9 Lessons Christian Bale Has to Learn to Play Steve Jobs
It’s about more than the turtleneck.
Aaron Sorkin, father of the walk-and-talk, has confirmed that Christian Bale will be playing Steve Jobs in an upcoming biopic based on Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography. Danny Boyle, who gave the world Trainspotting and the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, is set to direct. There will be emotional gravitas and there will be a lot of fast cuts.
A Sorkin-Bale-Isaacson-Boyle baby is bound to be quite a healthy kid, but there is still reason to be concerned about the film. Past portrayals of Jobs have been uniformly less than stellar and while Bale has chops that Ashton Kutcher (Jobs), Justin Long (iSteve), and Noah Wyle (Pirates of Silicon Valley) do not, he’s still got a big job ahead of him. He should be eager to learn from past failures.
Here are nine lessons he should learn before pulling on the turtleneck of destiny:
Don’t Smile: Kutcher couldn’t help flashing the pearly whites (“Hey Microsoft, you got Punk’d!”) and they undermined his portrayal of a guy whose intensity, by all accounts, made Stalin look like David Pogue.
Breath Heavily: As Justin Long shows, nothing conveys seriousness like a persistent wheeze. Asthmatics will inherit the Earth.
Use the Floppy Hair: Costume people love slapping a Beatles-style mop on any actor playing mid-twenties Jobs. Noah Wyle used his to great effect, with little head bops punctuating all important lines.
Drive Like an Asshole: In a gunmetal Benz 380SL, Ashton-as-Steve cuts off elderly drivers and squeals into handicapped spaces.
Stroke Everything: Every moment of reflection or design inspiration should be paired with the delicate, slightly sexual touching of a calligraphy pen, logic board, or shoe. Apparently, this is the traditional way to indicate a design-forward sensibility.
Wiggle Your Toes: Jobs is rumored to have spent his years at Stanford almost completely shoeless. Both Wyle and Kutcher really worked on individual digit articulation and authentic callous roughness.
Poke Woz: A crucial part of playing Steve Jobs seems to be never letting Steve Wozniak forget he’s fat. Yes, he’s the brains behind the world’s most lucrative tech company, but goddammit, they’re a California company: Get on that stair-climber, Woz.
Use Body Language to Communicate a Foul Smell: An essential part of an early-Jobs portrayal is nailing the unwashed-pits-and-patchouli smell. Wyle nailed this though it’s unclear if he was trying.
Don’t Hesitate to Take Everything Out on Underlings: Christian Bale is going to nail this.
Photos by Katherine York / Splash News