When Variety reported on Apr. 1 that Ashton Kutcher would play Steve Jobs in a new biopic called Jobs, it sounded like a perfect April Fools joke. Would a movie studio actually choose the model-turned-actor from such light-hearted flicks as Dude, Where's My Car and No Strings Attached to play such a prominent role in such an important movie? Turns out it's no joke: Kutcher will in fact play the lead role of Apple's late co-founder and visionary in a new independent movie chronicling the life of the genius hippie-turned-entrepreneur who put a ding in the universe.
The casting choice makes some sense: Kutcher bears an eerie resemblance to Jobs, at least when Jobs was a young twenty-something just starting up in San Francisco. But is the former Punk'd star the right fit to play the computer icon?
Kutcher made a name for himself as Michael Kelso on the comedy series That 70's Show, which ran from 1998 to 2006. But while the former Calvin Klein model has also gone on to star in several movies, most of them have been romantic or family comedies, including Just Married, My Boss's Daughter, Cheaper By The Dozen, A Lot Like Love, What Happens In Vegas, and Valentine's Day. The list goes on, really.
Kutcher attempted a few serious roles, with his most memorable one coming in 2004's The Butterfly Effect. While the movie made about $96 million at the box office, it was a critical failure, receiving a paltry 33 percent freshness on film critic aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
There's still some hope that Kutcher could pull off the role. Two of his more recent movies, Bobby (2006) and Spread (2009), received favorable reviews from critics. Yet, that doesn't necessarily mean Kutcher is ready to handle a serious lead role like this one.
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Kutcher will be put to the test when filming for Jobs begins in May. The production crew is waiting for when Kutcher is on hiatus for CBS's Two and a Half Men.
The film will be directed by Joshua Michael Stern, whose only major claim to fame is 2008's Swing Vote, in which Kevin Costner played a man who would ultimately decide the presidential election. The film received poor reviews from critics.
Kutcher and Jobs have a lot in common: both were pranksters, both were attractive men, and both had a deep interest in technology, but unless Stern makes a silent movie, or a movie solely about Jobs's youth, this is going to be a disaster.
Kutcher may look the role, but he has not yet been able to carry himself as a leading man in a major motion picture. Jobs could be Kutcher's breakthrough, but he would need to put his whole heart and effort into the role, which is his major obstacle. In many of his films, Kutcher plays roles very similar to himself, so it's never much of a stretch for him. This film, on the other hand, sounds like it may be too much for Kutcher to handle.
As Isaacson wrote in his biography of Jobs, Apple's late founder had an incredible range of emotions. He could be brutal one moment, and unbelievably sweet and caring the next. He was extraordinarily passionate about everything he worked on, but his emotions rubbed many people the wrong way. Kutcher as Jobs will likely end up rubbing audiences the wrong way too.
Sony Pictures also plans to make a biopic about Apple's late co-founder and visionary Steve Jobs, but they have not yet assigned an actor to play the title role.