The following script is from "60 Minutes Presents: A Night at the Movies" which aired on July 3, 2016.
Good evening. I'm Bill Whitaker. Welcome to 60 Minutes Presents: A Night at the Movies. We begin with a look at the director behind this past year's biggest blockbuster: "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
The New Force Behind "Star Wars"
It's the first new Star Wars in a decade and the first to be made without creator George Lucas. Nearly four years ago, Lucas sold his empire to The Walt Disney Company for $4 billion. Enter J.J. Abrams, the director handpicked to re-ignite the fan fervor -- and who -- as we first reported last December -- was under tremendous pressure to make sure Disney's big bet paid off. He's been called the Steven Spielberg of his generation and we learned Spielberg helped get him the job. When Abrams took us behind the scenes, we found a 49-year-old man fueled by a childlike enthusiasm for the magic of the movies and a movie that hit some classic Star Wars notes.
Six weeks before the premiere, we dropped in on a Hollywood scoring session for "The Force Awakens."
Composer John Williams, who won an Academy Award for the first Star Wars film, was back -- along with the iconic refrain he wrote 38 years ago.
Take a look behind Williams. That's not some awestruck groupie. That's the movie's director, J.J. Abrams.
Bill Whitaker: I saw you up here with your -- with your -- video camera -- taking --
J.J. Abrams: Oh. Well, this is -- this is like momentous you know John Williams conducting his Star Wars music. I mean, as a fan, I can't even believe I get to be here.
Abrams saw Star Wars when he was 11 and never outgrew his passion for the film. On this day, when he wasn't in the middle of the orchestra, filming on his phone, he was racing around the sound stage -- here the fan...
John Williams: Do you think it could work?
J.J. Abrams: Let me just think. Yeah. It's incredible.
...there the director.
J.J. Abrams: We may need to make the bum ba da ba da...repeat those bars just because it might it might be a little bit longer before we get into the interior of the transport.
Bill Whitaker: I see you running around. I mean, you're very --
J.J. Abrams: Really? I've -- I've felt so calm today.
Bill Whitaker: Yeah -- this is you calm?
J.J. Abrams: Really, this is me, "Oh, God" --
Bill Whitaker: This is you calm?
J.J. Abrams: Yeah.
Bill Whitaker: Is it intimidating in any way?
J.J. Abrams: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. It's -- there are moments of just abject terror, as to what we're all taking on.
"It's not a movie. It's bigger than all of us. It's almost a religion for people."
What he's taking on is this: "The Force Awakens." Disney is counting on Abrams to expand the universe of Star Wars fans, while staying true to George Lucas' original vision. And the die-hard fans: their expectations are out of this world.
[Trailer: The Force. It's calling to you. ]
When the official trailer was posted online, it was viewed 112 million times in just 24 hours.
[Kylo Ren: Nothing will stand in our way.]
Bill Whitaker: Talk about the Force. The fans are a force to be reckoned with? And -- it's intense?
J.J. Abrams: It is.
Bill Whitaker: It's not just the fans here; this is global.
J.J. Abrams: It's not a movie. It's bigger than all of us. It's almost a religion for people.
Bill Whitaker: What grabbed you about Star Wars?
J.J. Abrams: The experience of it was so profound and so moving and so funny and so sweet that for me, as a kid -- it -- it blew my mind. And it was just -- it said, "Anything is possible."
Abrams has been working on "The Force Awakens" non-stop for three years. He's managed to keep a tight lid on it. This is one of the few clips Disney has released. He told us his movie is set about 30 years after "Return of the Jedi," the final film in the first trilogy. At the end of that movie, the good guys had vanquished the empire and subdued the dark side...or so it seemed.
Bill Whitaker: What has been going on in that galaxy?
J.J. Abrams: "Return of the Jedi" seemed to end pretty happily. But the walk off to the sunset is -- is always -- a misleading thing, because, "Well, then what?" And so one of the things that I think you see in this movie is that things didn't just end happily, and that the idea of the force, both the dark and the light side -- are at a classic Star Wars -- place, which is -- in a desperate moment.
A moment which forces a new generation to step up.
[Finn: We can't outrun them.
Rey: We might. In that quad jumper.]
Stepping into a lead role: 23-year-old newcomer, Daisy Ridley. Her character is Rey, a desert scavenger. John Boyega is another new face. He plays Finn, a disillusioned storm trooper.
[Finn: I've got nothing to fight for.]
Bill Whitaker: Your universe seems to be a -- more diverse place? By gender? By race?
