I'm still having trouble believing that casting news reported on April Fool's Day and involving the co-creator of Punk'd is not a joke. But it's been a day, and still no "gotcha" has been shouted. So until I hear otherwise, I guess I have to trust that Ashton Kutcher is indeed going to play Apple founder Steve Jobs in a biopic titled Jobs.
I would be all for this thing if Milos Foreman were directing, since he's the best at garnering great performances from so-so actors in films of this sort. Having never seen a movie by actual director Joshua Michael Stern (Swing Vote), I can't say he has the chops. Anyone can surprise us, though, with either hidden talent or at least a capability for sufficient production trickery (any combination of directing and editing that will make him seem talented). I'm going to side with the optimists who are curious about Kutcher's potential, though I wouldn't fund a Kickstarter for this indie biopic or anything, if my trust was put to that test.
Other bloggers are all over the spectrum, either giving him the benefit of the doubt or cursing the casting altogether or sitting in the middle acknowledging the physical resemblance. Can't anyone pass for anyone these days, though, with prosthetics or makeup or mo-cap or something? Anyway, shouldn't a Steve Jobs biopic be done as a computer-animated film? Kutcher can do the voice, I don't care.
A few sites currently have polls, and all results are against the casting. See Thompson on Hollywood (only 18% in his favor), Cinema Blend (32% in his favor), The Hollywood Gossip (32% in his favor) and I'm Not Obsessed (33% in his favor).
What are people saying about Ashton Kutcher playing Steve Jobs? Here's The Conversation heard around the Internet:
This casting might not be a horrible idea. Yes, Kutcher is primarily a comedic actor. And yes, Kutcher is not necessarily known for delving into the complexities of his characters, which is admittedly worrisome considering Jobs is no doubt a complex character. But Jobs was known as a creative force who always sought to make interesting choices — it’s a propos to have then cast a creative and interesting choice like Kutcher in the role. [...] Admit it: You’re a tiny bit curious to see how someone like Kutcher would fare in the role. It’s hard not to root for the underdog — a position Jobs himself knew well. [...] one of Apple’s most famous slogans is “Think Different.” Isn’t this casting just following suit? - Kate Ward, Hollywood.com
We think skeptics should give Kutcher and director Joshua Michael Stern ("Swing Vote") the benefit of the doubt here. After all, if there's one thing Jobs highlighted better than maybe anybody in recent memory, it was the power of reinvention. - Scott Harris, Next Movie
I do think Ashton Kutcher could capture the intense and sometimes abrasive personality that Jobs had in his younger years, and we all know that he spent at least a few years of his career steeped in ’70s culture. At the very least, he’s gotta be better than Noah Wyle in Pirates of Silicon Valley… right? - Sean Dwyer, Film Junk
To be frank, I've seen Kutcher in a few of his indie roles and he's actually a great actor, he can do a good job. Plus, he really does look like a young Steve Jobs, and would be the perfect fit to play the character. I'm intrigued by the indie nature of this and just how much they'll be able to pull off - Alex Billington, First Showing
David Mackenzie's Spread convinced me that Ashton Kutcher's acting had the potential to be about more than just "amiable" and "frisky" and "good-looking". If he does well in Jobs [...] he could enhance his rep a bit more. - Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere
It’s difficult to picture Kutcher in a role like this, however he did prove his dramatic chops in The Butterfly Effect back in 2004 - Kelly West, Cinema Blend
Kutcher did some solid work in the underrated Butterfly Effect, and he does have a mesmerizing charisma that makes him watchable. That same general confidence was obvious in Steve Jobs during his many lectures, and by most accounts, it was there in the day-to-day managing of his business too. This casting certainly isn’t the worst idea I’ve ever heard, but that doesn’t mean I’m sold either. - Mack Rawden, Cinema Blend
Though I don’t necessarily think Kutcher’s the right choice to take on the Jobs role, it’s nice to see him willing to stretch his acting chops [...] I’d like nothing more than to be pleasantly surprised by his performance so we’ll see how things shake out. - Adam Chitwood, Collider
Here's why Kutcher is actually an inspired casting choice for Jobs: They look alike. In biopic territory, this is an important bullet point. Think: Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles and Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin -- all great acting performances helped by the right look. With Kutcher and Jobs, it's not obvious until looking at a photo of the two next to one another, but Kutcher's got that whispy hair, those slim eyes, that wry smile and even the slight figure. - Rebecca Greenfield, The Atlantic
Are they going simply for looks because if so then it makes a lot of sense. If you look closely enough you can certainly see the resemblences between Kutcher and a young Steve Jobs and might actually confuse the two for being related. On a scale of 1 to 10 I think the casting would be between a 6 and a 7. - Anthony Whyte, The Movie Blog
The physical resemblance is real; Kutcher is a jock version of Jobs with a bolder jawline. Kutcher must be up for the challenge: this role will place a big fat bullseye on his back. - Sophia Savage, Thompson on Hollywood
The frequent Twitter-er resembles a young Jobs, and so this could be the role of a lifetime for young Ashton! [...] This might be a serious boost to Ashton's acting cred, so we'll be watching closely to see how he handles his new "Job." Wow! Congratulations, Ashton! Bravo! - Perez Hilton
It’s an interesting bit of casting, as Kutcher certainly resembles a young Steve Jobs, but its unknown yet whether or not he can actually become Mr. Jobs. Time will tell, we suppose. - Neil Miller, Film School Rejects
Some praise can be made for choosing a celebrity that somewhat resembles a young Jobs, but Kutcher lacks the proven acting chops to carry a film. Little can be said of Kutcher’s ability to play any role that isn’t about the great American struggle we all face of banging super hot chicks without falling for them. - Brett Edward Stout, Movie Buzzers
When you can’t get Daniel Day Lewis to star in your movie, it’s not a bad move to go for an actor who actually looks like the guy he’s playing. - James Plafke, Geek-O-System
Ugh. I’m just… disappointed. There are about a dozen better actors that could play this part. [...] I don’t think I’ll be seeing this one. I won’t be seeing it because of Ashton, true, but I also dislike this trend of doing bio-pics two seconds after a man dies. - Kaiser, CeleBitchy
The thought that of Kutcher bringing even a millisecond of his Michael Kelso schtick from That ’70s Show to the life story of Steve Jobs is enough to make one shudder. [...] Right now, if you were to hold up two films about Steve Jobs and say, “This one stars Ashton Kutcher, the other was written by Aaron Sorkin,” I know which movie I’d hand over my ticket money for. - Kofi Outlaw, Screen Rant
I will grant that the resemblance is uncanny [...] the similarities freak me out. BUT ISN’T IT MORE IMPORTANT TO CAPTURE THE ESSENCE OF A PERSON THAN THE RESEMBLANCE? Because if it is, Ashton Kutcher couldn’t capture the essence of a wet fart trapped in a duodenum. The casting is ridiculous. I mean, it’s like Ashton Kutcher playing Steve Jobs: Yes, the most extreme, hyperbolic comparison I can make is THE ACTUAL CASTING. - Dustin Rowles, Pajiba
The only reason anyone would cast Ashton Kutcher in a biopic about Steve Jobs, so that people would write about it. Speaking of, how’s Lindsay Lohan’s Linda Lovelace biopic coming along? - Vince Mancini, Film Drunk
Famous men everywhere are updating their wills today to stipulate: "Ashton Kutcher may NEVER play me in a film." - Rex Huppke, @RexHuppke
Conversation Twitter Poll: Is Ashton Kutcher really that bad a casting choice for Steve Jobs?
It might not be that bad a choice. Has he ever really had to act before? He might be pretty good... we just don't know yet. - Reel Georgia, @ReelGA
Honestly? No. He has talent somewhere locked away. - Jonathan Sullivan, @JonSullivan_
When is Ashton Kutcher a good casting choice? - Marcus Woolcott, @Gyropitus
Both c**ts so I think it's perfect. - Lord Bronco, @LordBronco
It's a bad choice because the guy has only one good movie, THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT. - Adrian Charlie, @PatrickTussie
Yes, he is. He can't act. He never plays roles, he plays Ashton Kutcher in everything. - Josh Spiegel, @mousterpiece
Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic) to join The Conversation.