Science & Tech
Ashton Kutcher opens Macworld 2013, describes portraying Steve Jobs
When Hollywood sensation Ashton Kutcher took the stage to open the Macworld/iWorld Expo Thursday morning, he did not "punk" anyone or use the word "dude." Instead, Kutcher was quite serious in explaining the personal rigors of physically transforming himself for the upcoming movie "jOBS," the Steve Jobs biopic wherein Kutcher plays the title role of the college dropout who went on to co-found Apple Computers and invent the iPhone.
"If this story's going to get told, I want it to get told in a way that honors my hero," Kutcher told a crowd of more than 1,000 Steve Jobs fans at Macworld/iWorld –many of whom also count Jobs as their own personal hero.
Kutcher appeared in a Thursday morning session called, "Playing Steve and Woz," where he and co-star Josh Gad ("1600 Penn") described portraying Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
Josh Gad took on the role of Wozniak with a little less reverence. "My knowledge of Steve Wozniak was ‘Dancing with the Stars,’" Gad said.
Kutcher, however, impressed the crowd with his retro Apple knowledge and expertise. "I had an Apple IIGS when I was a kid," Kutcher said–and the crowd went bananas. "The only thing I did was play this game, Number Munchers."
"jOBS" director Josh Stern paid great attention to the historical details presented in the film, even shooting some scenes in the very Los Altos, Calif., house in which Jobs lived and the very garage in which Jobs developed his early-line computers.
Ashton Kutcher paid even greater attention to the historical details, at times even correcting the film crew's props staff. Josh Gad told of on-set incidents wherein Kutcher insisted that certain computer gear be removed. "Ashton would say, 'That wouldn't come out for another year. Get rid of that,'" Gad said.
Kutcher's obsession over recreating the details of Steve Jobs' life was not limited to the props. He spent weeks listening to SoundCloud files of every Jobs speech he could find. He took on Jobs' all-fruit diet, making himself sick in the process. Kutcher knew that many of Jobs' friends and colleagues would see the film–as well as millions of fans who saw Jobs speak–and they'd all compare Kutcher to the real thing.
"Playing that guy was really, really scary," Kutcher said and compared his portrayal to actors playing other historical figures. "People didn't know how Lincoln walked. There's not much video of Lincoln."
They say Kutcher nailed the role. "It was literally like being in the same room as Steve Jobs," Gad said. "Everyone rose to that level."
Other actors who rose to that level included James Woods, who plays Jobs' college dean in the film, and Matthew Modine as a former Apple CEO.
Ashton Kutcher said his goal was to emphasize Jobs' persistence in the many phases of the man's career in which his colleagues all told him he was nuts. Kutcher said he wanted to show "what was it like to be there and be an entrepreneur building something that no one wants."
Everyone wants to see Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs, though. "jOBS" is scheduled to be released this April 19.
For more of Allvoices' coverage of Macworld/iWorld 2013, the Ultimate iFan Event, check out allvoices.com/macworld.