J.J. Abrams: Uh-huh.
Bill Whitaker: What do you think the impact of that is going to be?
J.J. Abrams: When we started casting the movie, it felt incredibly important to me that the movie look like the world in which this movie is being released.
Abrams didn't just direct the movie, he wrote it with Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote two of the original Star Wars with Lucas. Abrams knew from the start he would tell a story that blended the new with the old. Taking his cue from the first trilogy, he made authenticity paramount, shooting in far flung locales, like this desert in Abu Dhabi; the sets were built from scratch ... the explosions were real.
Bill Whitaker: Were there times when you stepped back from being the director and you were just the fan on the set?
J.J. Abrams: It was very hard to be in the 125-degree heat in Abu Dhabi with actual Stormtroopers running through this village that we had built, and not have moments constantly of, "Holy -- what the -- you know, I can't believe I'm here." It was constantly happening, and I had to suppress that and say, "Yep, okay, let's do it," and like put that away, because the job was not to be a wide-eyed fan boy. The job was to be the director of the movie.
[Abrams: Energy and action!]
As the director, he managed a cast and crew of almost a thousand. He set limits on computer generated imagery. Most of Abrams' creatures, like the new droid BB-8, were crafted by hand, including his own.
J.J. Abrams: We knew he had to have a hero droid that was not -- a familiar one.
Bill Whitaker: And you came up with a concept, like, by sketching it out?
J.J. Abrams: I drew -- the dumbest little thing. I just, I -- I drew something like -- like this.
He gave his sketch to the creature department, a group of about 100 artists and designers. They made a puppet.
J.J. Abrams: And the puppeteer, came out with BB-8. And he was moving around. And it was, like "Oh my god, it lives."
[Rey: Where do you come from?]
We watched as Abrams worked on one scene where the droid meets Rey for the first time.
J.J. Abrams: Maybe we could connect them so it's not so separate.
Sound Editor: Um-hm.
J.J. Abrams: Duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh.
Bill Whitaker: So he's going to fit the pantheon R2-D2, C-3PO now --
J.J. Abrams: From your mouth, Sir.
Bill Whitaker: -- BB8.
J.J. Abrams: From your mouth, Sir. I don't - I - I -- I hope so.
Only a handful of people have seen the finished film. One of them is Abrams' wife of 19 years, Katie McGrath. They have three children, a charitable foundation she oversees, and a "Harry met Sally" rapport.
Katie McGrath: I love the movie. I really love the movie. And I'm sort of picky. And I'm a little -- you know --
J.J. Abrams: Brutally -- brutally honest.
Katie McGrath: I'm -- I'm honest. And at the end of the day, it's a movie. You know, this is not curing cancer. This is not eradicating poverty. This is -- this is making a movie. Right? Right? That's what you believe, right?
J.J. Abrams: I'm sorry. She lost me after, "This is just a movie." I was like --
Jeffrey Jacob Abrams' grew up in Hollywood's backyard, not far from the big studios. But when he took a tour of a movie backlot at age 8, he knew he'd found his calling.
Bill Whitaker: What in particular drew you to it?
J.J. Abrams: I think the thing that was so cool is the whole thing felt like a magic trick, that it was -- it was every aspect of illusion, of creating something that seemed like it was actual -- actually happening and real.
He picked up the family's home movie camera and tried his own sleight of hand.
[The Attic: Now we seek revenge!]
He admits his earliest works weren't that good. But he got better. He won a teen film festival and got written up in the Los Angeles Times. That's him in the middle. The article caught the eye of Steven Spielberg. He reached out to the young filmmaker, who reminded him of himself. Today Spielberg is Abrams' friend, collaborator and a big fan.
Bill Whitaker: What first struck you about him?
Steven Spielberg: He just reminded me of a cartoon character that was so full of magnetic energy and ideas coming out of him, sometimes just like sparks flying in all directions. He was just absolutely, deliriously, madly in love with the film business and with making movies.
The kid in Abrams is on display at Bad Robot, his Santa Monica production company. He says this quirky place is a grown up version of his childhood bedroom -- with toys, an art area, and a place for special effects. Here, about 90 employees churn out a constant stream of movies, TV shows, video games and apps. Abrams stage manages it all.
Bill Whitaker: He's kind of, like, all over the place. Is it difficult?
Katie McGrath: I don't even try. It can give you a bit of a complex if -- that you don't have enough hobbies in your life. But he --
Bill Whitaker: You're -- you're not doing enough.
