When it comes to turning technology pioneers into box-office material, Aaron Sorkin is Hollywood's go-to guy. The Oscar-winning writer, who brought the story of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to the big screen, is being lined up to pen a biopic of Steve Jobs.
Sorkin, who won a best adapted screenplay Oscar for The Social Network, revealed that he is reading Walter Isaacson's biography of the Apple founder, who died last month, with a view to turning it into a major movie.
George Clooney and ER star Noah Wyle are being considered for the lead role in the film, to be made by Sony Pictures, which paid $1m to option Isaacson's best-selling book. Wyle played Jobs in a 1999 television film, Pirates of Silicon Valley, the only previous occasion in which he has been dramatised.
"Sony has asked me to write the movie and it's something I'm strongly considering," Sorkin told E! Online. "Right now, I'm just in the thinking-about-it stages. It's a really big movie and it's going to be a great movie no matter who writes it." Sorkin, creator of The West Wing, spoke to Jobs on several occasions and was asked to write a film for the Pixar studio, when the technology innovator ran the animation studio.
Isaacson's book, written with Jobs's co-operation, details his brutal verbal attacks on employees, and his fierce temper. The Social Network centred on the dispute over who deserved the financial reward for founding Zuckerberg's $80bn company, and the Jobs story, as told in Isaacson's book, has the potential for similarly dramatic scenes. These include Jobs's falling-out with Eric Schmidt, the Google chief executive, over the search-engine company's creation of its Android mobile operating system, which the Apple boss saw as a betrayal.
The film is expected to cover the long-standing rivalry between Jobs and Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder. Jobs told Isaacson that Gates "shamelessly ripped off other people's ideas. He'd be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger". Isaacson's book, based on 40 interviews with its subject, was released days after the creator of the iPhone and iPod's death aged 56 from pancreatic cancer. It sold 380,000 copies in its first week on sale in the US.
Sony may seek to reunite Sorkin with David Fincher, who directed the Zuckerberg story. Wyle, 40, is favourite to land the Jobs role after spending time with the Apple boss as research for the 1999 drama.