Bad blood, bruised egos, e-mail scandal: A timeline of the unravelling of Sony's Steve Jobs movie

How Sony Pictures' version of the Steve Jobs biopic collapsed came out in the open after e-mail exchanges, especially those between Amy Pascal, the head of Sony's film unit, and producer Scott Rudin, leaked online this week.

The leaks came after Sony's computers were hacked on Nov 24.

The e-mails provide a near chronological look at the internal squabbles over the film, which Aaron Sorkin was co-writing and Danny Boyle directing.

Woes plaguing the film included the casting of actors for the Apple founder role, the choice of director and the film's finances, before the project was passed to Universal Pictures.

The e-mails also featured unflattering mentions of stars such as Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie and producer Megan Ellison.


Feb 27, 2014 - Rudin learns that Jolie wants David Fincher to helm her Sony remake of Cleopatra instead of the Jobs biopic. He e-mails Pascal: "You better shut Angie down before she makes it very hard for David to do Jobs."

Pascal swears, telling him not to threaten her. "I have been asking you to engage with me on this for weeks," she writes.

He hits back: "There is no movie of Cleopatra to be made (and how that is a bad thing given the insanity and rampaging spoiled ego of this woman and the cost of the movie is beyond me) and if you won't tell her that you do not like the script... let me tell you I have zero appetite for the indulgence of spoiled brats and I will tell her this myself if you don't."

Cleopatra, he says, is "a $180m ego bath that we both know will be the career-defining debacle for us both", adding: "I'm not destroying my career over a minimally talented spoiled brat who thought nothing of shoving this off her plate for eighteen months so she could go direct a movie... She's a camp event and a celebrity and that's all and the last thing anybody needs is to make a giant bomb with her that any fool could see coming."


March 27 - Pascal, Rudin and Sorkin discuss Fincher wanting US$45 million to do the movie. Pascal offers US$40 million but Fincher declines.

Oct 7 - Pascal says she is "very happy" with Christian Bale as Jobs. Her comment follows news that Leonardo DiCaprio has ended talks to star as Jobs. Sorkin, in news on Oct 22, confirms that Bale will now play Jobs.


Oct 31 - Sorkin pushes Tom Cruise as a candidate for the Jobs role, but later tells Pascal that Boyle thinks the 52-year-old may be too old for the part and that "the choice will be met with derision because it's such a commercial choice".

Sorkin writes: "Look, I wouldn't cast Clint Eastwood but if I saw Tom Cruise flying around the backstage corridors of Symphony Hall I wouldn't think he was too old. I think it would be dazzling performance."

Pascal replies, saying she likes the idea. But the day after, she tells Sorkin that Boyle "seems committed to" Michael Fassbender for the part. On Nov 3, it is revealed that Bale has dropped out of talks for the role.


Some time in October - Co-financing woes are discussed. Rudin chides Pascal for pinning her hopes on financing from producer Megan Ellison, daughter of Oracle Corp chairman Larry Ellison and friend of Jobs.

"If you work this bipolar 28 year old lunatic who hasn't returned your call in 3 days, and maybe if she likes you and if she took her meds, there's some vague chance you can start this movie in ten weeks?," he writes.

Nov 13 - The movie's cost is a bone of contention. "I think Danny (Boyle) needs to rethink how he wants to do the movie. We are not gonna get anyone to help us out here at this cost with this cast," Rudin tells Pascal. She tells Rudin she wants to "slow this down". He responds: "If we slow it down, I think Danny walks."

Nov 19 - Pascal begs Rudin to let Sony have another chance with the film but he tells her: "It's closed."

Nov 20 - He tells her: "You've destroyed your relationships with half the town over how you've behaved on this movie, and if you don't think it's true, wait and see... you don't deserve one exhalation of breath on your behalf. You've behaved abominably and it will be a very, very long time before I forget what you did to this movie and what you've put all of us through." Pascal writes to a lieutenant to "get rid of him", an apparent reference to Rudin's deal.


Nov 21 - "What happened is entirely my fault," Pascal tells him, adding: "I have made other kinds of mistakes, but not like this." Universal Pictures picks up the project with Fassbender as Jobs, Boyle directing and Sorkin writing the screenplay.

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