Katie McGrath: No, no. And I'm doing plenty, by the way. But this is a whole other ballgame. He's, you know, he --
J.J. Abrams: I'm right here, guys--
Katie McGrath: I know. This is so weird.
J.J. Abrams: Bill, it's like "Sixth Sense." Bill, Katie.
Bill Whitaker: But it's good energy.
Katie McGrath: No, it's great energy, actually.
He sold his first screenplay in college. He went on to write or co-write five more movies including the blockbuster "Armageddon." He made several TV shows. The cult hit "Lost," about plane crash survivors on a mysterious island, won him two Emmys.
[Lost: You're going to be OK, do you understand me?
J.J. Abrams: Cut. That was awesome!]
After that, his rousing remakes of flagging franchises "Mission: Impossible" and "Star Trek" grossed more than one billion dollars worldwide and earned Abrams the reputation as the remake king. He found himself in a financially lucrative, but creative rut. He decided to move on from sequels. Then fate -- in the form of a conversation between Steven Spielberg and Star Wars producer Kathy Kennedy -- changed his destiny.
Steven Spielberg: And I just said, "Kathy there's only one director that really should undertake this daunting epic task, and that's J.J. Abrams."
His daunting task: to justify Disney's $4 billion investment, plus the estimated $200 million it cost to make the movie. Wall Street would be disappointed with anything less than $1.5 billion at the box office.
Bill Whitaker: What's going on in his head right now?
Steven Spielberg: Oh -- J.J. is terrified. There's a lot of pressure on J.J. -- to start paying Disney back for-- you know, the franchise they bought from -- from George Lucas.
J.J. Abrams: You just know that there will be people, no matter what you do, that will have issues with some aspect. You just know there is some number that is being thrown out there that will not be hit. You just know.
Fans snapped up more than $50 million in advance tickets. In Hollywood, they started lining up outside the theater a week before the opening. The force seems to be with Abrams.
Katie McGrath: He's got a long way to go, still, for what he's potentially able to do, in my opinion.
J.J. Abrams: Thank you.
Bill Whitaker: You think he's got another gear in his filmmaking?
Keith McGrath: I hope so. You better. We're running out of sequels. Right, babe? Come on. Isn't -- that's enough! What do you do after Star Wars?
Whether "The Force Awakens" soars or disappoints, J.J. Abrams is ready for this all-consuming, three-year rocket ride to be over.
J.J. Abrams: I said to someone recently it's like I've had the greatest, in this movie, I've had the - the -- the greatest roommate ever for too long. Like, it's just time for him to move out. He just -- he needs to get his own place. And I just need to figure out, you know, what's next.
The "Force Awakens" ended up soaring to record heights. It became the top grossing film in U.S. box office history and, just seven and a half weeks after opening, blasted past the $2 billion mark worldwide.
If you don't remember Michael Caine as Alfie in the 1960s, you might have seen him in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" in the 80s, or more recently as Alfred the butler in the Batman movies.
He has been in so many films, there's no official count: though he says it's nearly 180. He's been nominated for an Academy Award in every one of the last five decades. As Lesley Stahl first reported in December, at 82, Michael Caine can still make Hollywood take notice of his acting -- this time for his role in the movie "Youth."
"Youth" is set in the Swiss Alps. Michael Caine plays Fred Ballinger, a retired, celebrated composer and conductor who has turned his back on music. But he can't help finding it everywhere. It was a part written specifically for him.
Michael Caine: It was the most surprising offer I've ever had in my life. I don't get offered many leads at the--
Lesley Stahl: At your age?
Michael Caine: At 82, there aren't too many. And I almost said, "Don't bother to send the script. I'll do it. It's OK. It's OK."
[Fred Ballinger: Do you know who composed that piece you're practicing?
Young boy: No, who?
Fred Ballinger: Me.
Young boy: My teacher makes me play it. He says it's a perfect piece to start with.
Fred Ballinger: Yea, he's right it's very simple.
Young boy: It's not only simple.
Fred Ballinger: Oh really.
Young boy: It's also really beautiful.
Fred Ballinger: Yes, it is beautiful. I composed it while I still loved.]
Lesley Stahl: Would you say that Fred's in crisis in the movie?
Michael Caine: He's more or less destroyed, as a matter of fact. But you don't know that. And he would never let you see that.
Lesley Stahl: We have so much sympathy for him. How did you do that?
Michael Caine: I go back to situations in my life, and you can see it in my face.
