​Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney on going after bullies

He's a "Man on a Mission" ... documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, as Jane Pauley now shows us:

To describe Alex Gibney as prolific is an understatement. He has made 14 documentaries in just five years, exploring what one reporter calls "the porous boundaries between good and bad."

His subjects range from "Enron" to the fall of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

Now in his crosshairs: Steve Jobs.

When the Apple CEO died in 2011, Gibney was intrigued by the outpouring of grief over Jobs' death, and that led to "Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine."

"I was haunted by a question, which was, when he died, why was it that so many people who didn't know him wept all over the world?" Gibney said. "He was the CEO of the world's most valuable corporation, and when CEOs of big corporations die, you don't usually see people around the world lighting candles to them!

"I looked at a guy who started off very much as a renegade, wanting to stick it to The Man, and ended up becoming The Man himself."

"Which has come to define your target area," said Pauley. "You stick it to a 'Man.' What did Steve Jobs do to get on your list?"

"Well, I didn't set out to stick it to Steve Jobs!"

But the documentary is an unvarnished portrait of a visionary who by all accounts was a fiercely competitive businessman. After all, this is a man who for years denied the paternity of his eldest daughter.

And yet, Steve Jobs is the man who brought us all things "I" -- from the iPod to the iPad and the iPhone.

"I think his great contribution in a positive sense was introducing us to these machines and saying, 'They're not distant tools; they can be an extension of yourself.'"

To watch a trailer for "Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine," click on the video player below.

The 61-year-old Gibney says he prefers his characters, and stories, more gray than black-and-white -- as was the case with "The Armstrong Lie."

Gibney was originally rolling on a very different film: "A kind of heroic comeback story. Lance Armstrong comes back after many years, and as an old man kicks the butt of all the young kids and shows us all what will can do. That film was ready. It was mixed.

"And then a funny thing happened."

Armstrong admitted that he'd lied -- not only lied, but lied "the biggest lie you could possibly imagine," said Gibney. "It wasn't just a little bit of dope here and there; 'I ran a doping program that was there from the start!'

"And even worse, he was the hero to all these cancer survivors. And to find out that actually he was trafficking on their hope, and their pain in a way to ennoble himself, that was the real crime."

Gibney is the son of a journalist he says had a deep-seated distrust of authority. "They say to succeed you're supposed to suck up and kick down. Well, he was the classic guy who sucked down and kicked up, which is never a good career path! He was at Time, then fired. At Newsweek, fired. At Life, fired."

Still, Frank Gibney seems to have been a big influence on his son, along with Gibney's stepfather, theologian William Sloane Coffin.

"There was something about my father, my mother, and then my stepfather, I think they all ruddered against authority in their own peculiar ways," he said. "And that probably rubbed off on me, too."