LOS ANGELES — Techies have been keeping a hot eye on dueling Steve Jobs biopics, one an indie starring Ashton Kutcher and the other, written by Aaron Sorkin, in the works at Sony, which made The Social Network.
But it turns out there was also a joker in the deck nobody knew about: Funny or Die, the comedy website, said over the weekend that it had made its own Jobs movie iSteve and planned to unveil it online April 15. A biopic poking fun at biopics, iSteve stars Justin Long (New Girl, DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story) in the title role. At 60 to 75 minutes, the movie is the longest project to date for Funny or Die, which generally features bite-sized videos.
In true Internet fashion, its not based on very thorough research essentially a cursory look at the Steve Jobs Wikipedia page, said Ryan Perez, who wrote and directed iSteve. Its very silly. But it looks at his whole life. Making fun of Jobs, the Apple co-founder who died in 2011 and who is considered a deity by many people (at least in the tech world), is a risky proposition, even if done gently. But Allison Hord, who produced iSteve, said the tone was such that even the harshest fanboy critics will be able to laugh with us.
In addition to Long, the movie stars James Urbaniak as Bill Gates and Michaela Watkins as Melinda Gates. Jorge Garcia plays Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple and is working with Sorkin on his film, an adaptation of Walter Isaacsons best-selling Jobs biography.
We were kicking around the idea of making a fake Steve Jobs movie trailer, and as often happens in a writers room, the joke kind of escalated, said Hord, who is known for producing Funny or Dies Youre So Hot videos starring Dave Franco and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
Perezs Funny or Die work includes a parody of Zero Dark Thirty in which Navy SEALs try to coax Osama bin Laden out of a closet with a puppy and a pizza (and ultimately discover they are talking to a mop). Perez said he wrote the 81-page script for iSteve in three days; it was taped in five.
We might not be the best, but we will be the first, he joked.
Jobs, Kutchers film, had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January and was scheduled for release in theaters April 19. On Friday its distributor, Open Road Films, scrapped that plan, saying it did not have time to mount a proper marketing campaign; a new release date was not announced. Sorkins film is still in the early stages of production.