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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Ashton Kutcher
Aired September 28, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just why are you here?
ASHTON KUTCHER, ACTOR: I'm here to exceed your expectations senior chief. I'm a rescue swimmer at heart, born, bred and water-fed hoorah!
RYAN SEACREST, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight, Ashton Kutcher, he's gone from sweeping the floor of a Cheerios factory in a tiny Iowa town to a blissful marriage to movie goddess Demi Moore. He's become a Hollywood mover and shaker on screen and behind the scenes and he taught us all the meaning of the word punk.
KUTCHER: You probably got punk.
SEACREST: Ashton Kutcher is next on LARRY KING LIVE.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEACREST: RYAN SEACREST, CNN GUEST HOST: Good evening everybody. It's Ryan Seacrest in for Larry King tonight on LARRY KING LIVE. Thank you for joining us, and thank you, Ashton Kutcher. Good to see you. Thank you for coming, man.
KUTCHER: Yes, thanks for having me.
SEACREST: It's your first time on the LARRY KING LIVE set, huh?
KUTCHER: It is my first time on the set.
SEACREST: What do you think, pretty cool?
KUTCHER: I was expecting more.
SEACREST: I won't tell him you said that.
KUTCHER: I was expecting for like people to be running in with telegrams and things. It won't happen.
SEACREST: If you guys get one please share it with us, right?
Let's start with where you're from, for those who don't know, small town, yes, in Iowa?
KUTCHER: Yes, well originally Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I grew up there until I was 13 and then I moved to a small town.
SEACREST: And how is life there different from life here now in Los Angeles.
KUTCHER: I think it's just easier. You know, you get your weekends off, you know. It's sort of like there you try to find something to do and here you kind of avoid doing things.
SEACREST: And when you were there trying to find something to do, was it the big dream to move to Hollywood and become eventually a movie star?
KUTCHER: I sort of thought that Hollywood was like a Van Halen video. You know, I kind of thought it would be just like girls on rollerblades in bikinis like cruising around all over the place, so yes, it was a dream and.
SEACREST: And was that reality when you got here?
KUTCHER: Fewer girls in bikinis on rollerblades than I expected but a lot of other stuff.
SEACREST: How did you make it? What did you think your big break was?
KUTCHER: I think my biggest break was going against common sense which was stay in Iowa and stay in college, do all those things and then I made a decision to move to New York with like a hundred bucks in my pocket.
SEACREST: Is that right?
KUTCHER: Well, I won a trip to New York and that was really my big break. There was this woman named Mary Brown who in Iowa does this like model search thing and did. She's in St. Louis now. And I was at a shopping mall one day and got involved in this thing and won the trip to New York so that was really -- and then once I got out of Iowa I sort of saw that there was kind of more out there and that I could enjoy life in a different way.
SEACREST: And when you first went out to audition I heard that you had two auditions in one day and nailed them.
KUTCHER: Yes, once I came to L.A. so I spent about eight months in New York and flew to L.A. and booked "That '70s Show" the first day I was in L.A.
SEACREST: Well that upsets a lot of people, I'd imagine, that are auditioning day in and day out that are frustrated. Why did you -- I mean how probably did you book that in the first day with the first read?
KUTCHER: Well, it was probably because I didn't know what I was doing.
SEACREST: Yes because you weren't studied, really at the time. KUTCHER: I wasn't studied. I had never really -- I mean I did like high school acting, you know, that kind of thing. But I really didn't like study with anyone and I just kind of went and I was winging it.
I didn't realize "That '70s Show" was a comedy and when I was auditioning for it I was just reading what was on the page, which was a bunch of guys being high and I thought that that was very serious at the time and I guess that's funny.
SEACREST: And then you eventually decided to leave that series. Do you think in hindsight that was the right decision?
KUTCHER: Yes. I think so. It was the right decision for me.
SEACREST: Why did you leave?
KUTCHER: Well, I went back and did several episodes after I, you know, sort of officially kind of went away to keep the show on, keep the show going and because I loved being there but I felt like I needed to focus on other things.
