With the ongoing leak of Sony emails and documents, we’ve been treated to a torrent of behind-the-scenes snark, posturing, and deal-making, particularly when it comes to the embattled Steve Jobs biopic. What we haven’t see thus far is a copy of Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay — but there’s plenty of new information about the project, including what director David Fincher thought when he first read the script.
Though the filmmaker was never able to close a deal to direct the adaptation (Danny Boyle will now take on the movie over at Universal, with Prometheus star Michael Fassbender reportedly playing the title role), in a February email he was beyond enthusiastic:
From: David Fincher
To: Amy Pascal, Scott Rudin (Personal), Mike De Luca
Cc: Aaron Sorkin
Sent: Feb 23, 2014 3:34 PM
Is great. It’s a play, but a really quicksilver, cinematic one.
I would think you would want to cast and rehearse very carefully (couple months)
Shoot very quickly (4 or 5 weeks — 8 days per ACT??)
The venues would be easy (we could probably find them all in town)
Editing is where we would spend time.
Can SONY market a ONE MAN SHOW(?)
Can you guys make the LENNY of it all, the MUST SEE?
The latter is a reference to Lenny, Bob Fosse's 1974 biopic about comedian Lenny Bruce that starred Dustin Hoffman and was adapted from the stage play of the same name.
Even after Fincher deal started falling apart, Sorkin continued to lobby for the director despite friction during Fincher’s negotiation. "I do not know why he’s like this (anymore than I know why Steve Jobs was like Steve Jobs)," Sorkin wrote to Sony Pictures head Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin on March 27th, just weeks before the director dropped out, "and I don’t want this movie to be a bitter drink for the people at the top because you all have other things you can do and you’ll just walk away. But we’re looking at a home run pitch coming at us."
"It’s a play, but a really quicksilver, cinematic one."
The emails also contain passing glimpses at the project Sorkin’s put together. He said as far back as 2012 that his script would consist of three major scenes, and in another March email he writes that the film would require just four locations to shoot: "two auditoriums, a restaurant and a garage." (What will one of those auditoriums be? In an email from last month, Sorkin directly references Symphony Hall — the San Francisco venue where Steve Jobs held the first NeXT introduction event.)
No matter what ups and downs the Jobs project has faced, it’s pretty clear that one person is going to be happy with the finished product: Steve Jobs author Walter Isaacson. After reading the script, Isaacson gushed to Rudin in a February email. "The script is totally awesome. I have a tear in my eye having just finished. I was deeply moved by the narrative arc and by the beautiful end. I loved the line, ‘No way she’s not my kid,’" he wrote, in what seems to be a clear reference to Jobs’ daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs.
"Alright!" Sorkin wrote to Pascal and Rudin in response. "I wanted that endorsement bad."