Comedy website makes a Steve Jobs biopic

New York TimesMarch 18, 2013 


An undated handout image of an online poster for a Funny or Die spoof movie, called "iSteve," starring Justin Long as Steve Jobs. Funny or Die, a comedy website, said it plans to unveil the movie online April 15, 2013.


— 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, it’s not based on very thorough research – essentially a cursory look at the Steve Jobs Wikipedia page,” said Ryan Perez, who wrote and directed “iSteve.” “It’s 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 Isaacson’s 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 Die’s “You’re So Hot” videos starring Dave Franco and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Perez’s 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,” Kutcher’s 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. Sorkin’s film is still in the early stages of production.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service