Top 5... - March 18, 2016

Steve Jobs (and five other famous entrepreneurs who deserve their own biopics)
by James
James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Steve Jobs (and five other famous entrepreneurs who deserve their own biopics)

There are few people who could claim to have had bigger influence on our daily lives than Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. From being one of the first to envision a world with a computer in every home to inventions like the iPod and the iPhone, Jobs was a true maverick in every sense of the word. By the time it was revealed that he had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, his popularity had already reached cult-like proportions and he enjoyed the kind of status that would make some rock stars envious, let alone those occupying the stuffy corporate boardrooms of Apple's rivals.

It was, then, inevitable that at some point there would be a big screen biopic detailing his extraordinary rise and that's exactly what director Danny Boyle delivered when his latest film, titled simply Steve Jobs, opened in cinemas last year.

Arriving in stores on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday, Boyle's film stars Michael Fassbender in the role of Jobs, with Seth Rogen playing the part of of his partner and Apple's other co-founder Steve Wozniak, alongside a cast that also includes Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels and Adam Shapiro.

Despite Apple's eventual success and Jobs' popularity among a global army of devotees to the company's products, the road to the top wasn't always a smooth one and there were many stories about Jobs being a difficult man to work with, as well as about his relationship with his family. It's these aspects of Jobs' life that Boyle's film addresses – this is very much a film about Jobs the man rather than Jobs the brand – but Danny Boyle is a great storyteller and his film examines both the good and bad of Jobs' like, work and personality.

Michael Fassbender puts in a mesmerising performance as the late Apple boss and while you might think this is a film for the devotees, given the impact of Apple's products this is a fascinating insight into the man behind the logo and there's enough here to fascinate even the most casual of observers.

You can find the trailer for the film below, beneath that we've picked five other well-known entrepreneurs that deserve to have their stories told on the big screen, for one reason or another...

 



Richard Branson

He might polarise opinion, but there's no denying that Richard Branson is one of the most successful and high-profile British businessmen in recent memory and in many ways he's a kind of prototype Steve Jobs in terms of his public profile and anti-establishment attitudes. Back in the early days of his career he had a pretty sharp ear too and launched his record label with the signings of Mike Oldfield and The Sex Pistols, but since then the Virgin brand has been applied to everything from cola bottles and mobile phones to television channels and airlines. Not only that, Branson has always fancied himself as a bit of an adventurer and the sight of him being fished out of the sea after one of his many failed attempts to circle the globe in a hot air ballon became a regular occurrence during the 1980s. Branson's road to the top has been an unusual one, for sure, but that's what makes it a story worth telling.

 

Elon Musk

Still at a relatively young age compared to others on this list, Elon Musk has achieved more than most. As one of the co-founders of Paypal, Musk has done his fair share in revolutionising the way we shop and pay for goods, but it's his inventions and ideas around sustainable transport that might well prove to be his real legacy. Time will tell if his Tesla electric cars or his Hyperloop travel system will catch on, but if the latter does it could mean travelling from the East coast of America to the West in under two hours. If the internet has made the world smaller, Musk is one its pioneers and he could yet make the world a lot smaller.

 

Madam C J Walker

As inspirational business stories go, Madam C J Walker's is as made-for-Hollywood as they come. An African-American woman born under the name Sarah Breedlove in Louisiana during the mid-19th century, her parents and older siblings had been slaves working on a plantation and Sarah was the first member of her family to be born a free woman under the emancipation proclamation. She didn't wast the opportunity; spotting a gap in the market, she created a line of hair care products specifically for black men and women and eventually became the first female self-made millionaire in the United States. The fact that she did so at a time of racial segregation makes her story even more remarkable and she dedicated much of her life to philanthropy and activism, campaigning for equal opportunities for both women and the African-American community. It's surprising that nobody has picked this up already, but put somebody like Viola Davis in the lead role and they'll be laughing all the way to the Oscars.

 

Rupert Murdoch

Tricky one this; as the owner of 20th Century Fox, you can see why a scriptwriter might think twice about trying to make a film about Rupert Murdoch. On the one hand, he's a self-made man who has arguably had more influence on the media during the last half century than any other individual, but in doing so he's divided opinion about whether or not that's a good thing and has become something of a pantomime villain in the eyes of his detractors. Still, shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons have never seemed to worry too much about making fun of him, even though they are broadcast on his own network. A Rupert Murdoch biopic by Matt Groening? We can dream...



Gerald Ratner

Not every entrepreneur's story is one of unbridled success and it's hard to think of a successful businessman who has thrown it all away in quite such spectacular fashion as Gerald Ratner. In the 1970s and 80s Ratner's jewellery stores were a regular fixture on the UK's high streets, but then the man who owned the business scored a very public own goal when he described his products as “crap”. The business never recovered from the negative publicity that sent share prices tumbling and customers running for the hills. The incident earned Gerald the nickname “Mr. Crapner” and even now the practice of damaging your own reputation or devaluing your own company is still referred to as 'doing a Ratner', so while it might not be the inspirational tale of triumph in the face of adversity you'd find in most biopics, there's plenty of potential for entertainment value here.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs Danny Boyle

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