Warning: This article contains potential spoilers from a forthcoming feature film.
A pre-production copy of the script for Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming biopicture on late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was on the Internet for nearly a week before it was pulled late Tuesday morning.
The script has been casually passed between screenwriting enthusiasts for a few months before it was quietly uploaded to the document repository Scribd last week. A link to the script was posted in the Reddit community /r/screenwriting by a user named “SlickRickkk,” who claimed to have uploaded the document after being sent a copy by another user last month.
Although the script appears genuine, its authenticity could not be independently verified by The Desk. The script disappeared from Scribd one day after The Desk approached a Universal Pictures spokesperson for comment; a note on Scribd said the document was “removed at the request of NBC Universal.”
Universal Pictures is a subsidiary of NBC Universal. Both companies are owned by Comcast.
A spokesperson initially told The Desk the studio was not aware of the script’s leak. Later, the studio said it had no comment. Details of the leaked script were first reported by 9to5Mac one day after the document appeared online.
Much of the Sorkin film has been a closely held Hollywood secret since production of the biopic was announced two years ago, though Sorkin himself has released some information through interviews about what the film might look like.
In November 2012, Sorkin told the website The Daily Beast that his film would focus on three specific events from Jobs’ careers at Apple and NeXT Computer, a stark contrast to an earlier film that covered in large detail much of the late Apple co-founder’s life.
The leaked script, which is dated February 2014, appears to confirm just that. According to the script, the film will open with a scene set in 1984 depicting the launch of the first Macintosh computer. That scene follows another centered on the launch of the NeXT Cube computer, with the final scene dealing mainly with Jobs’ relationship with his daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs and the launch of the iMac computer (Sorkin himself has said Lisa will play a major role in his biopic on Jobs).
The Sorkin film is based largely on an adaptation of the biography penned by Sir Walter Isaacson three years ago. The film was originally set to be distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment, but spats and disagreements over the production of the film — noted in a handful of e-mails leaked during last year’s notorious Sony Pictures hack — meant the film would wind up in the hands of Universal pictures instead.
Update: In a follow-up e-mail shortly after this article was published, a Universal spokesperson said an earlier message in which the studio claimed they were not aware that the script had leaked was “off the record” and not intended for attribution. The spokesperson, who did not request an off-the-record conversation with The Desk when he made the remark, said the studio officially has no comment on the leak.
In a second follow-up message, the studio’s spokesperson said he would cease future contact with The Desk if his earlier remark was not removed from the article.