PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Ashton Kutcher says playing Steve Jobs on screen “was honestly one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever tried to do in my life.”
On Friday, the 34-year-old actor helped premiere the biopic “jOBS,” which was the closing-night film at the Sundance Film Festival.
Mr. Kutcher plays the Apple Inc. founder from the company’s humble origins in the 1970s until the launch of the first iPod in 2001. A digital entrepreneur himself, Mr. Kutcher said he considers Jobs a personal hero.
“He’s a guy who failed and got back on the horse,” Mr. Kutcher said. “I think we can all sort of relate to that at some point in life.”
Mr. Kutcher even embodied the Jobs character as he pursued his own high-tech interests off screen.
“What was nice was when I was preparing for the character, I could still work on product development for technology companies, and I would sort of stay in character, in the mode of the character,” he said. “But I didn’t feel like I was compromising the work on the film by working on technology stuff because it was pretty much in the same field.”
But playing the real-life tech icon, who died in 2011, still felt risky, he said, because “he’s fresh in our minds.”
“It was kind of like throwing myself into this gauntlet of, I know, massive amounts of criticism because somebody’s going to go, ‘Well, it wasn’t exactly …’” Mr. Kutcher said.
While the filmmakers say they tried to be as historically accurate as possible, there was also a disclaimer at the end of the credits that said portions of the film might not be completely accurate.
The actor even adopted the entrepreneur’s “fruitarian diet,” which he said “can lead to some serious issues.”
“I ended up in the hospital two days before we started shooting the movie,” he said. “I was like doubled over in pain, and my pancreas levels were completely out of whack, which was completely terrifying, considering everything.”
Jobs died of complications from pancreatic cancer.
Still, Mr. Kutcher was up to the challenge of playing Jobs, in part because of his admiration for the man who created the Macintosh computer and the iPod.
“I admire this man so much and what he’s done. I admire the way he built things,” Mr. Kutcher said. “This guy created a tool that we use every day in our life, and he believed in it when nobody else did.”