Sony Pictures is buying the movie rights to an upcoming Steve Jobs biography
A biopic of the Apple CEO would have to capture him in his younger and later days
Casting director: No one will look just like Jobs, so the key is capturing his essence
Here are 10 actors we think would bring something interesting to the role
With news that Sony Pictures is buying the movie rights to an upcoming biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, speculation has jumped to who could play the late tech mastermind.
Quoting anonymous sources, the New York Times and other media outlets were reporting that Sony is in final talks and will pay $1 million for the rights to the book, which traces Jobs’ story from college dropout to CEO of the world’s leading tech company.
Simon & Schuster announced last week that, based on the surge of interest in Jobs following his death last week, it would move the release date of the authorized biography, “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson, from November 21 to October 24.
Capturing the iconoclastic Jobs on the written page is not easy. But finding the right actor to bring him to life onscreen might be an even bigger challenge.
“When you’re casting somebody to play someone that is familiar to audiences, you’re never going to get somebody that is going to look exactly like them,” said Tammara Billik, casting director at Billik/Wood Casting in Sherman Oaks, California. “So you have to get at the sort of internal essence of the person. You have to get their energy.”
Think Ben Kingsley as Gandhi, or more recently, Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles.
With a Jobs biopic, there’s the added difficulty of finding someone who can play him both as a young man starting Apple Computer in his parents’ garage with partner Steve Wozniak, and as the 50ish CEO who captivated audiences three decades later with high-profile launches of the iPhone and iPad.
And then there’s the dramatic weight loss Jobs saw in his final years as he battled pancreatic cancer.
The first name that came to Billik’s mind was an actor that could capture Jobs in his later years: Stanley Tucci.
“I think physically there’s a resemblance,” she said of the veteran character actor from “The Devil Wears Prada” and other films. “And I think Stanley always plays very bright, articulate men. I think that really speaks to who Steve Jobs was.”
Going younger, she mentions another, perhaps less-likely choice: “Saturday Night Live’s” Andy Samberg.
“He doesn’t really look like him, but he doesn’t really look like anybody he plays and he pulls it off,” she said of the actor who has mimicked another tech titan, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, on “SNL.”
In a quick brainstorming session, Billik threw out a list of other possibilities: Josh Stamberg from “Drop Dead Diva.” “Heroes” alum Adrian Pasdar. Matthew Modine. Christian Bale. Jason Schwartzman. Bob Saget. (Yes, Bob Saget. We think that one was a joke).
“You could kind of go down the list and find a lot of people who probably could do it,” Billik said. “Nobody is going to be exactly him. But it’s got to be somebody who’s right – who’s got an intensity to them.”
Jobs has already been portrayed on screen once – by “ER’s” Noah Wyle in a 1999 made-for-TV movie, “Pirates of Silicon Valley.”
Of course, to cast Jobs’ life story today you’d also need another actor to play the shorter, stouter Wozniak. Some first-instinct suggestions: Jack Black, Zach Galifianakis or Philip Seymour Hoffman.
In the gallery above, we’ve collected 10 actors who could bring something interesting to the role. Does one of them work for you? Did we leave out an obvious choice? Let us know in the comments.