But sometimes Caine wasn't acting at all. In one scene, director Paolo Sorrentino decided to present Caine and his co-star Harvey Keitel - with a surprise.
Michael Caine: We had no idea. We're in a swimming pool. And one of the most beautiful girls you've ever seen comes up with absolutely nothing on and gets in the pool. And we just look in disbelief. And he didn't tell us 'cause he wanted us to have a certain reaction. We just sat there like--
[Fred Ballinger: Who is she?
Mick Boyle: God... What do you mean who is she? Miss Universe.]
Lesley Stahl: How do you think you did in this movie? Rate yourself.
Michael Caine: Secretly with myself I regarded it as the best thing I ever did. It was the most difficult. And the criterion for that is I made it look the most easy.
Lesley Stahl: So in other words, you've improved?
Michael Caine: I just try to play more and more difficult roles.
Lesley Stahl: So, so you want a greater challenge at the age of 82--than when you were Alfie?
Michael Caine: I need a challenge 'cause I don't get the girl anymore.
Lesley Stahl: Right.
Michael Caine: All I get was grandma, you know.
Lesley Stahl: What's wrong with grandma?
Michael Caine: Nothing, you know. So long as she's pretty.
Lesley Stahl: There's a sense of the futures of these characters closing in on them, that age is shutting down their future. Did it in any way begin to infect you?
Michael Caine: Oh, no. But, there was a point in the movie where I'm being examined by my doctor. He says, "How's it feel to be old?" And I said, "I don't understand how I got here." And that affected me like hell 'cause I was thinking, "That's true of me. I don't understand how I got here."
He was born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite in 1933, the son of working class Cockneys in the slums of south London... a lot of which have been torn down and rebuilt.
Michael Caine: It was very, very tough. And it was full of razor gangs and all that.
Michael Caine: Is this the London Road comin' up, Mitchell?
Mitchell Freeman: On the right hand side, yes.
Michael Caine: Yeah, turn right there, please.
Michael Caine: Oh look. Now, there's an example. I spent my life in the library reading books to get away from this-- that's the library.
Lesley Stahl: This pile of rubble--?
Michael Caine: A pile of rubble.
Lesley Stahl: Your library.
Michael Caine: That is my library. I spent my entire time reading books and going to the cinema, just to escape. And they pulled my library down.
Lesley Stahl: You were really, really poor...
Michael Caine: Yeah, oh yeah, yeah. But my father was a fish market porter. So I grew up on fish, because he used to steal one a day, I grew up on the very best fish that money could buy, 'cause he only stole the good stuff.
Caine was determined not to be a fish porter like generations of Micklewhites before him. He was going to be a movie star and make a lot of money. At 14 he joined a local acting club.
Lesley Stahl: Acting was considered sissy-like--
Michael Caine: It was, yeah.
Lesley Stahl: --were you teased?
Michael Caine: Yeah. Oh yeah, but I, you know, you didn't tease me for very long.
Lesley Stahl: Why not?
Michael Caine: 'Cause you--
Michael Caine: Yeah, that wouldn't go down very well.
Lesley Stahl: You'd beat them up?
Michael Caine: Yeah.
Lesley Stahl: Were you that tough?
Michael Caine: Yeah. I'm not tough anymore, I'm 82.
At 22, Caine was struggling to find acting jobs. On the dole, he had a new wife and a baby and left them both.
Lesley Stahl: This is a very traumatic time of your life. Because you really--
Michael Caine: Oh yes.
Lesley Stahl: --you basically, in effect, walked out.
Michael Caine: Yeah, well, I screwed up. Yeah, I screwed up on everything--
Lesley Stahl: You walked out. You walked out on the baby, you walked out on the wife--
Michael Caine: Everything, everything, yeah.
It wasn't till he was 30 that he got his first big break in the 1964 film "Zulu," where he played an upper class British officer.
[Lt. Gonville Bromheam from "Zulu": Oh, when you take command old boy you're on your own. The first lesson the general, my grandfather, ever taught me.]
Michael Caine: The luck of it was that the director was an American. Because no English director would've cast me as an officer, I promise you. Not one.
Lesley Stahl: Because you were Cockney?
Michael Caine: Because I was a Cockney.
Lesley Stahl: The class system was that rigid.
Michael Caine: It was that rigid, yeah. And it holds people back, you know. It really holds--
Lesley Stahl: But it makes you angry.
Michael Caine: Oh, me, I-- you start snobbery with me, and that's one of the times you get into trouble.