My production company was sort of starting to take off and I had a lot of business to do with that and I had this movie, "The Guardian" that I wanted to do and I needed to make time to focus on that and it's -- you know, you kind of feel like a caterpillar like going from one leaf to the other, you know. You sort of want to stay on this leaf but yet you want to be on this leaf and so you're kind of hanging between the two and, you know, eventually you've got to take that jump and hope that you make it to the other leaf, you know.
SEACREST: What was happening in your personal life, meeting Demi and getting married, was that part of the decision-making process for you and moving on?
KUTCHER: No, not at all. I mean, I was for a good, you know, for whatever, two years I was doing the show that I was with Demi and she would come to the sets on Friday. It was actually really nice because our girls loved coming to the set and hanging out like while we were shooting. It was like a good Friday night out for them, you know, and it was like good clean fun, go watch a show. So that, you know, that definitely wasn't part of the decision to leave.
SEACREST: Is it true that when you guys met, when you met Demi, you didn't know who she was? You didn't realize it was Demi Moore?
KUTCHER: No, I didn't really recognize her as Demi Moore.
SEACREST: How do you not recognize Demi Moore?
KUTCHER: You're really good and drunk and you're at a bar and you're hitting on the waitress and not really paying attention.
SEACREST: Is that what was happening you were hitting on someone else?
KUTCHER: Yes, absolutely.
SEACREST: Ashton. You were hitting on another woman.
KUTCHER: Before I ever met my wife.
SEACREST: And your wife was in the room.
KUTCHER: What's wrong with that? How many women have you hit on, Ryan?
SEACREST: Not nearly as many as you I'm sure.
KUTCHER: I don't know about that.
SEACREST: When you realized it was Demi Moore, when was that? How long after you met her?
KUTCHER: You know, after like somebody, you know, introduced us like and said this is Demi Moore and I said, "Oh, OK, hi."
SEACREST: Did you find it a bit surreal that you ended up first dating her and then eventually now you're married to this woman that you had obviously seen before in movies.
KUTCHER: Not really surreal. I wasn't -- you know, people are people. It doesn't -- you know, if you find someone that you're connected to that's it.
SEACREST: Were you surprised you connected so young?
KUTCHER: No. It's not really young. I mean go to, you know, in Iowa most people are married and having kids by the time they're 21, so I was 26 years old so it wasn't like, you know, I didn't feel like out of my element like being with somebody.
SEACREST: I think a lot of guys in your position though would enjoy the fact that they were young, successful and single and might want to postpone that type of commitment.
KUTCHER: Guys that don't hit on people like you, right? I don't know. You know, I think that there's instant gratification in that. You know, like in sort of getting a buzz off of, you know, people being interested in you and things like that but I think there's long term fulfillment in finding somebody that makes you a better person.
SEACREST: A lot of people want to know when the two of you met and obviously began to cultivate the relationship, there was a lot of focus on the difference in your age, yours and hers. Was that especially difficult then to build a relationship because of all the tabloid fodder?
KUTCHER: No. I just don't read it.
SEACREST: You stay away from it?
KUTCHER: Yes, I stay away from it. I try not to talk about it. I don't like the, you know -- my family and my relationship is not for sale. You know, I don't -- I'm not -- I don't put that out like I'd rather not even talk about it because it's not for sale. You know, I make art and I make movies and TV shows and things like that that I go out and promote and I try to differentiate between the two and not put my family and, you know, that privacy up for sale.
I think, you know, sometimes that's difficult. You sit down for an interview and, you know, you want to talk about this, you know, piece of art that you made but people constantly are having to refer back to something else.
And more and more I think it makes it -- I think it makes it difficult for some actors to actually even do their work because people start to have a difficult time differentiating between, you know, what is work and what's your life. And for me that's my life and that's what I get to go home to and so it's not what I want to take to the press or TV or any of those things.
SEACREST: Do you understand the infatuation with people wanting to know about celebrities and their personal lives at all?
