The first official clip from the movie ‘jOBS’ has already hit the internet and while it portrayed the film pretty well (after all, how can you not appreciate the line, “How does somebody know what they want if they’ve never seen it?”), Steve Wozniak has gone on record to say that the film makers got that scene “totally wrong.”
What Woz was referring to was the parking lot conversation where Steve Jobs (played by Ashton Kutcher) is trying to convince Steve Wozniak (portrayed by Josh Gad) how important his work on an OS is.
If anyone would know how accurate this portrayal was, it would be Wozniak. Commenting on the clip on Gizmodo.com, the man himself wrote:
“Not close…we never had such interaction and roles…I’m not even sure what it’s getting at…personalities are very wrong although mine is closer…don’t forget that my purpose was inspired by the values of the Homebrew Computer Club along with ideas of the value of such machines and Steve J. wasn’t around and didn’t attend the club so he was the one learning about such social impact of the future.”
In a follow up e-mail to the site, Wozniak went on and elaborated:
“Totally wrong. Personalities and where 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 (this was the 5th time).
The lofty talk came much further down the line.
I never looked like a professional. 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. Anyone who reads my book ‘iWoz’ can get a clearer picture.”
It’s common for filmmakers to take dramatic license when it comes to biopics. Oftentimes they do so to make the film more interesting as the actual events pale in comparison. Wozniak realizes this and added this comment about the clip:
“It’s only one clip.
The movie should be very popular and I hope it’s entertaining. It may be very correct, as well. This is only one clip. But you’ll see the direction they are slanting the movie in, just by the dialog style of this script.
I never wore a tie back then. I wore blue jeans and the same style blue button-up shirt every day of my life. I was not like a professional in demeanor ever.
Here is a reply I gave to someone on Facebook a few minutes ago:
The fact that it didn’t happen is unimportant. The important thing is whether the meaning portrayed is correct.
It’s ok to make up a dramatic scene but is much better if it sort of happened and had the meaning portrayed. But this is only one short clip of the movie. The entire movie may be very good. But the initial exposure to the social meaning of a technology revolution went in a very different direction in those early times.
A more accurate portrayal would be myself in the Homebrew Computer Club (with Steve Jobs up in another state and not aware of it) being inspired by liberal humanist academics from Berkeley and Stanford and other places speaking of these high social goals. I decided then and there to help them reach those goals by designing a computer that was affordable. I gave it away to members of this club to help them. My goal was not money or power. In fact, when Steve came down and came to the club and saw the interest, he did not propose making a computer. Rather, he suggested we make a PC board so that others could build my computer easier. This PC board is just a component, like the ones Steve would sell at Haltek, a surplus electronics store. By the way, the Apple I was the 5th time I designed something just for fun that Steve found a way to turn into money, and the Apple II was the 6th time. We always split the proceeds.”
Apparently, Wozniak has a lot to say about the issue and it’s only one clip! I can’t help but agree with the guy. Dramatic license is one thing but if the filmmakers don’t give an accurate portrayal of the events, then it shouldn’t be a biopic but more of a fiction piece. It sounds like Wozniak is, so far, being very leery about this film as well as he should be. Wozniak was a large component of Jobs’ success and it’s hoped that his invaluable input is portrayed well.
It will be interesting to also hear his thoughts about the Adam Sorkin version of the Steve Jobs story. Sorkin wrote the screenplay for ‘The Social Network’ about the beginnings of founder Mark Zuckerbeg and Facebook and when that film came out, many critics (including Zuckerberg himself) complained about the gross inaccuracies portrayed in what was supposed to be a nonfiction film. This may not bode well for Jobs or Wozniak fans.
While those attending Sundance will be able to see the film ‘jOBS’ as it debuts on Friday, January 25, most will have to wait until the movie drops into theaters on April 19th.