He helped trigger the break-down of that class system with a series of roles he played as a Cockney.
[Married woman: I've had a lovely time Alfie.
Alfie: I always say make a married woman laugh and you're halfway there with her.]
Alfie was a shameless, impudent rogue and audiences loved him.
[Alfie: Nice, isn't it]
Starting in the so-called swinging 60s his characters personified the working class antihero...
[Harry Palmer from "The Ipcress File": Courtney, I am going to cook you the best meal you've ever eaten.]
With his irresistible charm, he played lovers, fighters, killers, spies... all with his trademark Cockney swagger.
[Jack Carter from "Get Carter": Why the hell aren't you here?]
[Rudyard Kipling from "The Man Who Would Be King": Mister...
Peachy Carnehan: Carnehan. Former gunnery sergeant in her majesty's forces.]
Caine's success got Hollywood's attention. Soon he was playing leads in American movies like the classic, "The Man Who Would Be King."
[Peachy Carnehan: Glenlivet 12 years old.
Rudyard Kipling: You have an educated taste in whisky.
Peachy Carnehan: I've an educated taste in whisky and women, waist coats and bills of fare. Though I've had few chances to exercise it lately because them that govern spend all their time making up new laws to stop men like you and me from getting anywhere. Right?]
By 1987, he was one of the most bankable British actors in Hollywood, living the life of a movie star in a Beverly Hills mansion.
That same year he won his first Oscar for actor in a supporting role for Woody Allen's "Hannah and Her Sisters." He played a man who was married to Hannah but had the hots for her sister.
[Lee: Did you ever read this one...Elliot, don't!
Elliot: Lee, Lee, Lee. I'm in love with you.]
Lesley Stahl: Talk about slime buckets, he was it. And yet we like you.
Michael Caine: I don't think human beings are bad. They're weak. And that's what makes 'em bad. And so I always exposed the weakness rather than the nastiness. But you got the nastiness anyway.
Over the next couple of years, he made a few clunkers.
[Hoagie from "Jaws 4": You're all the same. Complain, complain.]
He came to the harsh realization that his career was fading.
Michael Caine: You don't retire from the movies. The movies retire you.
Michael Caine: There was a certain moment. I was about 61-- two, three or four, and I got a script. And I sent it back to the producer saying-- "I don't wanna do it. The part's too small." And he sent it back to me, he said, "You shouldn't read the lover. You should read the father."
So he reinvented himself as a father figure and it paid off. At 67, Caine won his second Oscar for actor in a supporting role in "The Cider House Rules."
[Dr. Wilbur Larch from "The Cider House Rules": Good night you princes of Maine, you kings of New England.]
A few months later, he got the ultimate accolade when Queen Elizabeth knighted Him Sir Maurice Micklewhite, not bad for a bloke from the slums of south London.
Michael Caine: It's the best award I ever had because you get the Academy Award, it's about a performance. You get a Knighthood, it's about a life.
Lesley Stahl: Was there a sense after the knighthood, that you had totally arrived?
Michael Caine: I knew I had arrived, this was proof for anybody who thought I hadn't.
Lesley Stahl: So I should be calling you "Sir Michael."
Michael Caine: You should be, but I've let you off.
Lesley Stahl: Yes, let me off the hook.
Christopher Nolan: He's one of the greats.
Lesley Stahl: Where do you put him? He's up there with who?
Christopher Nolan: I wouldn't put anybody above him.
Director Christopher Nolan has cast Caine in his last six films including the Batman movies where he plays Alfred the butler. At 72, Caine started the third act of his career, picking up a whole new generation of fans.
[Bruce Wayne: Bats are nocturnal.
Alfred Pennyworth: Bats may be but even for billionaire playboys, three o'clock is pushing it. ]
Christopher Nolan: It's an incredible rapport with the audience that he has. And it's to do with warmth and humor as well as just basic grounded humanity. Feels very real. He is very real.
Lesley Stahl: Somebody said that a lot of your characters are way out there and you put Michael in there to be normal, to be the solid one.
Christopher Nolan: When you see Michael in the scene, you do -- there's a sort of sign of relief a little bit. Like, OK, I'm gonna-- I'm gonna have something I can understand here." There's somebody else who's grounded, you know, the way the audience is.
What's kept him grounded, he says, is his family. He and his second wife, Shakira, have been married for 42 years. They now devote themselves to their grandchildren and their daughter Natasha.