KUTCHER: Yes, you know, I get it. I think it's -- I think it's, you know, part of it is when I was growing up right, Mike Seaver from "Growing Pains."
SEACREST: "Growing Pains." Are you kidding?
KUTCHER: Kirk Cameron was like the man, right?
SEACREST: Kirk Cameron sure.
KUTCHER: So the idea of spending the day with Kirk Cameron to me was like out, you know, out of this world like God, you know, and so I do get -- I do get it. I understand people's interest. I think that in a lot of circumstances I don't think it's the interest -- I don't think the interest is a bad thing. I think it's the selling of it. I think it's the media outlets that are relentless about it in such a way that makes life uncomfortable.
I don't think any of the fans, any of my fans would want me to feel uncomfortable and so sometimes talking about it and the constant sort of prying towards it makes me feel uncomfortable. So I don't think that any of my fans would want to promote that and I don't think if they knew and felt that it was uncomfortable that they would want me to have to deal with it.
I mean I'm sure that Brad and Angelina just want to have their kid and have private movements with their kid and -- but they can't. I'm sure that, you know, Madonna doesn't like people hiding inside of, you know, pulpits when she's getting married for three days with one bag that they're taking a crap in and another one they've got food in waiting to get a photograph. I think that that is invasive to someone's life and there's laws about that when it comes to recording people's private audio. I know. I do a hidden camera show.
KUTCHER: So there's laws about that kind of stuff and they haven't created a law for it yet because it's still considered news for some reason.
SEACREST: And that hidden camera show called "Punk'd" everybody is wondering when anything happens to them these days, are they being punk'd? We'll talk about that, "The Guardian" and a lot more with Ashton Kutcher when we come back on LARRY KING LIVE. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being punk'd is when you just (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ryan, I did not curse at him. I did not curse at him. Why would I curse at your son sir? Why would I do that?
KUTCHER: If you're pissed you probably got punk'd.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This isn't (INAUDIBLE) you bastard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What? Hey. (INAUDIBLE) a lot of money. So I decided to create my own show.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) you're going to get punk'd.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lien has been placed against a lot of your possessions. We have some back taxes to the tune of $900,000.
KUTCHER: Tell one of the agents to get the guitar. Keep going, keep going, keep going.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do not step on my belongings please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will fit now. Who is this? Who lives here?
KUTCHER: Excuse me, sir, this is public property OK. Are you guys moving or what? Nice work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's shows like this that show you just how stupid musicians are. That is by far the best prank I've ever seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SEACREST: Back with Ashton Kutcher on LARRY KING LIVE and I mentioned "Punk'd" before the break. How did this come about? "Punk'd"? When did you have this idea?
KUTCHER: Well it wasn't -- I can't take credit for the idea. I mean pulling pranks on people has been around for quite sometime.
SEACREST: But punking people.
SEACREST: It's become a term that we use...
KUTCHER: In the dictionary.
SEACREST: ...almost -- it is really?
KUTCHER: Yes. Yes. We made the dictionary.
SEACREST: Must be pretty proud of that?
KUTCHER: Yes, we invented a word. Well, some kid invented a word. When we were looking for the title for the show I kept calling all these like teenage kids that I know and said, what would you say if like, you know, you pulled one off on somebody? He's like, you know, "I punk'd him."
KUTCHER: I made him look like a punk. And so that was -- that's basically where it came from.
SEACREST: Did you have any idea that this show would become so successful, so big?
KUTCHER: I think everything that -- I think, you know, everything that I pursue I try to keep a vision in my head of it being completely successful. I mean when I started "That '70s Show" I didn't realize they do pilots for television shows, like one offs.
I just -- you know, every show I watched was like the "Cosbys" and "Roseanne" and they were on for years and years and years on end so I just pretty much assumed that it would go. And then when it came time to do "Punk'd" I just pretty much said, all right, it's happening. It's going to go like there is no question it's going to be successful.
