NEW YORK — Ashton Kutcher understands that tackling the role of the late Steve Jobs was risky. As he said earlier this summer at a Chicago preview screening of “Jobs,” his new film about the founder of Apple (opening Friday), it’s particularly tricky to portray “someone who has been in our consciousness so recently. … Most people have seen him on TV or heard him speak.”
During a more recent interview about the film in New York the actor shared his thoughts about Jobs, his friends’ help in aiding Kutcher play him and even his thoughts about the Iowa native’s beloved Chicago Bears.
Q: While you didn’t have the chance to meet Steve Jobs, you do know a lot of people who were close to him. I assume that was a big plus — helping you to recreate his persona?
A: It was a huge help. Being able to reach out to friends of his and co-workers and use them as a resource — just to understand his psyche and understand who he was and how he was and why he was the way he was — that was invaluable.
At the same time, it added to the pressure — making me feel responsible that I service their version of who they felt he was, and to represent the legacy of a man we all care for.
Q: What was the most important thing you learned about Steve Jobs from taking on this role?
A: I think I learned a lot about focus doing this project. I think Steve Jobs is one of these guys that just had this unadulterated focus on his objective and his goal.
Q: Throughout the film there are moments when Jobs, quite frankly, comes off as very cold — particularly when it comes to personal relationships, both involving his love life and colleagues at work.
A: I was talking to Jeffrey Katzenberg when I was preparing to do this movie and he had some business dealings with Steve Jobs. He said, ‘Every time I talked to Steve we talked about what Steve was working on — the whole time,’ and I think that was an example of him being so driven.
A friend of mine is Dave Morin, who has this social networking site called Path. I was talking with him about Steve Jobs and he said he was working with Steve on a project — and they were making product decisions. Dave said Steve told him, ‘There is no virtue in saying ‘no’ to the things that are easy to say ‘no’ to,’ and I think that there’s something really deep and profound about that.
In other words, we all have this myriad of opportunities in our life and things that we could do to make the world a better place, and it’s really hard to say ‘no’ to everything else, because those are good options too. It comes down to making the right choice about what you’re doing with your life.
Q: Over the years, we always have ended with a conversation about the Bears and your thoughts about the current or upcoming season. How about this year?
A: Go Bears! As for [new Bears coach] Marc Trestman, I have hope. I feel really good. You know, [former Bear] Jim Harbaugh of the 49ers said that he was one of the most equipped coaches to come into the NFL. He thought it was a great hire, and I agree. I also think [ex-NFL player turned sportscaster] Rich Gannon would agree and, you know, that’s a lot of people who are agreeing!