Audiences often get actors confused with their onscreen counterparts, but make no mistake: Ashton Kutcher is no dummy looking for his misplaced car. The actor and tech investor is known for his business savvy, which has led him to invest in some of the hottest companies out there, like Fab, Uber, Foursquare, and Airbnb.
But now Kutcher is taking his interest in technology and innovation to a whole new level with his role in the upcoming biopic "Jobs." Steve Jobs was one of the most innovative people of the 21st century, so it makes sense that Ashton would portray the late Apple co-founder. The film covers the years of Jobs' life from the very modest beginnings of his collaboration with Steve Wozniak to the introduction of the iPod. In between, there are LSD trips, questionable office attire and grooming, and plenty of interpersonal drama.
Moviefone met up with Kutcher in New York City to discuss "Jobs." The actor also gave his thoughts on Internet privacy and why he trusts the government with his data.
This interview has been edited and condensed
Which was the hardest physical tic to get down for this role? Was it verbal or...
Yeah, I think it was [begins talking like Steve Jobs] probably his speech pattern. He had a very unique, distinct speech pattern, and the way that he talked had sort of a lilt to it. One of his parents was from Wisconsin, and one was from Northern California, and I think it was a combination of those two things. And he had a little bit of a lisp. Just relearning how to talk, that was tricky.
I think a lot of people will be surprised to see that this film is not a hagiography; he's not a saint. It shows him as a difficult person.
Yeah, I think the things people will be surprised about are the fact that we don't glorify him. We're just honest about who he is. It's really easy, once somebody passes away, for the tales about them to become taller, the good ones and the bad ones. You know, I think making this movie when we made it, we had the good fortune of being relatively close to the incident, and so we could be bluntly honest.
I think the other thing that will surprise people is that you don't have to know a lot about technology to appreciate his story and appreciate who he was. If you know what a computer is, that's enough. And I think people will be surprised when they're watching the film that it'll be entertaining either way.
I thought it was interesting that the film skips over a lot of personal stuff. Obviously, that decision wasn't up to you, but do you know if that was for legal reasons or just...?
You're asking me questions I can't answer. You know, I think that the story we told -- most people know Steve Jobs and they know Apple as starting with the iPod, the kind of return to grace of Steve Jobs. You know, they might remember the Macintosh commercials, they might remember the first computer they ever got, but I don't think they have a relationship with the part of his life before he was Steve Jobs, and that's what this movie's about.
This movie's about a guy that comes up with humble beginnings, in a garage with his buddies, and they have this idea for something to build, and they think they can make a little money off of it. And through sheer force, determination, and ingenuity and intelligence, they built the largest company in the world. I think the movie's meant to inspire people to go out into the world and build things and do things and maybe get off of social media and stop talking about what you're going to do and actually go do it.
Well, that's interesting, because you were an early adopter of Twitter as far as celebrity users go. At what point do we switch off our phones or turn off Twitter and just enjoy things first-hand?
You know, photo conversations are replacing verbal conversations. I don't know if that's a bad thing. A photo is worth a thousand words. You look at the innovations around Instagram and now Snapchat, and people want to have conversations with photos. And we have the technology to do that. I don't think that that's the worst thing, but I think people may start trending towards privacy a little bit.
When things become so public, the tendency is that people have to judge others and be critics of others, now that our private history is recorded. I think people hopefully will learn to be tolerant of others -- that people are imperfect and make mistakes. And I think that once you have the microscope turned on you and people decide that you're awful because you made a mistake, people will start to lean towards privacy. So I think there will be other networks that will emerge -- like Path, a private social network, like Nextdoor, which is a network for just your neighbors -- that actually have a respect and a regard for privacy and are designed for privacy.
Security and privacy on a national and a global level is a huge topic right now, too; it's such an object of concern. You can have the argument, "If you don't have anything to hide, it's not a big deal." But others view that as BS. I'm hoping there will be some cool innovations that will be more readily available to help out
You know, I think some of these decentralized networks will help -- Bitcoin is an example of what a potential decentralized network could look like. Ultimately there's a dirty secret about the Internet, which is nothing disappears. All these companies have all your information. They have your search history.
You know, if Google decided at any point to publish my search history, or your search history, or anyone's search history, there's a litany of things they could idea police you about, and if it was published, you would be publicly shamed. Everyone would be publicly shamed.
But we trust Google, and we trust the people that run that company. And, you know, there's an inherent trust that I think you give to the people that facilitate the transactions that you want to make on the Internet.
I trust my government. I actually have a trust for my government with my data, and I trust them to protect me. They've protected me -- they've made the best efforts to protect me my whole life. I don't wake up and worry that there's gonna be a suitcase with a bomb in this hotel, because we live in one of the greatest countries in the world with one of the greatest intelligence communities in the world, that protect us and keep us safe consistently and constantly, and have yet to jeopardize my safety intentionally. So I'm okay with it.
I think that when we start thought policing people and idea policing people, then that's crossing a line. And I think, you know, everybody's so afraid of this imaginary line of thought police that they forget their own personal safety.
You know, I want to know the IP address of every single person that's sharing child pornography on the Internet, because I might be able to find a child that's being molested somewhere and save that child. I think that that's valuable information to be shared. And if we didn't have these collection and filtering mechanisms for the Internet, we might not be able to help each other and save each other, and I think that the benefits far outweigh the potential downside. And the great thing is, we live in a democracy where we get to elect our officials, and if, at a certain point, we feel like they've infringed upon our privacy too far, we can elect people that will demand our privacy.