SEACREST: And the idea, obviously, to pull a prank on somebody or celebrities specifically, who has been the best in terms of when you look back on all the "Punk'd" episodes, who has been the best "Punk'd."
KUTCHER: Wow, I can't even say. It's funny what you'll do when you're in distress, you know, and I think it's like -- I think it's partly human nature to laugh when friends get hurt. You know, like you laugh a little like somebody, you know, trips and you laugh at them or, you know, to say like to point out like one individual I don't know, you know.
I think people always recall back to, you know, Justin Timberlake which was one of the first ones that we aired and his reaction because it was just human. You got to see the human side of someone that you kind of iconicize in your mind. Macy Gray was really funny when we decided -- we like ruined her like little children's jazz center.
SEACREST: That sounds so sweet.
KUTCHER: We said it had black mold, you know, and then basically this investor that was coming in was pulling out.
Zack Braff was funny when he started beating up a 12-year-old, you know. Like they're, you know, they're all, you know, they're all different (INAUDIBLE).
SEACREST: You have to see the video, I guess, for that one to get it, right, because beating up a 12-year-old when you talk about it doesn't sound like a funny thing?
KUTCHER: Well, this 12-year-old vandalized his Porsche.
SEACREST: Ah, all right, so he was going after him.
KUTCHER: Yes, so he was like going after the kid and I didn't expect him to start throwing blows at the kid.
SEACREST: Have you ever had a celebrity turn on you and been upset with you trying to pull a "Punk'd."
KUTCHER: I don't know. I hope people aren't. You know, I hope people like, you know, take it in fun. There has been some that we've shot that we haven't aired because people asked us not to. I mean we don't steal our footage so, you know, we won't air anything that someone doesn't sign off on and agree to air.
So there's been people that have asked us not to but I don't think that they were upset. I think that, you know, they went "OK, you tried to pull a joke and I don't think it's that funny." And we're, "OK, you know, I'm sorry" and, you know, I don't -- we're not out to hurt them. Or they didn't like the way that they kind of came off.
You know, one time we punk'd someone that was in the middle of a big negotiation and they revealed something about the negotiation during it.
KUTCHER: And so they made us burn the tape, you know, but it's all, you know, that's fine by us. You know, we expect that there's going to be a couple every season that we're going to lose.
SEACREST: Well, you're the host to a degree of that show, also the executive producer. Is the guy that we see on "Punk'd," is that Ashton or is Ashton different in real life?
KUTCHER: I think I mean to define myself, you know, it's always kind of difficult. The guy that we see -- is the guy that we hear on your radio show, is that you or are you maybe a little bit more laid back than that, maybe a little bit more reserved than that?
SEACREST: It's probably me with the on switch when I'm on radio.
KUTCHER: Yes, you kind of turn it on, turn it off and I think that there's a side of me that, you know, , the fun kid side that likes to, you know, pull pranks on somebody that, you know, you kind of amp up a little bit when you're performing.
SEACREST: A lot of people don't know about your vision in terms of being a businessman and building a business. Talk about your company and what your goals are and what your mission is as a business.
KUTCHER: Well, one of my goals is to turn the CNN building into the Catalyst building, which is my production company. We actually -- our offices are upstairs.
KUTCHER: We have a better view.
SEACREST: A better view than Larry King?
SEACREST: This is a sin.
KUTCHER: All this black around.
SEACREST: You have to defer to Larry (INAUDIBLE). I'm telling you.
KUTCHER: I can't come back on his show when he's here because he'll switch me out.
You know, right now we have a television production company. We have a film production company. We have an Internet production company. And within that we're, you know, trying to just forge new business and I mean one of the biggest things we're doing right now is I think there are television stars and movie stars and I think there will be Internet stars.
So it's kind of like the Wild West there and it's like Charlie Chaplin in the beginning of film. You know, you get to kind of set the blanket and we did a deal with AOL for one of the first production deals ever to be done on the Internet, set some of the new ground there.
SEACREST: To produce content?
