Universal could plug into Steve Jobs biopic after Sony disconnects

Sony drops Steve Jobs biopic; Universal could pick it up

After hitting the reset button multiple times, Sony has dropped out of its planned Steve Jobs biopic and put the project into turnaround, the Los Angeles Times has confirmed.

But filmgoers may not notice much of a difference: The movie on Thursday was being aggressively shopped around town and Universal Pictures could wind up with the attractive package, which includes an Aaron Sorkin script, a Danny Boyle directorial attachment and rights to a wildly popular Walter Isaacson biography. The studio declined to comment when reached by The Times.

Deadline Hollywood first reported the news of Sony's exiting the film. Michael Fassbender was recently in talks to play Jobs.

While Sony's bowing out of the high-profile project comes as a surprising turn of events and has set industry tongues wagging about everything from personality clashes to financial disagreements, the Jobs biopic has been bedeviled by a series of false starts and setbacks since the studio optioned Isaacson's bestseller "Steve Jobs" around the time of the Apple co-founder's death in October 2011.

Director David Fincher, who worked with Sorkin on "The Social Network" for Sony, had previously circled the Jobs project, but he and the studio ultimately went their separate ways.

Finding an actor to play Jobs has also proved tricky, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale both attached to the role at one point, only to pass. In the case of Bale, Sorkin even told Bloomberg less than a month ago that Bale was on board and was "going to crush" the part, only for the actor to, ahem, bail just days later.

A major project switching studios relatively late in the game isn't common, but it isn't unheard of either: This fall's "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," for instance, was a longtime Fox project before it moved to Disney, which produced it relatively quickly. Sony itself has had some high-profile stops and starts, most famously five years ago when studio chief Amy Pascal pulled the plug on Steven Soderbergh's "Moneyball" just days before it was to start shooting. That movie was later revived with Bennett Miller (and, oddly, Sorkin) and went on to become a hit.

Still, a migration for the Jobs film from Sony to Universal would mean a certain amount of regrouping given new executives and their inevitable notes. As the movie's subject knew well, a major rollout is never simple.

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