Ashton Kutcher at Macworld talks Steve Jobs movie, tech, and fruitarian diets
First, let’s get the big news out of the way. Did Ashton Kutcher adopt the fruitarian diet while getting ready to film the Steve Jobs biopic?
“Uh, yeah,” the actor said on stage at Macworld on Thursday.
“For about a month, I only ate fruit and carrot juice,” Kutcher said, trying to match the diet Jobs embraced at one point.
About two days before filming, Kutcher doubled over in pain and had to be taken to the hospital, where doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Eventually, he was diagnosed with pancreatitis.
“Which was pretty scary,” Kutcher said. Understandable, considering the man he was about to play in the movie had died from pancreatic cancer.
No word on whether Kutcher also avoided bathing for extensive periods, as Jobs did.
Still, adopting the diet turns out to be one of the many obsessive ways that Kutcher and his co-star, Josh Gad (who plays Steve Wozniak), approached their roles in “jOBS,” which premieres April 19.
The pair kicked off Macworld 2013 with an hourlong conversation about the movie and what they learned while playing such iconic characters.
Kutcher said his first Apple product was an Apple IIG S computer. His dad brought it home and he played games like “Number Munchers.”
“My favorite thing was to go into the control settings and monkey around,” Kutcher said.
Then he didn’t touch a computer for years until he went to college to be a biochemical engineer and found himself programming Fortran on PCs. When the first iPod was released, Kutcher said it was a revelation that technology could be so elegant and easy to use.
By contrast, Gad said he no technology background. “I was as computer illiterate as Steve Wozniak was computer literate,” he said.
Gad took programming classes to prepare for the role. “You have all of this technical babble,” Gad said. “And if you don’t really understand what you’re talking about, you can’t really say it.”
Gad said he was blown away by Kutcher’s technical savvy when filming started. At one point, Kutcher told the props guys to remove some equipment in a scene because it wouldn’t have been invented for another year.
“How do you know that?” Gad said. “I was just trying to learn my lines.”
Kutcher, of course, has become a noted start-up investor in recent years. He tapped into his tech obsession to help him research the part of Jobs. Kutcher said he made a SoundCloud file filled with as many audio clips of Jobs as he could find, listening to them over and over to get the speech patterns down. His first conversation with Gad about joining the cast was held over Skype.
The pair also addressed recent comments challenging the accuracy of the movie, including Wozniak’s remarks that a preview clip of the movie contained dialogue that never happened.
Kutcher and Gad acknowledged that there were times when no one could have known exactly what the pair were saying or wearing. Their goal, instead, was not to make a documentary, but to tell the larger essence of the pairs’ story.
“What we wanted to capture was: ‘What was it like to build this thing that no one wanted you to build,’ ” Kutcher said. “You have to make a narrative that plays. What’s important is that we capture the sincerity of the people.”
Regarding Wozniak, Gad said: “I hope when he sees the movie in its entirety, he’ll understand the lengths we went to capture his journey.”
Asked about whether he would have invested in Apple if Jobs had approached him in the 1970s, Kutcher paused for a long time. Gad tried to nudge him: “Say yes. It’s Macworld.”
Finally, Kutcher replied with a long answer describing his investment philosophy in which he tries to find people who are working on creative solutions to problems that many people are trying to solve. But the bottom line on whether he would have backed Jobs:
“I would hope I would have invested.”
Follow me on Twitter @obrien.
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