KUTCHER: To produce content for the Internet and, you know, combine it with advertisers that are interested in doing like integrated programming. Because, you know, in the day of TiVo like people are, you know, they flip through and especially on the Internet you're not going to sit around and watch a commercial.
So our feeling is that integrated advertising is kind of going to be the future of that and then on the television side we have four shows in production including "Punk'd" and we have a show with the Three Six Mafia.
SEACREST: So acting doesn't make you content. It's not just being an actor or becoming a leading man.
KUTCHER: There's a lot of downtime, you know, when you're an actor. You can't constantly be doing a film if you want to make them great so in that downtime I have to -- it's kind of like my fallback job if it ever really goes downhill.
SEACREST: And you're making that transition from more the comedic roles in films to certainly the more serious roles, something that's deliberate?
KUTCHER: No. I think just something I was -- I think it was -- you know, "The Guardian" is about these Coast Guard rescue swimmers, which is -- which I look up to and I admire and I think that they do an amazing service for our country and we all got a taste of it during Katrina but, you know, we started to make the picture even before that.
And I was just sort of amazed that there's this arm of the military that they train just as hard as, you know, the other arms of the military but they dedicate their lives to saving lives and they don't have to train to take someone's life in order to do it.
They just train to save lives. And I thought it was a really noble profession and they deserve their thank you, so I wanted to tell that story and so this character happened to be a serious character in order to tell it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEACREST: Just ahead, the paparazzi who got too close to Kutch and paid with the shirt off his back.
KUTCHER: I was on the ground. I pulled him. I got his shirt and kind of ripped it off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome, welcome to A school. Wow, look at him go! He's fast.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a rescue swimmer, yes I am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEACREST: We're back with you on LARRY KING LIVE. Ashton Kutcher is our guest. What? What are you thinking? What are you doing? Why are you sizing me up?
KUTCHER: Is that a navy tie?
SEACREST: Why -- you're a fashionista.
KUTCHER: I'm just wondering, is it navy?
SEACREST: Can a guy be a fashionista?
KUTCHER: I'm just trying to decipher whether it's navy or black.
SEACREST: I think it's -- I think it's navy. I don't know. Who cares? You're kind of a trend setter though when it comes to fashion. Do you take a lot of time and preparation for each time you walk out of your humble abode and have something on?
KUTCHER: When I go on TV I try to. Otherwise I don't. This is actually a dickey, believe it or not.
KUTCHER: Yes, see look at this it's connected.
SEACREST: It's kind of the -- oh, I see.
KUTCHER: There's no shirt underneath, it just looks like there is.
SEACREST: Please keep your clothes on, on CNN (INAUDIBLE).
KUTCHER: I thought it was pretty slick. I liked it.
SEACREST: Do you like shopping for clothes?
SEACREST: No, you don't?
KUTCHER: I don't shop.
SEACREST: But I did read that you will wait for Demi to get dressed. You'll sit in the closet and watch a ballgame on your little TV. She'll be dressed. You'll look at what she's wearing and then you'll try and match what she's wearing. You've learned that apparently.
KUTCHER: Yes. I'm writing an article on it in "Harper's Bazaar." I'm serious.
SEACREST: Are you?
KUTCHER: Oh, yes.
SEACREST: And what's the premise of that article then?
KUTCHER: It's called "Coming out of the Closet." SEACREST: Go on.
KUTCHER: Because guys don't want to be in the closet because they don't want to be asked the question of, how does this look? It's the worst question any guy can ever be asked.
SEACREST: And what did -- how did you answer that question at the beginning of your relationship?
KUTCHER: Well, you're like, well that's nice. I think it's nice. But if you answer too quick that means that you don't -- you're not really paying attention and if you answer too slow it automatically means that you don't like it.
SEACREST: So, how do you win?
KUTCHER: You don't. So what you do is you write an article in "Harper's Bazaar" and tell you how you look beforehand and then you don't have to get asked the question.
SEACREST: When does that article come out?
