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Steve Jobs: History vs. Hollywood

Starring Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels | based on the book 'Steve Jobs' by Walter Isaacson

Michael Fassbender
Born: April 2, 1977
Heidelberg, Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Germany
Steve Jobs
Born: February 24, 1955
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, USA
Death: October 5, 2011, Palo Alto, California, USA (pancreatic cancer)
Kate Winslet
Born: October 5, 1975
Reading, Berkshire, England, UK
Joanna Hoffman
Birthplace: Poland
Seth Rogen
Born: April 15, 1982
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Steve "Woz" Wozniak
Born: August 11, 1950
Birthplace: San Jose, California, USA
Jeff Daniels
Born: February 19, 1955
Athens, Georgia, USA
John Sculley
Born: April 6, 1939
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Michael Stuhlbarg
Born: July 5, 1968
Long Beach, California, USA
Andy Hertzfeld
Born: April 6, 1953
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Katherine Waterston
Born: March 3, 1980
Westminster, London, England, UK
Chrisann Brennan
Born: September 29, 1954
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio
Perla Haney-Jardine
Born: July 17, 1997
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Lisa Brennan-Jobs
Born: May 17, 1978
Birthplace: All One Farm commune, Oregon, USA
Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. ... Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful -- that's what matters to me. -Steve Jobs, 1993, CNNMoney/Fortune

Questioning the Story:

Did the opening scene where the Macintosh won't say "hello" really happen?

No. In the movie's opening scene, we see Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) threaten Macintosh designer Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) over a glitch that is preventing the Macintosh from saying "hello" in its robotic voice. It is January 24, 1984, the day of the Macintosh launch event, and there is only 40 minutes left until Jobs is going to unveil the machine. He tells Hertzfeld that he will announce his failure from the stage if he doesn't get it fixed. The Steve Jobs true story reveals that nothing close to this scene happened on the day of the actual event. What unfolds in the movie is pure fiction.

Actor Michael Fassbender in the movie (left) and the real Steve Jobs (right).

Did Steve Jobs really have confrontations with the same six people prior to each product launch highlighted in the film?

No. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) addressed the accuracy of these confrontations, which take place prior to the three product launches highlighted in the film. "Steve Jobs did not as far as I know have confrontations with the same six people 40 minutes before every product launch," says Sorkin. "That is plainly a writer's conceit. ... What you see is a dramatization of several personal conflicts that he had in his life, and they illustrate something, they give you a picture of something. Are they fair? I do believe they're fair. My conscience is clear." -CNET

Did Mac marketing director Joanna Hoffman only discover that the Mac was a closed system on the day of the launch?

No. In the Steve Jobs movie, Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet) is shocked to learn that the Macintosh is a closed system, and that specific tools are needed to open the case. The real Joanna Hoffman and the rest of the Macintosh team were aware of this well before its unveiling.

Did Jobs' daughter really show up at the Mac launch event and connect with her dad by drawing with MacPaint backstage?

No. Unfortunately, while fact-checking the Steve Jobs movie, we learned that this endearing moment never actually happened. Jobs, who had originally denied the paternity of his daughter Lisa Brennan, never decided to give Lisa's mother Chrisann more money because of a connection he made with his five-year-old daughter as he watched her use MacPaint backstage.

The real Lisa Brennan-Jobs with her father on Halloween in 1986.

Are the conversations that take place in the Steve Jobs movie based on actual conversations?

Despite the movie's characters and events being based in reality, most of the conversations depicted in the film did not really happen. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin says that the movie is "a painting, not a photograph," explaining that it is not "a dramatic re-creation of [Jobs'] Wikipedia page." -CNET

Did Mike Markkula really introduce the Macintosh "1984" ad?

No. Steve Jobs introduced the George Orwell-inspired ad himself. Apple's "1984" commercial went on to be regarded by many as one of the greatest ads in history.

Did Apple really sue Steve Jobs at the time of his unveiling of NeXT's "black box" computer?

No. In researching the true story behind the Steve Jobs movie, we discovered that Apple actually sued Steve Jobs back in 1985, when he left the company and took five Apple employees with him to start NeXT. To heighten the drama, the Steve Jobs movie pushes the lawsuit up to just before the October 12, 1988 launch of NeXT's "black box" computer.

The real Steve Jobs (right) poses with a NeXT computer in a company ad. Actor Michael Fassbender (left) recreates the ad in early promos for the Steve Jobs movie.

Did Steve Jobs really have a devious master plan of creating a NeXT operating system that Apple would have to buy?

No. Even though the NeXT operating system did result in Steve Jobs ending up back at Apple, he most likely did not envision this would happen, and it certainly wasn't part of a master plan that he revealed to Joanna Hoffman backstage in 1988.

Does Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak feel that the film is accurate?