Michael Caine: By the way here she comes. These are my-- these are my two grandchildren with her. Hiya guys, how you doin'?
Michael Caine: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Great to see you. Lovely.
I'm the happiest grandfather in the world, I promise you.
The kids are now the center of his life. He says he's like a father to them, so he and Shakira are moving so they can live closer and see them more often.
Michael Caine: I was watching cartoons on television and a commercial came on for one of the Batman series where I played a butler. And then my grandson looked up at me and he said, "Do you know Batman?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Really," I said, "Yeah." I said I know him very well. And he told all the boys at school, he said, "My grandpa knows Batman. Does your grandpa know Batman? OK, no. Mine does."
Caine says he's a happy man, made even happier by the talk that his role in "Youth" might get him his fifth Oscar nomination for actor in a leading role and if he wins---
Michael Caine: It would be one of the most important things in my life, you know? It'd be up there with a knighthood.
Lesley Stahl: You would be--
Michael Caine: I'd be the oldest person.
Lesley Stahl: --person, actress, actor, to ever win such a thing.
Michael Caine: I think it would be great for the Academy to recognize old age.
Lesley Stahl: And all 82-year-old men out there, right?
Michael Caine: Yeah, yeah, all those 82-year-old men.
Lesley Stahl: Maurice Micklewhite, look at you.
Michael Caine: Yeah, I thank God every day.
Lesley Stahl: Yeah, but you've worked for it.
Michael Caine: Yeah, I gave God a hand.
All movies are collaborations in which many people deserve credit, even if they are not nominated for Academy Awards. The best example this year may have been "Steve Jobs," a complex and cautionary character study of the Apple co-founder that generated critical acclaim, disappointing receipts at the box office, and two of the best performances of the year.
Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet both were nominated for Oscars...not just because they are great actors but because they had very demanding roles in a very unusual movie that allowed them to show just how good they really are. And, as Steve Kroft noted this past February, that would not have happened without screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director Danny Boyle.
["Steve Jobs" movie clip: "For a given clock rate a power PC chip is twice as fast as a Pennium 2 chip."]
It was by every measure a unique and ambitious project about the inner workings of a recently deceased genius. Someone who saw the future, and built it by breathing life into the personal computer, defining how it would be used and selling the idea to the American public.
["Steve Jobs" movie clip: "See how this reminds you of a friendly face, but the disk slot is a goofy grin? It's warm, and it's playful, and it needs to say hello."]
Unlike many Hollywood films, "Steve Jobs" wasn't built around a star. It was built around a massive theatrical script from Academy Award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin on the right, then placed in the hands of Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle on the left.
Danny Boyle: Everybody knows Aaron Sorkin's scripts. There's a huge amount of lines. There's a huge amount of interchange. You gotta do a lot of learning to be able to get it up to pace.
To begin with there were more than 180 pages of dialogue, nearly twice the size of an average script, a drama in three acts that takes place backstage at three different product launches spanning 14 years in Steve Jobs' life. It is two hours of talk... intelligent, often humorous conversation and adversarial confrontation.
["Steve Jobs" movie clip: "You had three weeks. The universe was created in a third of that time." Andy Hertzfeld: "Well, someday you'll have to tell us how you did it."]
It was the director's job to bring action and movement to the Sorkin script, which read like the sound of Steve Jobs mind.
["Steve Jobs" movie clip: "Everyone, everyone, everyone, everyone is waiting for the Mac."]
Danny Boyle: It's this-- this tormented mind and what's involved in the process, as-- he saw it, of changing the world, you know. And he did change the world back then. And-- and how do you do that? And it's that fevered mind.
["Steve Jobs" movie clip: "We're there?" Andy Hertzfeld: "I need more time." Steve Jobs: "You can't have it." Andy Hertzfeld: "Twenty minutes!"]
When it came to casting the lead, Boyle thought there was only a tiny number of people who could pull off the complicated and demanding role. He was less interested in landing someone who looked like Steve Jobs than finding a committed actor determined to convince people he was Steve Jobs.
["Steve Jobs" movie clip: "Two most significant events of the twentieth century - the Allies win the war and this."]
He decided on Michael Fassbender, the rising Irish star with the German surname and a work ethic like the man he was picked to play.
Danny Boyle: He has a very kind of Jobsian approach, I think. He's so focused and uncompromising about the way he does the work.
Steve Kroft: Is this the most complicated thing you've ever done?
Michael Fassbender: It's the hardest thing I've ever done.
Fassbender had been praised for his part in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Bastards"...
