The Jobs interview: Joshua Michael Stern

It only takes one person to start a revolution. This is the message toted across the web where fans are abuzz on both Facebook and Twitter over Jobs, the latest Virgin Produced film chronicling the biographical story of the late Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs.

Hitting theatres on August 16, early viewers have labelled the movie a must-see, with Entertainment Weekly citing Ashton Kutchers performance as the legendary Steve Jobs killer-shrewd. Taking you back to a time when the hair was long and the ideas were young, Director Joshua Michael Stern sat down with us to discuss the making of Jobs the film.

Virgin Produced (VP): Steve Jobs is a legend in the technology world with fans all across the globe. What sort of pressures did you feel while making the film, and how did you handle it?

Joshua Michael Stern (JSM): Well first of all I think I had to take in the fact that this is a huge story about a man and an icon, and at a certain point, you have to let it go. You have to let go of the fear of it and just look at him as another character in a movie. What is his arc, how can we make this real, how can we really show what we need to show of him, and focus in on the way he would do anything to launch any business. You just have to do it and not be afraid. Just dive in. I knew there would be a lot of people with something different and separately invested in this character as to what they wanted or expected, but you can only tell the story youre telling, your version of it, and hope that it hits the mark. And thats how I approached it, looking at the whole of the movie and the performances.

VP: The movie focuses on the early years of Apple from 1971 to the year 2000.

JSM: Right.

VP: How was it recreating a world from another era? Do you feel you pulled it off?

JSM: Yeah, I mean, for me, it was all about creating this world even if the world of the late 70s to early 80s is not necessarily the sexiest moment in our history.

VP: (Laughter) Right.

JSM: We look back at the glasses, and the big hair, and the huge collars, and the bell bottoms, and we kind of all cringe. So my directive to all the art department was, that I want to see this era as it was, because, in this period people actually felt very sexy. People thought they were really beautiful in this period. Its only in retrospect that we look back and think that everybody looked a little bit off. So, make the collars bigger, but not quite so big, not quite so amplified.

 

 

Ultimately, this is a movie that I want to be timeless. I wanted us to feel the era, but not be about the era. Because so many films about the early 80s and late 70s to me fail in that they look like cartoons. And I didnt want this to be that. I wanted this to be about the people in it and let this sort of era be there. And I think it was very successful. Im very happy with the fact that youre not hit over the head with the period of it. You just know that the period is there.

VP: What about Ashton Kutcher? Hes known for his more comedic roles. What made you decide to cast him, and do you feel he lived up to the part?

JSM: I do. I mean, the first meeting I had with Ashton, he was so already immersed in this character. Im so glad hes having a platform now to talk, because people can hear how much he knows about this role, how really smart this man is. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of what Apple was and of technology, this was a role that was important to him. You feel that in the first meeting. He wanted to give everything to this role and prepare for it. He went on a fruitarian diet, lost almost eighteen pounds he really lived in the skin of this character. And as a director, you really cant ask for more. Not to mention that he looks so much like him! You just have to hear Ashton speak for ten minutes about this, look at him, and think, and know did I really have any other choice? (Laughter) Its not really whether should I have [cast him], its that it was so obvious what else could I have done.

VP: Give us a hint. What are you most excited for your viewers to see? How do you hope theyll react?

JSM: I mean, I really want the viewers to see what it I want people to see that Steve Jobs started this company in a tiny garage, and that he was not unlike anybody else that you see who started a business. Hes just like anybody out there watching the film, he wasnt given anything. He created everything.

In the new world reality where big businesses are downsizing and doing more with less people, with the post-industrial age gone, with the big corporations, with the big pension funds at this step, people are now having to reach, to look within themselves as to what are the things they want to do. How can they contribute to the world, and what are their great ideas that can be the new next best thing?

Steve Jobs didnt take no for an answer and was obsessed with his idea but he started no different than any of us, and that he had the same frustrations as we all do. He was terribly misunderstood at the beginning. People associate him with these really eloquent keynote speeches or unveiling a new product, so it will be interesting for them to see that this was actually a young guy who wanted to do something and was full of that same frustration of everyone telling him no, that we all feel in our own lives.

VP: For your audience, if you could describe this movie in one word, what would it be?

JSM: Inspirational.

Catch Jobs in theaters August 16.

Photo by Glenn Wilson / Distributor: Open Road Films

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