Ashton Kutcher has been cast to play Steve Jobs in one of two films currently in production about the late Apple co-founder

By Josh Rottenberg
Updated May 25, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT

Under Steve Jobs, Apple developed a simple mantra: Think Different. But in Hollywood, studio executives often think alike — hence this year’s dueling Snow White movies and the competing hunt-for-bin Laden films slated to come out later this year. Now, in the wake of Jobs’ death last October, not one but two big-screen biopics about the visionary innovator are in the works, each vying to offer the definitive take on his life. The first film, Jobs, is a $15 million independent production starring Ashton Kutcher as Jobs; it begins shooting in June and is aiming for release by the end of the year. The second project, which was just announced, is from Sony, with Aaron Sorkin — who won an Oscar for his Social Network screenplay — adapting Walter Isaacson‘s best-selling biography of Jobs. Sony’s project will surely have a bigger budget and greater marketing muscle behind it, but Jobs producer Mark Hulme, a Dallas businessman making his first venture into filmmaking, has already generated a lot of buzz (both positive and negative) with the casting of Kutcher. ”Ashton has always felt a connection with Steve Jobs, and he loved the script,” Hulme says.”Our opinion is that he’s born to play Steve Jobs.” While Sorkin will have Isaacson’s exhaustive research at his disposal, Hulme promises that Jobs, which draws largely on secondary research, will be a studiously faithful portrait of the tech giant — right down to filming in the actual garage in Los Altos where Jobs and Steve Wozniak first began making computers. Plus, Hulme says, his project has one major advantage: ”I’d rather be first. The first one to tell the same joke always gets a stronger laugh.”