["Inglorious Bastards" movie clip: "Well if this is it old boy, I hope you don't mind if I go out speaking the kings."]
And he received an Academy Award-nomination for his supporting role in "12 Years a Slave." His range runs from Macbeth to Magneto the Villain in the X-Men action franchise but Steve Jobs was going to be different.
Michael Fassbender: It was like an action piece in words. You know--
Steve Kroft: No-- no exploding cars.
Michael Fassbender: No.
Steve Kroft: No sex.
Michael Fassbender: Nope.
Steve Kroft: Not ev-- any romance.
Michael Fassbender: Mmmm. Yeah. So, I was, like, "Perfect. This is gonna be great." Yeah, it was just-- it was such an unusual piece of writing.
Danny Boyle: 'Cause it was such an enormous, it was like tackling a huge-- one of the big Shakespeare's, like a Lear or--
Michael Fassbender: Yeah.
Danny Boyle: --a Hamlet. Or, you know, it's like a mountain to climb.
Kate Winslet first heard that the Steve Jobs movie was casting not from her agent or producer Scott Rudin, but from her hair and makeup person while shooting a film in Australia.
Kate Winslet: I just knew that it was going to be electric to be in a room with Michael Fassbender and Danny Boyle. And I honestly promise you, it absolutely was.
Winslet, who has one Oscar already to go with six nominations, can have just about any role in Hollywood she wants...
Movie Clip - Joanna Hoffman: "We're out of time, they've got to mop the floor..."
But no one seemed to be thinking about her for this one, the part of Apple marketing whiz Joanna Hoffman, who was one of the few people who could handle Steve Jobs.
Steve Kroft: You did want to do this movie. You sought out the role, right?
Kate Winslet: I--yes. I-- I offered my-- offered my services and-- let it be known that should they be interested in casting completely against type and considering the blonde English woman to play the dark-haired Polish Armenian, I'd be delighted.
With some wit and an iPhone, she managed to get their attention.
Kate Winslet: I gave them a little bit of a nudge. And I-- I put a dark-haired wig on myself and some glasses and made myself look as much like the real Joanna Hoffman as I possibly could. And I took a selfie and sent it to Scott Rudin, And it seemed to do the trick. And Danny Boyle came to Australia and we had a meeting. And he asked me to play the role.
By the time, Kate Winslet arrived in San Francisco to begin shooting, she and the rest of the cast had read the script and realized they were facing a huge challenge -- a fast -paced drama that unfolds in hallways, on staircases and in dressing rooms. Winslet, who's character was a composite of the strong women in Jobs' life, found it all a bit terrifying.
Steve Kroft: Why terrifying?
Kate Winslet: Terrifying because-- it's 187-page script. And it flows. There's a rhythm to it. There's a pace to it that has to feel entirely accidental and fluid. And the only way to really honor that and respect those words is to know them and to not forget them. That's the hardest part.
["Steve Jobs" movie clip - Joanna Hoffman: "Start 15 minutes late so Avie can recompile..." Steve interrupts. Joanna Hoffman: "Just at least give us a fighting chance." Steve Jobs: "Jesus Christ, how many times have we had this conversation?" Joanna Hoffman: "Fine!" Steve Jobs: "We're not starting late ever, we're not ever starting late."]
Kate Winslet: Because if you forget even one word, one line, or you pause for just too long while sort of trying to remember what comes next, the whole thing unravels.
Danny Boyle who spent years directing at the Royal Court Theatre in London knew exactly what his actors were up against and got the studio to agree to a costly six weeks of rehearsal. The cast would learn one act at a time, then film it in sequence.
Danny Boyle: I couldn't see any other way that the actors would be able to control this beast, this huge beast of-- this extraordinary-- dialogue that he'd written as a way into this man's mind. And I thought the only way the actors can get on top of it and own it, which is the key, I think, is by breaking it down and letting us rehearse.
Kate Winslet: We rehearsed the first scene-- well, act, first scene. And we got it-- as-- we got it down. And then we went and filmed it. And then filming would stop, and we would go back and we would shoot-- we would rehearse the second part. And then we would go in and shoot that. And then filming would stop again. And so there's this crew on hiatus while we would go off and rehearse again for another 12 days. And then we'd go back in and shoot. So by the time we got onto the set, we were already on performance number 50, because we had been doing it for two weeks straight.
Fassbender who had by far the most lines saw Steve Jobs as a great man and a flawed human being. A visionary and a vainglorious control freak.