Not exactly. Wozniak, portrayed by Seth Rogen in the Steve Jobs movie, told Bloomberg that the film doesn't exactly portray real events. "Everything in the movie didn't happen" how it's depicted. "Every scene that I'm in, I wasn't talking to Steve Jobs at those events." Woz says that the scenes where he quarrels with Steve Jobs never happened. The positive comments he has made about the movie could in part have been influenced by the fact that he was paid $200,000 to act as a consultant on the film. "It's about Jobs and his personality," Wozniak said. "I feel that it did a great job."

Was Steve Jobs really a multi-billionaire at the time the iMac was launched?

No. The final scene of the movie describes Steve Jobs as a multi-billionaire. The scene takes place just before the May 6, 1998 iMac launch. The Steve Jobs true story reveals that he did not become a multi-billionaire until Disney bought Pixar from him in 2006 at a valuation of $7.4 billion.

What does Apple CEO Tim Cook think of the movie?

During an appearance on The Late Show, host Stephen Colbert asked Apple CEO Tim Cook how he felt about the Steve Jobs movie. "I think a lot of people are trying to be opportunistic, and I hate this. It's not a great part of our world," said Cook, acknowledging that he had not seen any of the movies about Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs screenwriter Aaron Sorkin fired back at Cook. "If you've got a factory full of children in China assembling phones for 17 cents an hour, you've got a lot of nerve calling someone else opportunistic." Sorkin later publicly apologized for his comment.

Was Steve Jobs really unmarried at the time of the iMac launch in 1998?

No. The Steve Jobs movie takes a significant liberty by omitting the fact that Steve Jobs had married Laurene Powell back in 1991 and the couple had three children, Reed in 1991, Erin in 1995, and Eve in 1998. His reconciliation with his daughter Lisa in the final scene is fiction. Lisa (pictured below in 1991) had lived with Jobs and Laurene from 1992 to 1996.

The real Lisa Brennan-Jobs (right) at her father's 1991 wedding to Laurene Powell, who is not shown in the movie. Actress Ripley Sobo (left) portrays Lisa in the film.

Did Steve Jobs really have a public blow-up with Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak before the iMac launch?

No. In fact-checking Steve Jobs, we learned that the shouting match was completely invented. At the time of the iMac launch in 1998, Woz was no longer an active employee at Apple. The real blow-up happened years earlier.

Did Steve Jobs and Apple really "win" after seeing sales forecasts for the iMac?

No. In the movie, Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet) tells Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender), "It's over, you win," after seeing positive sales forecasts for the iMac. The machine did help to stop Apple from bleeding as much money, but it wasn't what turned the corner for the company. Apple didn't start to prosper again until the early 2000s, following the unexpected success of the iPod, a device that is foreshadowed in the movie.

What was Steve Jobs' widow's reaction to the movie?

While fact-checking the Steve Jobs movie, we discovered that his widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, lobbied both Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures to stop the movie from being made. The studio reportedly tried to involve her in the project, but it was her dislike for Walter Isaacson's 2011 biography on which the movie is based that led her to object to the film. She did not believe that any movie based on Isaacson's book could possibly be accurate. She is not featured in the movie. -The Wall Street Journal

How does Macintosh designer Andy Hertzfeld feel about the movie?

"Almost nothing in it is like it really happened," says Hertzfeld, a designer on the original Macintosh. He told Re/code that the film "deviates from reality everywhere."

A designer on the original Macintosh, Andy Hertzfeld (right), poses with his onscreen counterpart, Michael Stuhlbarg (left).

Which actors turned down the role of Steve Jobs?

Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale passed on the role of Steve Jobs, which eventually went to Irish actor Michael Fassbender.

Video: Steve Jobs Speeches, "1984" Commercial, Film Trailers

Broaden your knowledge of the true story behind the Steve Jobs Michael Fassbender movie by watching the speeches and videos below. Start off by watching the real Steve Jobs introduce the "1984" Macintosh commercial.

 Steve Jobs Introduces the Famous '1984' Apple Commercial

During the 1983 Apple Keynote, Steve Jobs unveils the famous '1984' Apple commercial directed by sci-fi director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner). The ad debuted for the masses in 1984 during Super Bowl XVIII. It features a female athlete entering an auditorium and hurling a sledgehammer through a large video screen displaying "Big Brother," who symbolizes Apple's then rival, IBM.

 Steve Jobs Unveiling the Macintosh on January 24, 1984

Steve Jobs unveils the Macintosh computer at Apple's Annual Shareholders Meeting on January 24, 1984. He touts its 128K bytes of RAM and its three-and-a-half inch disk drive that he states will be the "disk of the '80s." He also emphasizes the Macintosh's incredible black and white screen and built-in voice sound.

 Steve Jobs Teaser Trailer

This is the first trailer for the 2015 Steve Jobs movie starring Michael Fassbender as the eccentric entrepreneur and Apple cofounder. Kate Winslet portrays Macintosh/NeXT team member Joanna Hoffman and Seth Rogen portrays Steve Wozniak. The film comes just two years after the Ashton Kutcher Jobs movie.

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