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“I wish comedies got invited to these things,” Seth Rogen cracked as he, Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet and Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) — collaborators on the highly anticipated Oscar hopeful Steve Jobs — sat down with me at the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day weekend, when the film had its first-anywhere screening, to record the first episode of The Hollywood Reporter‘s new awards podcast, Awards Chatter.
New episodes of the podcast will be released once a week throughout the year, each opening with a brief monologue by yours truly, discussing awards-related developments since the last installment and previewing others to come before the next one. Then, the majority of the time will be devoted to a conversation with a person or group of people who have a stake in the ongoing awards race.
In episode one, Boyle explains how the collapse of a David Bowie musical he was working on led to the opportunity to direct Steve Jobs, a film that is, in some respects, unlike any other he’s worked on because its eponymous protagonist — played by Michael Fassbender, who could not make it to the fest because he’s in production on another movie — is not someone the audience necessarily roots for. “This is our take on him,” says Boyle of the late Apple co-founder. “This is not a photograph or a documentary. This is a portrait of him, and the portrait within the script was, this was a monster, and he’s made beautiful by two women.”
Winslet, who plays one of those women, Jobs’ associate Joanna Hoffman, adds, “Yes, it’s about Steve Jobs, and it’s about those periods in time seen through his mind and experienced through his mind, but it’s also about how this man has dictated how we live our lives today.” And Rogen, who plays Steve Wozniak — “the other Steve” who co-founded Apple (and attended the film’s Telluride debut) — emphasizes, “What I love about the movie is how it’s an innovative movie, apart from telling the story of an innovative person.”
Over the course of a half-hour, Boyle reflects on the surreal day of the Sony hack, which forced him and producer Christian Colson to spend a day driving from studio to studio trying to find another home for their project; Winslet and Rogen recount their interactions with the real people they play in the film; Winslet expounds on what it was like to play a part in which she is virtually unrecognizable beneath makeup and hair and accent; Rogen talks about why he, as a person primarily associated with comedy, relates to “Woz,” who wasn’t as respected as Jobs; Winslet and Rogen explain what it’s like to learn and deliver lines written by Aaron Sorkin, the film’s Oscar-winning screenwriter; and Winslet and Boyle debate whether or not Boyle demands a lot of takes from his actors.
Steve Jobs, a Universal film, next will screen in the “Centerpiece” slot of the New York Film Festival on Oct. 3 before a limited nationwide release on Oct. 9. Awards voters are being asked to consider Steve Jobs for best picture, Boyle for best director, Winslet for best supporting actress and Rogen for best supporting actor.
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