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Steve Jobs' Kate Winslet on why she was nervous to meet the real Joanna Hoffman

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Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

Kate Winslet stars in Steve Jobs as Joanna Hoffman, the Apple co-founder’s right-hand woman who worked with Jobs from the launch of the original Macintosh to the end of his career. To play Jobs’ “work wife,” Winslet sat down with Hoffman several times to learn more her relationship with Jobs  — although there was one thing that made Winslet nervous about their first meeting. 

“It was amazing meeting Joanna, and it was everything meeting Joanna,” Winslet told EW at the New York Film Festival premiere of Steve Jobs. “And I was very nervous about meeting her because I look nothing like her. I myself look absolutely nothing like Joanna Hoffman, and she looks nothing like me.”

Even if Winslet doesn’t bear much resemblance to the real Hoffman, she said her goal was to learn more about Hoffman’s backstory than to master a perfect impression of her.

“I loved spending time with her because she shared stories with me about her time with Steve and her relationship with Steve that a lot of people just don’t know anything about,” Winslet said. “And I actually came to understand a much softer, gentler side of Steve Jobs, a side of Steve Jobs who I think was kept sort of hidden away and private to those people or to his family.”

Aaron Sorkin has said that his goal with the Steve Jobs screenplay, which is based on Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs, wasn’t exact accuracy but rather the spirit of Jobs’ story, and to capture that spirit, Winslet and other cast members met with the real-life Apple employees they’d be playing. Original Mac team member Andy Hertzfeld, who’s played by Michael Stuhlbarg, met with Stuhlbarg and the rest of the cast and crew, as did former Apple employee Andy Cunningham, played by Sarah Snook. And Seth Rogen sat down with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to talk about his relationship with Jobs. 

“He’s an amazing guy, and you don’t often get to meet the guy who invented personal computers,” Rogen told EW. “I didn’t know that he is literally the one who conceived of the notion that computers are something that a regular person could have. That was purely born out of his own selfish desire to own a computer for himself, but I didn’t realize that’s how it all came to be — just a nerd wanted a computer.”

Steve Jobs hits theaters on Oct. 9.