When Apple head Steve Jobs passed away last October, tech wizards and fellow icons around the world poured out tributes to their friend and mentor immediately. But Jobs also had a major impact on the film world, and their tributes—including one from John Carter director Andrew Stanton—are still on the way.
Film writers fortunate enough to have already seen the flick noticed this title card among the film's closing credits:
Dedicated to the Memory of Steve Jobs, an Inspiration to Us All
Everyone knows Stanton's a prolific and enthusiastic member of the team at Pixar, where he's worked in some capacity on nearly every feature and directed the massively successful films Finding Nemo and Wall-E. Jobs was also a vital member of the Pixar team. He purchased the company from Lucasfilm in 1986 and became its chief executive and key financier, and he continued to serve as part of Pixar's leadership until his death.
At a recent John Carter press junket, Stanton was asked why he chose to place the dedication to Jobs in his first non-Pixar film. His answer has a lot to do with the long shadow Pixar's freakishly consistent quality casts over the rest of the film industry, and what role Jobs played with that.
"It was kind of eerie because on the set I would get asked all the time, from all these people, what Pixar was like. And it was fascinating to talk to all these movie people that knew all the films, but some of them didn't even know Pixar was in San Francisco. It was funny. They knew of us, they knew of these movies and knew there was something different but they didn't get it to the point [where they knew] where we were and stuff. And it would be such a long explanation to them about, trying to tell them why it ran differently and why the movie came out the way they did, that I ended up just simplifying my answer down to 'Steve. Steve's why.'"
But according to Stanton, Jobs' contribution to this now-legendary animation company was much more than money, location and a healthy dose of business savvy. He also played a big part in sheltering Pixar from the cynical Hollywood machine, which Stanton explains with a rather heartwarming techie metaphor.
"And I did really realize how much, because I was now living it. I was now pregnant with the dysfunction of Hollywood to make this movie and how this all works, the good and the bad, and it was amazing to see how much he had firewalled us from. Like we knew he had, but he had truly firewalled us and protected us from all the bad influences of the outside world and we had just been raised in this little eden in San Francisco and had no clue how bad it could be. And so I really have to give so much more credit to him than I ever was, even though I always was, of how much he was a major factor for Pixar."
So when you go see John Carter on March 9 and you see that dedication, just think of Steve Jobs as the firewall that helped save Pixar from Hollywood's spam.