Ashton Kutcher On Playing Steve Jobs: It Terrified Me

Image via The Verge/YouTube screenshot

Ashton Kutcher sat down with “On The Verge” to talk about the fear behind his role as the late Steve Jobs in his upcoming film, Jobs.

It terrified me,” Kutcher said of playing Jobs, “and most of the great things I’ve been able to accomplish in my life were things that terrified me.”

Kutcher’s role was more than just a paying gig to him; because of his personal feelings of admiration towards Jobs, he was heavily invested in it. Kutcher also knew many people that were close friends or colleagues of Jobs, and felt compelled to honor the iconic man that they knew personally.

If you’re going to tell a true story about someone, you have to say the good things about them and the bad things about them, and in certain places and circumstances, some of the things he did seemed extremely irrational. And when I read it, I was offended for him. I had an immediate reaction of ‘Well if I play this, are the people that I know that knew him going to be upset about it?’ I’m trying to balance two worlds.”

Kutcher says he wanted to satisfy the memories of the people who knew him best, while being as brutally honest as he could.

I’m trying to defend the legacy of someone I admired. I just imagined somebody else playing it and not actually taking the time to fully investigate him and who he was… And what he had to sacrifice to actually make the great things that we take for granted everyday. And I almost felt compelled to defensively take the role.”

The actor, known primarily for his comedic roles, has already seen mixed reviews on his performance, and is sure to face more criticism when the film appears in theaters on August 16th.

Eric Kohn, of IndieWire, said,“The movie is constantly at war with attempts to provide an honest portrayal, almost as if its subject were reaching beyond the grave to steer any negativity back in the direction of a hagiography.”

Still, Kutcher immersed himself completely in the role, even going as far as to follow Jobs’ fruit-only diet—and end up in the hospital. “First of all, the fruitarian diet can lead to, like, some severe issues,” he said. “I ended up in the hospital like two days before we started shooting the movie. I was, like, doubled over in pain. My pancreas levels were completely out of whack, which was really terrifying…considering everything.”

Because he considers Jobs an idol of his, he is content with at least having someone who admired Jobs playing the role versus someone more reputable who wouldn’t have invested as much time into it.

Even if I screw it up and totally bomb it, I love that guy,” he said. “I love that guy. I’d rather have someone that cared about him screw it up than someone who didn’t.”

Among other things, the actor, who went to the University of Iowa for biochemical engineering, discussed his startup ventures and Twitter.

I’ve been an early adopter of tech for a long time,” he said.

He began engaging himself in guerrilla marketing long before he became a household name in acting. To promote the film “Dude, Where’s My Car?” Kutcher would go into random AOL chat rooms and start a trending topic around the film. In addition, he began programming video content for the AOL instant messenger six years ago, when buffering speeds were picking up to become almost streaming.

Kutcher vaguely discussed some Twitter mistakes he made and noted that, although he posts his own tweets, he makes sure others give him their opinion before tweeting, whereas two years ago, he used it “pretty personally.”