Actor Ashton Kutcher is starring in jOBS, an upcoming film based on the life of Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs. But at least one person intimate with the Mac mastermind is not impressed. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is slamming Kutcher’s film as “totally wrong.”
Apple co-wiz Woz made his comments after seeing a clip from the movie showing the 34-year-old actor seeming to portray a period in Apple’s creation when Steve Jobs was a much younger person than actor Kutcher. Wozniak felt their “relationship” was portrayed incorrectly, as well.
“Not close… we never had such interaction and roles… I’m not even sure what it’s getting at… personalities are very wrong although mine is closer,” Woz wrote to the tech site Gizmodo.
Woz also noted that it wasn’t Jobs that was the early, far-seeing computer maker that foresaw the social changes that computers would eventually bring. In fact, Jobs came to the computer club that helped spawn what would become Apple Computers after the home computer’s creation was envisioned.
As Woz reminded readers, “don’t forget that my purpose was inspired by the values of the Homebrew Computer Club along with ideas of the value of such machines and Steve J. wasn’t around and didn’t attend the club so he was the one learning about such social impact of the future… The lofty talk came much further down the line.”
So, Jobs came to learn of how computers could change the world after those ideas were dreamed up by members of the computer club he later joined.
None of this diminishes the importance that Steve Jobs has in the pantheon of computer inventors, to be sure, but the film just gets this early history wrong if the film clip is any indication.
Woz was also a bit offput by how the film portrayed his character’s clothing. Woz, well known for his preference for casual dress, thought it was just off base.
“I never looked like a professional. We were both kids. 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,” he wrote.
Woz then elaborated on the fact that Jobs was more about products and sales and less about social vision.
A more accurate portrayal would be myself in the Homebrew Computer Club (with Steve Jobs up in another state and not aware of it) being inspired by liberal humanist academics from Berkeley and Stanford and other places speaking of these high social goals. I decided then and there to help them reach those goals by designing a computer that was affordable. I gave it away to members of this club to help them. My goal was not money or power. In fact, when Steve came down and came to the club and saw the interest, he did not propose making a computer. Rather, he suggested we make a PC board so that others could build my computer easier. This PC board is just a component, like the ones Steve would sell at Haltek, a surplus electronics store. By the way, the Apple I was the 5th time I designed something just for fun that Steve found a way to turn into money, and the Apple ][ was the 6th time. We always split the proceeds.
Wozniak is not wholly against the film, though. He said that if it is entertaining and gets the basic ideas right, then that’s fine.