Jobs of a lifetime
Dude, where's my real Steve Jobs movie?: Two and a Half Men star to portray therevolutionary figure
Ashton Kutcher, who has made a career of playing dunces and being married to Demi Moore, has signed on to depict one of history's most prolific technologists, Steve Jobs. A curious choice, indeed, but an indie production titled Jobs, directed by Joshua Michael Stern (Swingvote) and written by Matt Whiteley, has cast Charlie Sheen's Two and a Half Men replacement as the film's title character.
Variety reported Sunday, in what could have easily been mistaken for a not-so-funny April Fool's joke, that the 70's Show alumnus would be tackling the mammoth role. The last time anyone attempted to capture the complex combination of egoism and brilliance that composes Jobs' persona was in 1999, by Noah Wyle, in the made for TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Jeff Sneider, who broke the story, tweeted on Sunday that the film would follow Jobs through he and Wozniak's early days founding Apple, up to his return to the company in 1997 — the same time frame as Pirates.
In that film, Jobs was depicted as both ruthlessly business-minded and with incredible technological foresight. At the time he was a leader known as much for publicly and devastatingly berating loyal employees as he was known for co-piloting (along with The Woz and Bill Gates) the personal computer frontier. Again, that was in 1999, and the general public had only just begun their love affair with Jobs' enormous personality.
That would be three years before Jobs would help usher in the digital music revolution with the iPod, and almost a decade before the iPhone released. Those two products are what shaped the image most people have of Jobs today. The cool, turtleneck rocking, “just one more thing...” innovator largely overshadows the 1976 business man who swindled friend and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak out of a $5000 bonus the pair earned — more accurately, that The Woz earned — for programming Breakout for Atari.
With Kutcher best known for his goofy, mostly affable characters and personality — except for his recent unfaithfulness to his wife — one has to wonder how much focus will be placed on Jobs' nastier, less heroic side. Not to trash Kutcher too much, he was somewhat lauded for his performances in 2006's Bobby and 2009's Spread, after all. But it's safe to say he hasn't shown the range required to play a figure as dynamic as Steve Jobs.
While I question the choice, it's always good to see actors broaden their scope of work, and the cult comedy star could always prove to be a perfect fit.
Whether or not Stern will incorporate Jobs' darker side into his film or use the production to further inflate the adored character (being the first film in a post-Jobs world, that approach seems appropriate) is out of Kutcher's hands.
All we can hope for is that he treats the role as seriously as he did with making Justin Timberlake cry. If not, he'll face the wrath of Apple's loyal worshipers, a legion not even the King of Twitter could survive.
With that said, I wish you luck, Mr. Kutcher.
“Jobs”, which has nothing to do with Sony's own biopic, is set to begin production this May.