Tim Cook talks Steve Jobs movies

Aaron Sorkin is a little bit of a softie. MoneyballStudio 6o on Sunset Strip, and Steve Jobs aren’t without heartwarming moments. In fact, in the case of Sorkin’s latest, some audiences and critics have taken issue with how soft the film goes in the final minutes. But Sorkin defends the ending. Read his comments on the Steve Jobs ending after the jump. (Warning: spoilers for Steve Jobs ahead.)

The screenwriter didn’t strip Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) of his complexity. The character is many, many things, including a prick. In the final minutes of the film, Jobs changes his tune. We see a warm and cuddly side of the character, which we hadn’t seen much of before. Is this change of heart earned?

While on the Q & A podcast with Jeff Goldsmith (via The Film Stage), Sorkin explained what he was going for with the ending:

If he can change, even just a little bit — just the final scene with Lisa — which so many people… and I bet there are people here who have a problem with the last scene. The reason is you felt I betrayed the entire movie, that I went soft? I don’t think I went soft. It’s such a strong reaction that I’ve gotten so many places.

Steve Jobs is such an intricately structured, breathlessly paced drama that, even if you had a problem with the ending, there’s a lot to enjoy. But for some people, the ending took away from the experience. Sorkin shared one anecdote about a disappointed filmgoer:

A woman came to the microphone and asked if I was pressured to write that scene either by the studio or by [director] Danny [Boyle] or did I put pressure on myself because I just thought I can’t make an entire movie this cold. I’ve got to reward the patience of the audience somehow. I’ve got to get you to like this guy. I said, “No. There was no external pressure at all. I wrote that scene. It was exactly the scene I wanted to write. As a matter of fact, on the page it’s a little more gooey. Some of the goo was cut out by Danny in the editing room. It’s exactly the scene I wanted to write.” She looked at me and just went, “Heartbreaking,” and went back to the aisle.

Sorkin has a good idea for why some people don’t like the ending. The Maccabees song, “Grew Up At Midnight,” may have been a tad too much, but there’s more to it than that. He continued:

I don’t think it’s that scene that they’re reacting to. I think it’s the parking lot — ‘I’m going to put a thousand songs in your pocket’ — and we hear the Maccabees song and everything gets nice. Possibly, also, it doesn’t help that it appears that the filmmakers are giving Steve Jobs a standing ovation at the end of the film.

But to the screenwriter, there was no movie without that ending:

The story of the movie is, ‘Will Steve and his daughter get together?’ The fact that in real life they did find each other isn’t even the reason that I did it, although I like that it’s supportable by facts. I did it because I just don’t think there’s a movie if you don’t do it. I think that what you would have is a theater full of people saying, “Why did you make me sit here for two hours?”

There’s still a sense of sadness to those final scenes. Steve Jobs realizes he’s been missing the bigger picture — Lisa — for so many years. He comes to the same realization that Billy Beane does at the end of Moneyball: it’s his daughter that’s most important, not his job. Unlike Beane, Jobs doesn’t have that epiphany until much later on his life.

Steve Jobs is now in theaters.

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