Now that Sony Pictures is planning a movie based on the new authorized biography of Steve Jobs, attention has focused anew on the last film about the Apple icon. Actor Noah Wyle talks about playing Jobs in TNT’s 1999 made-for-TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley that the cable channel is re-scheduling. Here is some of what Wyle told Fortune magazine about the experience at the time:
I had apprehensions of playing Jobs in Pirates Of Silicon Valley. TNT was really excited about me taking the part, but I had worries I usually didn’t have as an actor. I knew something about him and I had the script, but I couldn’t really get a beat on the guy until they sent me the documentary, Triumph Of The Nerds. Then it was “Ohmigod! I’ve never seen anything like this. I have to play this guy.” I was so taken by his presence, his confidence, smugness, smartness, ego, and his story’s trajectory. He seemed to be the most Shakespearean figure in American culture in the last 50 years I could think of – the rise of, the fall of, and the return of. The truest definition of a tragic hero — but you get the ‘bonus round’ that F. Scott Fitzgerald said didn’t exist. Jobs has had one hell of a second act.
We were under a very strict directive not to contact the people we were playing for fear that they would find something libelous in the script and shut the production down. So I didn’t. The day after the movie aired, I was sitting in my living room and my phone with what I thought was my unlisted phone number rang.
“Noah?” said the voice.
“Yes,” I said.
“This is Steve Jobs.”
My heart started beating through my shirt. And he said — and I’ve memorized this—”I’m just calling to tell you I thought you did a good job. I hated the movie, I hated the script, I think if you had spent a little more time and a little more money and maybe a little more attention to detail, you could have had something there. But you were good.”
And all I could say was, “Thank you. Sir.” MORE