ArsTechnica examined email messages from the mailbox of Columbia Pictures Chairman Amy Pascal, determining it was Director Danny Boyle’s choice of Michael Fassbender for the role of Steve Jobs that ended Sony's involvement. Apparently, Pascal and her team struggled to find someone to help finance the film with Fassbender in the lead. As Sony reached a deadline for coming up with a deal, producer Scott Rudin and director Danny Boyle closed a deal with Universal to take on the film, igniting an email war.
While Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale have been rumored candidates for the Steve Jobs role, Tobey McGuire and Matthew McConaughey have approached those tied to the film about taking on that role. Tom Hanks also campaigned to play Jon Sculley, notes Ars.
While writer Aaron Sorkin, prematurely revealed that Bale would play Jobs and that "he's going to crush it"; he really wanted someone else for the role - Tom Cruise.
On October 31st he wrote:
I've gotten Scott and Danny to the point where they're now a little interested in Tom Cruise. Though both remain concerned about his age (me less so) everyone agrees that he's an actor who can really handle language (Lions for Lambs, Magnolia, A Few Good Men) and a movie star who feels comfortable owning the stage. He's in London filming right now and Scott wants to get him a script to read and a meeting with Danny before Danny comes here to LA next week. I've been warned that he likes to bring in Chris McQuarrie to re-write but [CAA agent] Maha Dakhil (who wants him in the movie) has assured me that won't happen.
In a follow up email he added:
I just got off the phone with Danny who's concerned about the age but I think I got him thinking about it and he's going to look at some scenes from Lions for Lambs where Tom's basically auditioning for Jobs. He's also concerned that the choice will be met with derision because it's such a commercial choice but I honestly think that ends up working for us. Tom's going to surprise some people and they'll want to reward that. I don't think we'd have to recast Woz. Seth's the right age in the first act and Tom's the right age in the third. And the movie announces itself pretty quickly as not being literal--as being a painting rather than a photograph. Look, I wouldn't cast Clint Eastwood but if I saw Tom Cruise flying around the backstage corridors of Symphony Hall I wouldn't think he was too old. I think it would be dazzling performance.
Pascal loved the idea but after talking to Boyle she emailed Sorkin to say that “seems committed to” Michael Fassbender for the part.
Sorkin responded saying, “This used to be an event. I don't know who Michael Fassbender is and the rest of the world isn't going to care. This is insane.”
However eventually he conceded saying, “Fuck it. He's a great actor whose time has come.”
“That’s where I ended up,” Pascal replied.
“Yeah, if the movie’s good, he’ll be on the cover of everything and get nominated for everything,” Sorkin noted.
As reported director David Fincher had originally been considered for the film; however, he wanted $45 million to take the helm.
In a March 27 e-mail, Rudin wrote:
"It's a game. David told me today that he needed 45m to make the movie, and would neither cut his fee nor go into a pool. I said 'then don't let's waste time doing a budget'. And we shouldn't. Tomorrow [Sony Pictures marketing chief] Josh [Greenstein] will call and excoriate us all. It begins."
Sorkin really wanted Fincher to take on the film, he responded saying:
"What's it gonna take? Because I'll cut my fee down to scale and throw in two more Sony movies for free. It's more than he's just the right director (he's not the only right director)--there's a value in it being the same team that did TSN and since it was leaked that it's going to be DF there's now a cost to it NOT being DF."
Pascal countered at $40 million and Fincher declined.
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