After Universal’s Steve Jobs bombing at the box office, director Danny Boyle has discussed with Deadline some of the difficulties the film faced, including controversy of leaked Sony emails about the film and criticism over choosing Michael Fassbender as the notorious Apple CEO.
On the consequences of the Sony hack on Steve Jobs:
You can argue that the behind-the-scenes of any movie is dramatic by nature, but there was something peculiar about this one. Here’s a man who has had so much influence on our lives. He’s changed social behavior and how we communicate with each other. We trust these devices, yet everything can be hacked and shared. It’s incredible that the behind-the-scenes drama happened on this particular film. It wasn’t pleasant. I remember going into Sony and hearing about the death threats during the hack. I’m sitting there and the secretary can’t even get on her computer to work. Even though the film didn’t work as a wide release across America, that doesn’t stop me from speaking up about Universal and their support, especially after Donna Langley picked it up. After Sony dropped us, we went around Hollywood in a cab with storyboards, pitching every head of studio like the old days.
On the film improving its box offie record in the awards season:
I imagine that the film will have some impact on people. When you see it, you come out and say, “Holy shit!” The acting is on a different plane, it’s very verbal and intense, and you’re utterly occupied by the actors. That’s what people respond to. We went wide too soon. And while it’s easy to be a hindsight expert, it doesn’t stop me from being proud of what Universal has done. They’re determined to position the film and keep it in theaters so that people come back to it. Sometimes we have to genuflect at the altar of mass entertainment. This isn’t a private members’ club. It’s an industry born of people going to the cinema in huge numbers. We had hoped that this obsession with Steve Jobs was nationwide. But there are a lot of very good films and competition for this short, intensive period.
On Christian Bale originally being set to play Jobs:
I spoke to Christian about playing the part of Jobs. We had a lovely meeting, but he couldn’t get his head around the part. He’s an intense, private actor and he couldn’t see himself doing it.
On what made Michael Fassbender the right choice to play Jobs:
He has an incredible presence. Beyond that, he’s very uncompromising in what he does and where he goes in his choices—he takes no prisoners. Michael doesn’t make easy choices. He invites you on this intense journey. He’s the only actor who could explore Jobs’ intensity. He has a Cary Grant presence, and Kate Winslet (as Joanna Hoffman) is like his Katharine Hepburn. When I first met with him about the part, he was in Australia. Kate was also there doing The Dressmaker and I went to see her on the same trip. Michael sat and read the script with me and by just listening to him, you could see that he was beginning to work his process. When actors have a big script they have to learn it, but he didn’t. He channeled it like osmosis. During filming, when he walked on the set, he was ready to channel the next 10 pages. It lifted everyone. Winslet is like this. She preps. She gives the impression that she’s making it all up, but she preps. The great actors are always preparing mentally and physically.