Just over two weeks ago, hackers attacked Sony Pictures, acquiring up to 100 terabytes of data that included huge amounts of sensitive information like emails, Social Security numbers, films, scripts, and more.
Data from the hack has been leaking out for the last several days, and as of today, new emails have been found discussing the Steve Jobs biopic that Sony was producing before it sold the film to Universal Studios.
According to leaked data shared by Ars Technica, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who penned the script from Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, originally had his eye on Tom Cruise to play Steve Jobs. An email from October 31 suggested Sorkin was campaigning heavily for Tom Cruise, while director Danny Boyle was concerned about the actor’s age.
His emails also divulged a few details about the scenes, which cover three different Jobs product launches, suggesting Tom Cruise, at 52 is the right age for third act, while Seth Rogen, aged 32, would be the right age for the first act as Steve Wozniak.
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.
Ultimately, director Danny Boyle dug in his heels and insisted on Michael Fassbender over Tom Cruise, with an email response to Sorkin suggesting Boyle „seemed committed“ to Fassbender. Sorkin was not initially thrilled with the decision, but opted to accept Boyle’s choice.
Sorkin replied, „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.“ But in the exchange that followed, he wrote, „F*** it. He’s a great actor whose time has come.“
It’s known that Sony Pictures had difficulty casting the role of Jobs, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale were both briefly tied to the film before dropping out, but the emails also suggest that Tobey Maguire and Matthew McConaughey inquired about playing Steve Jobs before the role went to Fassbender. Tom Hanks was also reportedly interested in taking on the role of John Sculley, which is rumored to be going to Jeff Daniels.
Boyle’s decision to stick with X-Men actor Michael Fassebender ultimately led to Sony’s decision to drop the Steve Jobs biopic after executives struggled to secure financing for the film with Fassbender in the lead role. Boyle and producer Scott Rudin went on to ink a deal with Universal to take over the film.