New life for Aaron Sorkin’s ‘Steve Jobs’

November 25, 2014, 2:51 PM UTC

I don’t usually pay such close attention to Hollywood gossip, but covering Apple is my business, Walter Isaacson was my editor, and Aaron (The West Wing, The Social Network) Sorkin is my favorite screenwriter.

So ever since Sony Pictures bought the movie rights to Isaacson’s Steve Jobs and hired Sorkin to write the screenplay, I’ve been rooting for this project to succeed — to do justice to its mercurial subject where previous feature-length movies fell short.

Sorkin’s approach sounded interesting: Avoid the predictable biopic narrative and tell Jobs’ story in three dramatic acts, each built around a key product unveiling.

It’s been a bumpy ride. A change of directors. A couple false starts casting the lead. And then a whole new studio.

On Monday, less than a week after Sony dropped the picture, Universal Studios picked it up. According to the Hollywood Reporter, which broke the news, it was shopped to Universal — with Michael (Inglourious Basterds) Fassbinder in the title role — for more than $30 million.

Director Danny (Slumdog Millionaire) Boyle is said to be talking to Seth (Knocked Up) Rogan about playing Steve Wozniak and is reportedly eyeing Jessica (The Help, Zero Dark Thirty) Chastain and/or Scarlett (Lost in Translation, Her) Johansson for leading roles.

Sorkin, whose specialty is dysfunctional male-female relationships, is said to have written a big part for Lisa Brennan-Jobs. She’s the out-of-wedlock daughter, Jobs admitted to Isaacson, for whom the Lisa computer was named.

The reaction of the tech press to the Universal news was all over the lot. A headline sampler:

Engadget: ‘Steve Jobs’ movie finds another home and a new star
Cult of Mac: Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs movie saved by Universal after Sony backs out
Uproxx Movies: Universal Warms Up Sony’s Leftovers To Bring Back Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs Biopic

In unrelated news: Hackers reportedly strike Sony Pictures’ computer system

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed.