Let’s be honest, it’s a brave actor who signs up to play the role of an iconic figure, whoever it might be. The weight of audience expectation is always, understandably, as great as the reputation of the person they play – pull it off and the actor may end up brandishing an Oscar come February; mess up and they could become a laughing stock, their reputation tarnished for years to come.
As for Ashton Kutcher and his portrayal of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, early reviews have been mixed following jOBS’s first screening at the Sundance Film Festival last week.
Daily Telegraph critic Sebastian Doggart described the decision to cast Kutcher in the lead role as “disastrous” while Justin Lowe of the Hollywood Reporter was altogether more positive, saying the actor “faithfully recreates some of his character’s physical mannerisms” while managing a “fair imitation of Jobs’ speaking style”.
As for Kutcher’s own experience of the movie, at a special event at Macworld in San Francisco on Thursday he said that playing the role of the Apple co-founder had “changed my life and changed me as a person.”
Talking out loud
The actor said he’d spent three months immersed in the world of Steve Jobs, going so far as to collect together every Jobs audio file he could lay his hands on, listening to them over and over and repeating the lines whenever he could in order to try to get inside Jobs’ head – behavior that may well have alarmed people in his vicinity who didn’t know what he was up to.
“All you have to do is start repeating Steve and you sound really smart,” he told the audience.
The Two and a Half Men star said that Jobs’ idea that “there’s no virtue in saying ‘no’ to things that are easy to say ‘no’ to” had stayed with him and given him regular pause for thought.
According to Tuaw’s report from the event, Kutcher also said he admired the late Apple CEO’s “compassion for the consumer”, saying that instead of taking consumers for a ride, “care is the thing that will produce the profit margins and the successful company.”
Tuaw reported that at one point during Kutcher’s on-stage interview, the actor teared up when he talked about how “Steve believed it was possible to do something impossible.”
He told the audience that researching the life of the former Apple boss had shown him that it wasn’t necessary to simply “settle for what life gives you” and that it was important to do what’s possible to make it better.
Gad, who appeared alongside Kutcher at the MacWorld event, responded by saying that it wasn’t a documentary but simply an interpretation of events that tried to recapture the feeling of what was happening at the time.
In a couple of months we’ll be able to make up our own minds. The film hits theaters on April 19.