Early on in production, Aaron Sorkin's Steve Jobs movie struggled to find a lead actor to play Steve Jobs, with both Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio turning down the role after having been previously attached to the film. At the time, DiCaprio gave no official reason for pulling out of negotiations, while Christian Bale reportedly felt he was not right for the role.
A new report from The Hollywood Reporter (via The Verge) suggests Steve Jobs' widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, may have had something to do Bale and DiCaprio's decision to pass on playing Steve Jobs. One of the "key players" on the Jobs movie told The Hollywood Reporter that Laurene Powell Jobs contacted DiCaprio and Bale and asked them not to take on the role.
Says another of the picture's key players, "Since the very beginning, Laurene Jobs has been trying to kill this movie, OK?" (Laurene's character does not figure in the film, while Jobs' daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, from another relationship, plays a prominent part.) "Laurene Jobs called Leo DiCaprio and said, 'Don't do it.' Laurene Jobs called Christian Bale and said, 'Don't [do it].' "
DiCaprio, Bale, and Powell Jobs did not comment on the accusation, but a Sony executive backed up the story. "My understand is, she did call one or two of the actors," said the executive.
Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal published a similar story on Laurene Powell Jobs, suggesting she attempted to shut down the movie ahead of its release multiple times. She lobbied executives at both Sony and Universal Pictures to kill the film and she refused to discuss the script with the filmmakers.
Powell Jobs, along with other Steve Jobs allies like Bill Campbell and Tim Cook, reportedly believe the movie paints Jobs as "cruel and inhumane," playing down his accomplishments and portraying only one aspect of his personality. Cook has called the movie "opportunistic" while Campbell, a friend of Jobs and former Apple board member, has said the movie will influence an entire generation. "A whole generation is going to think of him in a different way if they see a movie that depicts him in a negative way," he said.
Despite objections from Steve Jobs' friends and family and early troubles nailing down a lead actor, the movie went on to be made with Michael Fassbender in the role of Jobs. While there was some skepticism that Fassbender could handle the role, the Steve Jobs movie has thus far received positive reviews and there have been murmurings that Fassbender could receive an Oscar nomination for his performance.
The Hollywood Reporter's article includes a full rundown of the hurdles that had to be overcome to get the movie made and the thoughts behind many of the casting decisions. It's well worth checking out for anyone who wants an overview of the history of the Steve Jobs movie.
The Steve Jobs movie will be released on October 9, 2015 in Los Angeles and New York before seeing a wider release later in the month.