On 2 February, Witherspoon, 46, and Kutcher, 44, who star alongside one another in the upcoming Netflix film Your Place or Mine, in which they play longtime best friends who decide to swap houses, attended the Los Angeles premiere of the film together.
However, despite playing love interests in the upcoming rom-com, the actors appeared uncomfortable as they stood next to each other on the red carpet. In one photo, Witherspoon, who wore a strapless teal mid-length dress and black heels, could be seen giving a slight smile as she leaned slightly toward an expression-less Kutcher, who was dressed in a charcoal suit and a denim shirt for the occasion.
The red carpet photographs have since gone viral on social media, where fans have questioned the apparent lack of chemistry between the stars.
“The chemistry is palpable,” one person tweeted sarcastically, while another said: “I’m losing my mind, they look like siblings forced by their mom to take a photo.”
“If they’re actually believable in the movie it’s just going to be an extra testament to their acting skills because what is this,” someone else said.
Others claimed the photos were evidence the stars did not like each other, with one person alleging: “To me these photos say that they really don’t like each other at all. Like at all.”
I have been laughing all day at the Your Place or Mine premiere/press photos pic.twitter.com/B8p5RQvEtP
— Mike (@michaelcollado) February 3, 2023
“They absolutely HATE each other lmao,” someone else wrote.
This is giving “divorced parents forced to be in a photo by their kid” energy https://t.co/OuCMqbEatS
— KB (@Kbethery) February 5, 2023
The awkward red carpet premiere photos also prompted many to circulate promotional press photos of Kutcher and Witherspoon posing together for the film, which fans suggested were further proof of awkwardness between the pair.
In one photo, Witherspoon could be seen posing with her arms crossed as Kutcher stood behind her, while another sees the Legally Blonde star standing with her arms clasped in front of her, as her co-star stood with his arms held behind his back.
“It’s the arms folded one for me, like do you know how much hate you must have for a costar to cross your arms on the red carpet?” one person tweeted, while another said: “It looks like they’re in two separate places and they copy and pasted them together in Photoshop.”
“Who said romantic comedies are dead? Look at these two and their wonderful chemistry,” someone else joked.
The photos also prompted many comparisons to the red carpet moments captured between Oscar Isaac and his Scenes From A Marriage co-star Jessica Chastain at the series’ red carpet premiere in 2021.
The actors walked the red carpet together at the Venice Film Festival in 2021 to promote the American remake of the 1973 Swedish miniseries. During the occasion, Isaac appeared to stroke Chastain’s arm before leaning into her shoulder, at which point Chastain gave her co-star a hug and cradled his face with both hands as the pair smiled and laughed together.
“Where’s Oscar Isaac when you need him the most?” one person asked in response to the photos of Kutcher and Witherspoon, while someone else sarcastically said: “The new Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac.”
— sad fairy 🐸 (@ghostnly) February 4, 2023
Although the photos of Kutcher and Witherspoon prompted amusement and speculation about the reasons for their apparent awkwardness, others pointed out that there were some red carpet photos taken of the co-stars in which they could be seen laughing and smiling together.
There were also those who defended the pair from criticism on the basis that they are actors, and should not have to fake romantic chemistry on a red carpet. “Am I the only one that doesn’t think this matters and that this should become a professional norm? They’re not on set as a couple lol,” one person wrote.
i lowkey think this is on purpose to get us to go check the movie and see if their chemistry is nonexistent in it too https://t.co/1ws1pm1xaT
— vick van dyke 🎂 (@spaceyvicky) February 6, 2023
As for whether the pair were able to pull-off on-screen chemistry, Witherspoon, who is also a producer on the film, told The Hollywood Reporter that she and Kutcher had to work on it in the lead-up to filming, and that she was actually closer with his wife Mila Kunis.
“We really worked on it, we talked every day for the month leading up to it,” Witherspoon said of creating chemistry. “We sent each other videos every single day so that we got to know each other so that by the time we got to set, he knew my dog’s name, he knew all of my kids, I’d seen him get his coffee.”
Kutcher also confirmed that viewers will be able to “tell on screen” whether he and Witherspoon were successful, before revealing that he “had more fun making this than maybe anything I’ve ever made as an actor”.
According to Kutcher, who hasn’t starred in a rom-com since 2011, when he starred in New Year’s Eve and No Strings Attached, he enjoyed creating the movie so much because he had “fun” every single day he showed up to work.
He also revealed that he signed on to the project because he “wanted” to do it, rather than because he needed to.
“Honestly, I think I had more fun shooting this movie than I ever had,” Kutcher told Variety. “It was genuinely a choice. I didn’t need to do it. I didn’t have to do it. It wasn’t like a career-building block. It was like: ‘I want to do this.’”
As for how he felt working with Witherspoon, he described his co-star as a “genuine movie star”.
“She’s such a movie star. It was so wonderful and fun and funny and light. There was never a dark day. There was never a day that everything went wrong. I got spoiled,” he said.
Your Place or Mine premieres on Netflix on 10 February.