Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak questioned the accuracy of a long-awaited film about Steve Jobs as the movie opened with a red carpet premiere Friday, while its makers stressed it was not a documentary.
Wozniak said the movie “jOBS — which opened at the Sundance Film Festival — erred in its depiction of the characters as well as the relationships between them — especially the one between him and computer icon Jobs.
“We never had such interaction and roles,” Wozniak, who quit Apple in 1987 after 12 years, told the tech blog Gizmodo, after a clip from the movie was posted online ahead of the evening premier at the Sundance Film Festival.
“I’m not even sure what it’s getting at,” he said, adding that the “personalities are very wrong — although mine is closer.”
“The ideas of computers affecting society did not come from Jobs. They inspired me and were widely spoken at the Homebrew Computer Club,” he said, referring to a hobby group to which they belonged.
The film, one of two about the Apple founder who died in 2011, opens in the United States in April. The second, which has no release date yet, is based on the biography published by Walter Isaacson shortly after his death.
Directed by Joshua Michael Stern and with “Two and a Half Men” star Ashton Kutcher in the title role, “jOBS” tells the story of his ascension from college dropout to one of the most revered creative entrepreneurs of the 20th century.
“Steve came back from Oregon and came to a club meeting and didn’t start talking about this great social impact,” said Wozniak, referring to the period in the 1970s before Silicon Valley took off.
“His idea was to make a $20 PC board and sell it for $40 to help people at the club build the computer I’d given away. Steve came from selling surplus parts at HalTed — he always saw a way to make a quick buck off my designs,” said the famously geek-casual-looking Wozniak.
“The lofty talk came much further down the line… I never looked like a professional. We were both kids,” he said.
The film’s producers responded to Wozniak’s comments in a statement cited by Entertainment Weekly. “The film is not a documentary, nor is it meant to be a blow-by-blow, word-for-word account of all conversations and events,” it said.
“The filmmakers have tremendous admiration and respect for Wozniak and all those that are portrayed in the film, and did extensive research in an effort to make an entertaining accurate film that captures the essence and story of Steve Jobs and those that built Apple with him,” the statement said.
But they acknowledged “that not every single thing in the film is a precise representation of what took place.”
The movie “is feature film entertainment about one of the most important, creative and impactful people (in) our culture’s history taking place over three decades compressed into a two hour film,” their statement added.
Wozniak, who made his criticism after seeing just one short movie clip before the evening premier at the closing weekend of Sundance in the snowy Utah mountains, said inaccuracy did not necessarily mean the film was bad.
“The movie should be very popular and I hope it’s entertaining. It may be very correct, as well. This is only one clip,” he said.
He added: “Our relationship was so different than what was portrayed. I’m embarrassed. but if the movie is fun and entertaining, all the better. Anyone who reads my book ‘iWoz’ can get a clearer picture.”