Ashton Kutcher, tech entrepreneur, isn't a Steve Jobs, but he plays one in the movies. And he's got the looks right, at least Steve Jobs circa the Apple II. The makeup, the costumery and the set design from this new Jobs biopic, jOBS, really does make me hanker for the days of that rainbow logo and all beige everything, when Steve was a young punk hacker-millionaire with Valley swagger and Punk'd wouldn't be invented for decades. See if you can tell which one is the real Jobs, from a photo taken in 1981, and which one is the pirated copy.
Apparently Kutcher has taken the method acting approach to his Jobs impersonation, having been accused by some on set of being "mean." In case you haven't seen it, here's Steve Jobs in 1978, in one of his first TV appearances, a sturdy document of his neurosis and chutzpah and leisure suit panache:
And here's one more Ashton-as-Steve, in the middle of one of his famous LSD adventures:
No real word yet on the film itself, which was directed by Joshua Michael Stern, and also stars Matthew Modine as early Apple CEO John Sculley. But over the summer, Forbes got a peek at one page of the script, from a scene in the Apple garage:
STEVE JOBS, excited and frantic, paces around his parent’s garage. WOZ sits at a table, patiently working on what will become the Apple-1 motherboard.
STEVE JOBS: Why didn’t you tell me about this sooner?
WOZ (shrugs): It’s a work in progress. I didn’t think anything of it. Why?
STEVE JOBS (excited): Woz, you moron, don’t you realize what you have here?
WOZ: I’m fooling around for my own —
STEVE JOBS: Exactly! For your own! For you! It’s what you wanted. It’s what your gut, your instinct wanted, what it led you to — your brain needing something that didn’t exist so you willed it into existence, your intuition finding a solution. The uh…What’s it called again? The system…
WOZ: The operating system?
STEVE JOBS: Yes! How does it work?
WOZ: It’s just a real-time display of your current operations….
STEVE JOBS: You can see what you’re working on as you’re working on it. Right? Art, design, poetry, math — you could do everything on this. Words on the screen can be anything on the screen, Woz. This is the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. Seriously. Am I crazy? Is this crazy? Tell me if I’m crazy!!
jOBS will close next month's Sundance Film Festival, and likely be the first in a series of movies about the tech titan, including at least one by Aaron Sorkin, adapted from Walter Isaacson's book and made up of just three scenes. Elegant, just the way Steve liked it.
Ashton and others, who will follow the canonical portrayal of Jobs by Noah Wyle in the 90's film The Pirates of Silicon Valley, will have the benefit of not having to hear what Steve thinks of their performances (Wyle, whose performance Jobs actually liked, would later be present at the creation of the iPad, maybe.) This is assuming, of course, that the new Jobses do not employ a psychic, like we once did. But on an aesthetic level, and based on this photo alone, I think Steve would begrudgingly approve. Then again, that shirt doesn't quite match...