Ashton Kutcher had a Herculean task in portraying Steve Jobs. One could almost say it was a thankless endeavor to play the Apple Computers founder in the biopic Jobs. But, as can be seen even from the Jobs trailer, Kutcher has impeccably captured the nature, power, presence and earthquake of innovation that was Steve Jobs.
What surprised Kutcher the most about this titan of tech were his thoughts on education.
"The thing that I probably least expected to find was his perspective on education. I found this speech that he gave when he was about probably twenty-five and he was speaking to a bunch of high school kids that were about to graduate. Apparently, there had been a couple of other speakers that went before him,” Kutcher said.
“Steve got up in front of them and said, 'A lot of the really successful people I know in the world, they didn’t go to school and they didn’t get a degree. They had a broad set of life experiences that enabled them to bring something valuable that people with a standardized education couldn’t bring.' He encouraged these kids to go to Paris and try to write poetry or fall in love with two people at one time or try LSD like Walt Disney did when he came up with the idea for Fantasia.”
Jobs meant different things to different people. Kutcher took the age old adage of “not judging your character” and really had to apply it to this role, more than any other in his career.
“We as human beings are flawed. Most of the time the decisions and choices that we make at the point and time where we’re making that decision we feel like we’re making the right decision or the right choice and we feel like we’re behaving in the right way, in a justified way. There were some things that Steve Jobs approached that seemed very blunt and unkind,” he said.
“I actually think some of the things that Steve Jobs gets criticized for were the very gifts that allowed him to create what he did. I think that that blunt focus actually came out of care for the consumer and the product he was creating.”
It was Jobs' way of doing things, Kutcher believes, that led him to change the world, as seen in this Jobs clip. “It was that same blunt discernment that allowed him to create the amazing products he created,” Kutcher said.
“It was that same demand for perfection and demand for people to elevate their game to the best of their ability that allowed these teams to actually create these products that we all take for granted.”
Why it was important to make a film about Jobs' life, so soon after his death, was that it is such an encouraging story which Kutcher and filmmakers hope will spawn a new generation of innovators. “I wanted to make this film to inspire young people to create the world that they live in,” Kutcher said.
“I’m personally kind of tired of people looking at the world and saying, 'The world is not providing for me.' Maybe you need to provide for the world. And maybe it takes that little bit of confidence to say, this guy who came from very meager beginnings and didn’t have a college education, was able to build the most powerful company in the world. I think that is inspiring and necessary right now and I think that people can learn a lot from it.”
At the end of filming Jobs, looking back, the actor charged with portraying this great man feels that he was much more than a tech giant who brought the world closer and made our lives easier and more connected. “I think Steve made life beautiful. He didn’t just create a business and a product that was a utility that worked. He made something artistic and he made something beautiful and he appreciated art and creativity,” Kutcher said.
“I watch schools today and education programs dumping art programs for these business programs and remember the most powerful company in the world was run by an artist and that was Steve Jobs.”