Aaron Sorkin on Steve Jobs, Facebook, and why he ignored the iPhone

The Social Network was a big win for Sorkin, bagging him the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. The story was based on Ben Mezrich's book on the early days at Facebook. The film proved a critical and, unlike the Ashton Kutcher-starring Jobs, commercial success.

"I didn't think of it as a biopic – at least The Social Network was literal. I didn't take all of the conflicts in Mark's life. With Eduardo [Saverin], with the Winklevosses (sorry, Winklevii), with Sean Parker, and dramatise them in the deposition room.

"They had confrontations there, but I also showed you chronologically what happened in the early days of Facebook."

Sorkin doesn't see it as a biopic of Zuckerberg though; he relates it more to a biography of Facebook itself. "A biopic would have shown Mark in grade school being bullied by bullies.

"We would have shown the moment that he and his parents discover he's got the facility for mathematics and computers. We would have shown him on his first day at Harvard. We would have shown him meeting Eduardo – that kind of thing."

The Social Network

"I wouldn't call that a biopic either – it's more a biopic of Facebook.

"Through this lawsuit I told a story. One story that could be told about Mark Zuckerberg and, like all of us, there are a million stories I'm sure that could be told."

But Sorkin isn't keen to jump right back into technology for his next story. "The field doesn't appeal to me the way it appeals to you and your readers," he says. "I don't have an emotional connection to technology. I use it – God knows I get a lot of use out of it.

Steve Jobs

"If there was another really good story within the tech arena I would not shy away from it just because I have done two stories about tech titans.

"When I was asked to do Steve Jobs, the thing that I had going against it was it is another tech story. Part of my problem is every time I write something like this I feel like I have to go back to school and change my major.

"There's so much I don't know that I need to learn before I can even think about learning the story."

But the man himself proved too interesting for Sorkin to back away. "Steve Jobs had actually just died a few weeks earlier and I was really taken aback by the size and the depth of the mourning. The eulogising that was happening, I hadn't really seen anything like it since John Lennon was killed.

"I was curious about what that was about, and the emotional connection they felt to his products."

Steve Jobs

He was one of them – Sorkin has written all his scripts on different versions of the Mac. Steve Jobs was written across four different Apple products. There was a desktop in Aaron's home, one in his office and two MacBooks he uses on the go.

He's also got an iPhone, so he's no stranger to Jobs' work. He even still uses a black iPod Classic.

"I like the clicking wheel. It's the classic one. And I just love that wheel – Steve really did know what he was doing."


But Sorkin didn't just use his knowledge of the products. In a similar way to how he related to Zuckerberg in the script for The Social Network, Sorkin did the same when writing Jobs.

"You can't judge them. I like to write them as if they're making their case to God on why they should be allowed into heaven.

"And the way I'm able to relate to Steve is that he made things, informed them, endowed them with something that makes us emotional about him."

Steve Jobs

"I, like Steve, work in a collaborative medium – so I understand what it is when someone gets in between you and trying to make this thing that you think will get people to like you."

"People felt an emotional connection to the things that he made. So he felt like he was liked, and he was. I want people to like the things that I make."

Steve Jobs is in UK cinemas November 13 and out now in the US.

James Peckham

James is the Editor-in-Chief at Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.