A veteran of the original Mac team gives his verdict on the new Jobs movie

a veteran of the original mac team gives his verdict on new jobs movie steve michael fassbender
Universal Pictures
Andy Hertzfeld, one of the software engineers who worked on the first Mac computer, has given the new Steve Jobs movie his blessing in an interview with Re/code. In the film, which opens Friday, O 9, Hertzfeld is portrayed by Michael Stuhlbarg of Boardwalk Empire fame.

Hertzfeld has only seen a “work in progress” cut of Steve Jobs but says it looks like “a fine movie, brilliantly written and performed and full of humor and feeling.” While conceding that the movie “deviates from reality everywhere,” Hertzfeld still thinks it’s a success: “Almost nothing in it is like it really happened — but ultimately that doesn’t matter that much.”

“The purpose of the film is to entertain, inspire, and move the audience, not to portray reality,” Hertzfeld says. “It is cavalier about the facts but aspires to explore and expose the deeper truths behind Steve’s unusual personality and behavior, and it often but not always succeeds at that.”

The developer also talks about his admiration for screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and says he met with him several times — as well as with actor Michael Stuhlbarg — while the film was in development. “[Sorkin and I] had a lengthy discussion about artistic license, about how OK it is to diverge from reality,” explains Hertzfeld. “Basically, he convinced me it was not a documentary, so veracity is secondary to artistic considerations, and ‘it’s a painting, not a photograph.'”

In other words, while the film takes some liberties with timelines and details, it succeeds in its aims of portraying Jobs as a person — or at least some facets of the person — and that’s fine with Hertzfeld. The Apple veteran says it’s a big improvement over the 2013 Jobs biopic, which starred Ashton Kutcher: “They asked for my help on that but I declined after I saw the script, which seemed unsalvageable.”

You can read the interview in full over at Re/code.

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