Within days of Steve Jobs’s death came news that Sony had bought the rights to the authorized biography of Steve Jobs that will be published Oct. 24. The timing may have seemed a bit tasteless, but now the real fun about the movie begins.
Who should take on playing Jobs, as well as the other cast of characters in his life: Steve Wozniak, the Silicon Valley engineer-rebel and his Apple (AAPL) co-founder; John Sculley, who Jobs brought on to run the company from Pepsi (PEP) in the 1980s and then fired Jobs; Bill Gates, his Microsoft (MSFT) antagonist; Larry Ellison, a close friend and CEO of Oracle (ORCL); and, of course, Jobs’ wife Laurene?
One possibility to play Jobs told Fortune he’s eager. Noah Wyle, the erstwhile star of the medical drama “E.R.” on NBC, already played Jobs once, in 1999 in the TNT cult classic, “Pirates of Silicon Valley.” Jobs tolerated the production and, according to Wyle’s account, actually liked Wyle’s portrayal. Wyle’s game again. Reached in Vancouver on the set of the TNT series “Falling Skies,” Wyle e-mailed me: “Are you kidding? I would give my eye teeth, in the heartbeat, of a New York minute. There are certain roles you wish you could tackle over and over again. That’s one for me.”
A Fortune poll of readers offered other choices to be Jobs: Jeremy Irons, Christian Bale, Johnny Depp, Ashton Kutcher, George Clooney and Casey Affleck. A CNN.com poll came up with other names: Stanley Tucci, Kevin Spacey, Keanu Reeves, Adrian Brody, Crispin Glover, Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Colin Hanks, Bryan Cranston, Ty Burrell, Andy Samberg, Penn Badgley, James McAvoy, Luke Wilson and Chuck Norris. Wyle was frequently mentioned in both surveys. One reader suggested Morgan Freeman — we assume that was a joke.
Other roles: Steve Wozniak — Jack Black, Paul Giamatti, Kevin McNally, Vincent D’Onofrio and Danny Trejo.
Laurene Powell — Annette Bening, Reese Witherspoon, Julie Bowen and Naomi Watts.
Bill Gates — Kenneth Branagh, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Davenport, Ed Norton and Justin Long.
Larry Ellison — Robert Downey Jr., Ben Affleck, Geoffrey Rush, Hugh Laurie and John Savage.
John Sculley — Donald Sutherland, Shia LaBeouf, Jonathan Pryce and Joe Biden (trading up from the vice presidency).
The Jobs biography, “Steve Jobs,” was written by Walter Isaacson, a former managing editor of Time and the current CEO of the Aspen Institute. His previous books include biographies of Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin Sony Pictures Entertainment (SNE) also produced “The Social Network,” the fictionalized account of the rise of Facebook and its cofounder Mark Zuckerberg.
For more on Steve Jobs, check out Fortune’s tribute book, The Legacy of Steve Jobs.