It’s not even on cinema screens yet and already it’s proving controversial. The first scenes from the new biopic about Steve Jobs’ early years have appeared on entertainment websites.
But, according to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, the makers have got it “totally wrong”.
The opening scene of the movie, set to premiere at the Sundance Festival before opening at cinemas on April 19, shows Jobs and Wozniak arguing the merits of building a personal computer for home use.
In the movie, Jobs, played by Ashton Kutcher, can be seen in a Hewlett Packard car park engaged in a heated debate with Josh Gad, who plays Woz, as he attempts to convince him of the creative potential of his new operating system.
“This is freedom to create and build, as artists, as individuals”. But Woz replies: “Even if you were developing for freaks like us, and I doubt you are, nobody wants to buy a computer.”
But the real-life Wozniak, known as Woz, says the portrayal is completely inaccurate.
“Totally wrong,” he said. “Personalities and the ideas of computers affecting society did not come from Jobs. They inspired me and were widely spoken at the Homebrew Computer Club. Steve came back from Oregon and came to a club meeting and didn’t start talking about this great social impact.
“His idea was to make a $20 PC board and sell it for $40 to help people at the club build the computer I’d given away. Steve came from selling surplus parts at HalTed, he always saw a way to make a quick buck off my designs.”
Woz said such “lofty talk”, as depicted by Kutcher and Gad, came “much further down the line”.
“I never looked like a professional,” said Woz, who singlehandedly invented the Apple I and Apple II computers in the 1970s. “We were both kids. Our relationship was so different than what was portrayed. I’m embarrassed but, if the movie is fun and entertaining, all the better.”
The new movie follows Jobs and Woz from their very first meeting in 1971 up until 2000 when Jobs became CEO of Apple for the second time. Jobs stepped down from his role 11 years later, just a few months before he lost his long battle with pancreatic cancer.
It is being billed as “the story of Steve Jobs’ ascension from college dropout into one of the most revered creative entrepreneurs of the 20th century”.
Penned by scriptwriter Matt Whiteley and directed by Joshua Michael Stern, the move was partly shot in the garage in Palo Alto, California, where Jobs and Wozniak started Apple back in 1976.
As well as Kutcher and Gad, Matthew Modine stars as former Apple CEO John Sculley and The Help star Ahna O’Reilly plays Chris-Ann Brennan, Jobs’ girlfriend.
While the move, called jOBS, will be shown in the US from April, a UK release date is yet to be confirmed.
The film is not going to be without competition though as The West Wing’s Aaron Sorkin is busy writing a rival Jobs movie based on Walter Isaacson’s bestselling biography.