Ashton Kutcher: “My goal was to not get fired”

July 30, 2010, 4:00 pmwhomagazine

Ashton talks of his new film 'Killers' and what it's like working with Katherine Heigl

Ashton Kutcher: “My goal was to not get fired”

He’s hot, talented and smart, has a huge Twitter following and is married to one of Hollywood’s most gorgeous women, Demi Moore, 47. Born and raised in Iowa, Ashton Kutcher, 32, shot to prominence in 1998 with TV series That ‘70’s Show before starring in films including What Happens in Vegas and Valentine’s Day. In action-comedy Killers—which is directed by the Australian director of Legally Blonde, Robert Luketic—he plays a CIA spy who has found the woman of his dreams (Katherine Heigl.) Deciding to put the heady world of international espionage behind him, he settles into a life of suburban bliss—until his past comes back to hunt him down…

What attracted you to Killers?

It’s every guy’s secret fantasy to be an undercover spy in a movie. I grew up with James Bond and all those pictures so being able to play that action-adventure character is just a dream. I also realized that this was really a story about an action-adventure guy that was fighting to be normal and that’s what really hooked me.

What was the biggest challenge?

Making sure that the tonal balance in the movie is right. You have to get people to buy into the dramatic jeopardy of what’s happening but at the same time keep it funny and light.

Blending real action with real gags?

Exactly. I watched Beverly Hills Cop just to get an idea. I watched a little bit of Lethal Weapon to sort of see the same thing: how far can you push the action and still be able to break in and make people laugh?

As a producer, did you work on developing the script?

I helped with that. And then there was quite a bit of lifting from that point on until, well, two weeks ago I was actually in the mixing room helping mix the movie.

What was your collaboration like with director Robert Luketic?

When I first signed onto the film, there wasn’t a director. I’d seen Rob’s film, 21, and I saw Legally Blonde. I liked the combination of his comedic tone and the style and attitude of his movies. And so I just went straight to him. He was the first choice. We sat down and talked about what we both saw for the movie and what we wanted it to be. And he immediately started explaining how he wanted these action scenes to look - specific shots that he wanted in the movie. Everything he was talking about was simply elevating it from where the script was. That’s what great directors do. They take the words on the page and bring them to life in a way that you couldn’t have seen.

What was working with Katherine Heigl like?

Katherine is probably one of the most chameleonic actors I’ve ever worked with. She can just be going about her day and then suddenly pop into character at a moment’s notice. I sort of have to get myself revved up to play a character. It takes me a little time just to hone in on it. And Katherine can be eating lunch and just go, “OK” and then–boom—pop into a scene and it’s on. I wish I had that!

The cast also includes two veteran performers, Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara. Did you learn anything from them?

Tom got me hooked on a new chair on set. You know how with actors, you get that chair and it’s got your name on it? Well, Tom’s got his own chair and it’s tricked out. It has a coffee holder and these big secret compartments. He’s basically got a La-Z-Boy for a set chair and he got me wired up with one! And it was just an absolute home run.

How did you get your own start in the business? You’re not from a Hollywood background by any stretch...

No. I got, I actually booked That ‘70’s Show my first day in Los Angeles. And I worked on that for eight years. And I learned a lot. You do a TV show like that, you’re acting every day. You have to rehearse every single day. You learn what works and what doesn’t. And because there was a live studio audience there you also had instant feedback. I think you just get a lot better. Also, our writers were so good that they took us in enough different directions to keep us learning, keep us expanding. And then there’s a certain point where you just kind of feel like you’ve done that and you move on. And that’s what we did. We made that choice.

Do you ever miss the show?

I miss it every day. It was the best job I ever had in my life.

What were your expectations when you were starting out? Did you ever think you’d be in the position you’re in today?

When I was first starting out my whole goal was to not get fired. I really couldn’t have imagined the success I’ve been given. I definitely wasn’t reading that book The Secret if you know what I mean. It’s not like I wrote it down in a notebook or drew it up or something. Although I could have imagined it. When I was in college a friend of mine told me to take a piece of paper and write down three things you wanted to do in your life. And one of the things that I wrote down was, “Move to Hollywood and be on the big screen.” But to be honest, I really just wanted to get a job and try not to get fired.

You still continue to work in television. Clearly you’re not a snob when it comes to the small screen?

No, I love TV. I think it’s great. It’s a really great medium. What I loved about doing TV, filming before a live audience in particular, was the instant feedback. It’s like doing theatre but actually getting paid! That’s also why I like the internet so much. Because it’s almost like live theatre. I mean it is like live theatre. You get that same instant feedback.

KILLERS is in cinemas now

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