["Steve Jobs" movie clip - Steve Jobs: "What size shirt do you wear?" Man: "Me?" Steve Jobs: "Does anyone know what size shirt he wears? Does anyone know what size shirt I wear?" Joanna Hoffman: "Does anyone know where the closest psychiatrist is?" Steve Jobs: "The disk fits in your pocket." Joanna Hoffman: "Does it have to be a white shirt, is blue ok?" Steve Jobs: "No. The Mac is beige, I'm beige. The disk is blue. The shirt has to be white."]
A brilliant motivator and recruiter of talent...
"Steve Jobs" movie clip: "That was cool!"
Who could be an unreasonable boss, an indifferent father and an unreliable friend.
["Steve Jobs" Movie clip - Steve Wozniak: "You know when people used to ask me what the difference was between me and Steve Jobs I would say Steve was the big picture guy and I liked the solid work bench. When people ask me what the difference is now, I say Steve's an asshole."]
Steve Kroft: He's not a very sympathetic character.
Michael Fassbender: You say that. I-- yeah, I don't-- I find him to be. I think, you know, when you have such strong convictions and a lack of patience with-- that goes with it, and a sharp tongue and, you know, elements of cruelty perhaps, you know, it's-- it can come across as maybe a bit harsh for people to take onboard. I think he was an extraordinary person. And he changed the way we lived our lives. I never s-- looked at him or approached him as an unsavory character--
Steve Kroft: Unpleasant? Unsociable?
Michael Fassbender: --yeah, unsociable, I would say. Yeah. You know I suppose, approaching it as actor, unpleasant isn't really something that I want to set out to play, you know. I can't really play unpleasant. But if somebody said, "Play somebody who's got a lack of patience, who's very-- you know, got a very strong vision-- is unrelenting in that vision, you know, has a problem perhaps with emotional connection," now I'm going somewhere. Now I can start putting together something.
Fassbender believes Jobs' antisocial tendencies may have been a convenient way of putting distance between himself and other people, a way of managing their judgments and expectations of him.
[Movie clip - Andy Hertzfeld: "Why do you want people to dislike you?" Steve Jobs: "I don't want people to dislike me. I'm indifferent to whether they dislike me."]
All of this made little difference to Jobs' widow who was unhappy with her husband's portrayal. Apple refused to cooperate with the project. CEO Tim Cook called it opportunistic. For the most part the cast and Danny Boyle shrugged it off.
Danny Boyle: His importance to our world now is such that you can't ignore him. You have to write as much right about these guys-- and not just him, there are many, many other figures that are turning the world 'round, literally overnight. So for that reason, it felt like it was important to tell a story. There is a Steve that Apple would like to actually present to the public. They have a character, Steve, and they want to keep that story going. And it's very important that writers challenge that occasionally and not just trust their parent companies to tell them.
Danny Boyle has always had an aversion to that kind of power. A working class guy with no discernible ego, he joined the ranks of Britain's top directors after winning an Academy Award for "Slumdog Millionaire," and he became a national hero for directing the elaborate opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics in London. Then he became very famous for turning down a knighthood from the court of Queen Elizabeth.
Steve Kroft: You were offered a knighthood.
Danny Boyle: Yes, I was. But that-- it's not really the-- it's not my cup of tea, really. I feel very-- I d-- I feel very fake walking ar-- I find it difficult enough being called "Mr. Boyle," which as I age I'm increasingly called. I find that hard enough, anyway. So, any-- anything else, I-- I wouldn't be comfortable with.
Steve Kroft: Did you know this was in the works? Did you know this was coming? Or did your name just appear on this list?
Danny Boyle: No, no. You get a phone call.
Steve Kroft: And you just told 'em s-- flat out.
Danny Boyle: Yeah. And I-- and you get another phone call to see if you'd change your mind.
Steve Kroft: No regrets.
Danny Boyle: N-- well-- no, no. Not-- not-- not-- not at all, no. Absolutely not.
Danny Boyle and the cast share some disappointment that more people didn't see "Steve Jobs" but they all say its getting harder and harder to get people out of their homes and away from their TVs, premium cable and on demand services -- that's the marketplace Steve Jobs moved into hoping to find a new audience.
Kate Winslet: It was an amazing experience. I honestly couldn't have cared less if no one ever saw this film, because it was such an amazing experience to be a part of. I mean, there are so many reasons as an actor that I can-- I can march onward in my life and go, stake in the ground, "I'm proud of that."