Live: Steve Jobs (as played by Ashton Kutcher) at MacworldJanuary 31, 2013: 12:01 PM ET
The closest thing to a Steve Jobs appearance the Expo has seen since 2008
FORTUNE -- Okay, so it's not the Aaron Sorkin version we really want to see -- the one based on Walter Isaacson's biography. But it is the first Steve Jobs biopic to make it out of the gate (premiered at Sundance last week to mixed reviews, scheduled for release April 19), and it does have Demi Moore's ex in the title role.
And this is, after all, Macworld Expo, which hadn't seen Apple's (AAPL) chairman and co-founder since Jobs unveiled the MacBook Air at the venerable tradeshow in 2008.
So there were satellite trucks stationed in front of San Francisco's Moscone West Thursday morning, and the queue of fans lined up to see Christopher Ashton Kutcher promote "jOBS" (with a small j) stretched all the way down a long hall and around the corner. By 9 a.m. Pacific the Main Stage was standing room only.
More when the event starts. All times Pacific.
9:00 a.m. We're starting late. No photographs or video allowed. Violators will be escorted from the room.
9:09: Paul Kent, who runs the Expo, takes the stage with white iPad and some announcements.
9:10: Introduces Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad (who plays Steve Wosniak).
9:11: Gad admits that he was a PC/Windows user before the iPod launched and his wife brought home a Mac. "It totally changed my view about what a computer could be."
9:13: Kutcher: I had an Apple IIGS when I was a kid -- big applauded. "All I did was play this game Number Munchers." Didn't really use the computer until he went to college and a professor told the class he would e-mail assignments and he had to learn what e-mail was. Bought a PC, programmed in Fortran. It wasn't until the iPod came out and he had to synch his music that he switched to the Mac.
9:15: Gad says he knew as little about computers as Woz knew about computers. He took a programming class to bone up for the part. Tells a story about Kutcher asking the prop department to remove some piece of equipment from a shot that he knew wouldn't have been out for a year.
9:17: Kutcher Introduces the clip that was released last week (see below) that set right after HP rejected Woz's idea for the Apple I the third time. Applause.
9:19: Kutcher talks about what Steve Jobs meant to him as a person. "This iconic hero and someone I try to emulate in my work (as an angel investor)." When he read the screen play there were some things that just didn't sit right. "I was like whoa, if this story is going to get told I want to get it told in a way that honors my hero." Nobody knows how Lincoln walked, but everybody has a memory of Jobs. "Playing that guy was really really scary."
9:22 Says he spent months learning about Jobs. Created a sound cloud file of the things he said to people. Starting using Jobs quotes with people. "You get to sound really smart." Trying to deconstruct who Jobs was at Reed College and when he first worked with Woz. Met with Alan Kay, talked about what it was like at Parc. Met with Avie Tevanian who built the backbone of OS X. Met with Mike Holley (sp?), who lived with him at Woodside. "We wanted to capture what it was like to be an entrepreneur trying to build this thing that nobody wanted."
9:25: Gad says his knowledge of Woz before he started the project was Dancing With the Stars. (Big laugh.)
9:27: Kutcher says his first conversation with Gad was a Skype call. Josh understood before he started that he didn't want to do a Woz imitation. "I want to really get the guy."
9:29: Interaction with the family? When they shot at the original Jobs home they found sketches Jobs had done. Met his stepmother and sister. Gad: "It was surreal for them to see this transpire again in the same place where it happened."
9:31: True that you became a fructarian and got sick? "Yeah. I read about the mucus-free diet. I talks about the value of the sugar in grapes and the damage mucus does as a harbor for disease." For a month he ate only fruit and vegetables and drank carrot juice. Bad stomach pain. Doubled over. Went to hospital. A week later discovered that he had developed pancreatitis, which is kind of scary.
9:33: Kent says he saw the film and it's fantastic. "Everybody you see Steve Jobs in the movie, it IS Steve Jobs."
9:34: Asks about the incident where Jobs lied to Woz early on about how much he got paid for the Atari gig. Gad says that's when Woz learned who he was dealing with.
9:35: Kutcher says there's a rule in acting to never judge your character. Instead, try to justify it. He justified stiffing Woz that he hired Woz to do a job and like a good entrepreneur he found a way to take his margin. "Historically we're told he took the margin."
9:38: A hero? Kutcher: I don't think we've had anyone who cared as much about the product as it affected the user.
9:39: Gad compares the duo -- the buddy story -- to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. (Jobs would have loved that.) "The idea that these two would meet and it would be this perfect storm was fascinating to me."
9:40: Asked about Wozniak's criticism of the authenticity of the dialog. Gad says he hopes that when Woz sees the movie in its entirely he will recognize the effort they went to to get the story right. "It was done with the utmost love, admiration and respect."
9:42: Kutcher: "We weren't there. In filmmaking you have to make a narrative that plays. You have to ride the arc of the entertainment of the film and stay true to who the people are." Says John Doerr saw the film and says they captured the moment at the Homebrew Club when Woz held up the motherboard.
9:45 What did you take away. Gad says he came to appreciate Woz the prankster and his fun-loving nature. Tells a story about whales "jumping."
9:47: Kutcher. Three qualities he took away. First: focus. A Jobs quote he remembers: "There's no virtue in saying no to the things that are easy to say no to." Says Steve had an ability to say no to everything but the mission. Those are the things that true focus says no to. Second: Compassion for the consumer. I think it came from a true care about the consumer experience. Third: Steve believed it was possible to do things that are impossible. Remembers a Jobs quote: "When you grow up you tend to get told that life is what it is. But live can be a lot more interesting if you realize that everything about the way things are were invented by people who are no smarter than you." Kutcher: "That deeply affected me." (Big applause.)
9:52: Gad: My whale answer really f...ing sucks now. (They play it for laughs. Kutcher hugs Gad. Gad sucks his thumb.)
9:53: Kutcher is asked if, as the venture capitalist he is now, he would have invested in Jobs, smelling the way he did, in the late 1970s. Long pause. Gad: "This is Macworld. Say yes." Kutcher tells a story about the entrepreneurs who built the railroads. Compares the complexity of first personal computers to running Basic on the original Apple I -- So I hope that I would have invested ..." Inserts a plug one of his companies ... "So I hope I would have been smart enough to invest in Apple."
9:56: And that's a wrap.
Below the fold: The video clip released last week.