David Fincher has left a high-profile biopic of the late Apple founder Steve Jobs after Sony Pictures turned down Fincher’s alleged “aggressive” demands for $10m (£5.9m) in up-front wages and control of the marketing of the movie, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Fincher was named as a frontrunner to direct the as-yet untitled drama, which has been adapted by Aaron Sorkin from an official Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. Sorkin and Fincher had worked together on the Oscar-winning 2010 biopic The Social Network, about the founding of Facebook.
A source with ties to the studio told the Hollywood Reporter, Fincher was not entirely out of the running, but labelled his wage demands “ridiculous”. The source said: “You’re not doing Transformers here. You’re not doing Captain America. This is quality – it’s not screaming commerciality. He should be rewarded in success, but not up front.”
The Social Network took a decent $225m (£138m) worldwide in 2010 and won Sorkin an Oscar for best adapted screenplay. Fincher’s followup, an English-language adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s bestselling crime novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was expected to have even greater commercial appeal, but ultimately scraped in $235m (£140.7m). A sequel has not yet been confirmed.
It is unusual for details of a director’s wage demands to emerge, though reports of actors’ pay cheques are occasionally revealed. In other news about the film, Fincher had wanted Christian Bale to play Jobs. Sorkin, who remains on board as screenwriter, said he envisaged an unusual structure for the biopic: three single-take scenes, each one following a major Apple product launch.
There has already been one movie about the Apple founder following his death in 2011. Starring Ashton Kutcher and titled simply Jobs, the traditional biopic charted the technology guru’s turbulent history with Apple. It grossed a modest $35m at the global box office last year.
Sony is currently tightening its belts following disappointing results for its film division. The company said in November that it was considering a shift towards television and would be reducing its forthcoming film slate, with at least $250m (£149.7m) in cuts expected before 2016.
So what do you think? Was Fincher over demanding or what?
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