thought it’d be easy to find someone to play the man who made MP3 players a must-have for the mass market. Apparently not, so my colleagues and I put together a handy shortlist to move things along. Just remember: if any of these actors get the gig, we want 10 percent.
As any enthusiastic valet will tell you, Liam Neeson is an actor without equal. Admittedly, the role of Steve Jobs might not require the precise killing machine skills of his Taken or Non-Stop roles, but his Schindler’s List performance demonstrates the passion and intensity with which he can imbue historical figures. And given the many legendary Jobsian rants Apple employees are said to have endured over the years, we think Neeson’s phone-threat skills would come in very handy.
Where to go next after Breaking Bad has seen you crowned as one of the leading actors of our time? The answer is clearly the biopic, possibly the most award-friendly genre in cinema (well, Godzilla first, Broadway second and then a biopic). Would Cranston blow our minds showing the steely Jobs in Apple’s earliest days, and then plotting revenge when he is pushed out of the company? Say my name.
Having successfully convinced the world at large that he is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, the possibility of seeing Eisenberg portray Steve Jobs is an exciting one. Not only does he possess the skills to bring Jobs — especially the early Jobs — to life on the big screen, but it could make Eisenberg the go-to guy for playing tech pioneers in movie biopics. (Eisenberg as Bill Gates in Microsoft: The Early Years? Yes, please.) Considering the inevitability of movies about the founding of Google, Tinder and the creation of Words With Friends, taking this role would guarantee Eisenberg work for years to come.
Whether it’s playing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, J.R.R. Tolkien’s toxic dragon or Julian Assange himself, Cumberbatch has spent the last few years proving that he can do almost anything (though replacing Ricardo Montalban was slightly more problematic). Turning his attention to the life of the man responsible for changing society’s relationship with technology, therefore, seems like a far more sensible follow-up to playing Alan Turing than taking up the opportunity to play Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme — and would result in a kind of pop culture singularity, making the Internet melt down almost instantaneously.
Are you listening, Benedict?
Say what you will about Kutcher, but you can’t deny that he’s had more practice playing Steve Jobs than anyone else on this list. Sure, 2013’s Jobs might not have been all everyone was hoping for, but look at it this way: you can’t get better if you don’t make a few mistakes.
And besides, this way we already know what the poster is going to look like.
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