KUTCHER: No, my wife is actually really, really good about -- I mean she's a really good dresser so she doesn't really ask me. Like I don't know why she would ever want my advice on it. So, I'm actually lucky. But I know from prior relationships that being in the closet is an uncomfortable position.
SEACREST: So look for that article. Ashton Kutcher "Coming out of the Closet."
SEACREST: Do you still hang out with some of your buddies from "That '70s Show" like Wilmer?
KUTCHER: Yes, absolutely. I just saw him in New York.
SEACREST: He lives a very different life than you, I assume right now.
KUTCHER: He lives the life that I was living a couple years ago, which is fun.
SEACREST: Do you miss any of those wilder days.
SEACREST: Not at all?
KUTCHER: No, because I still have them. You know, I still hang out with my buddies and go out and like I do, you know, I still go and play. There's no question. He's just, you know, it's kind of settling in to what you want, you know which is a good thing. It's a good place to be. But he's working hard too. He's got his own production company now. SEACREST: He's a great guy.
SEACREST: He's a lot of fun to hang out with.
How about -- do you look at some of the young stars on the scene today and think that maybe they're taking it too far in terms of the access that the public has to them?
KUTCHER: They're taking it too far?
SEACREST: That they're taking it too far in terms of what they allow people to see in their life and how much access they give to the public.
KUTCHER: That's a personal choice. That's up to you. You know that's -- it's a personal choice. I mean I don't, you know, I don't know if like promoting yourself is ever a good thing. I think promoting your work is a good thing.
SEACREST: But part of promoting your work you have to -- well, you don't have to but generally you're expected to reveal a little bit about you.
KUTCHER: You get manipulated -- you get manipulated into doing that, yes. I do, anyway. I don't think that -- I don't think I want to promote me. I look at "The Guardian" right and, you know, this sort of press tour I've been on and I love this film and I love that it says thank you to those guys and I want to promote that.
And so I'll come out and do press when I have that but I'm not out -- I'm not seeking it when I'm not working on something or when I'm not, you know, encouraging people to go see something that I think they can take something away from.
SEACREST: And it is. This movie, "The Guardian," I've seen it with Kevin Costner, not with Kevin Costner, but it stars Kevin Costner.
KUTCHER: But in his house.
SEACREST: I saw it in his house and it's a very -- I mean it's...
KUTCHER: Your house now.
SEACREST: It's a very intense role. Yes he has a nice theater.
KUTCHER: You have a nice theater.
SEACREST: We'll be right back.
(VIDEO CLIP OF THE GUARDIAN)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honey, are you all right? Oh, my God, Evan, you're bleeding!
KUTCHER: Yes, just you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go get cleaned up and come back to bed.
KUTCHER: Where are my clothes?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those are your clothes, silly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEACREST: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. It's Ryan Seacrest in for Larry King tonight. Ashton Kutcher is our guest, star of "The Guardian," opening September 29th, creator and executive producer of MTV's "Punk'd," "Beauty and the Geek" and a lot of other projects. Married to A-list Hollywood beauty Demi Moore, and from Iowa originally. Small town in Iowa.
Is it true that you worked at cereal factory back when you were growing up?
SEACREST: What was your job?
KUTCHER: That amongst other jobs, odd jobs. I was a very -- you know, I grew up very blue collar, so my dad worked at General Mills on the Fruit Roll Ups line, and I got a summer job that's a job works program they do for kids going to college. And so I was sweeping Cheerio dust on a daily basis, which is pretty good. You know, you go home like a sprinkled donut.
SEACREST: And on those afternoons when you'd sweep the Cheerio dust, were you thinking about what you could do to get out of there or were you content with that because of the way you were raised?
KUTCHER: I was making 12 bucks an hour. I was stoked. That was like the best gig that you could get. The idea of being 17 years old and making $12 an hour is a pretty good gig, so ...
SEACREST: You wanted to be a biochemist.
KUTCHER: Biochemical engineer. I wanted to be a geneticist at first, yes. I just liked the double helix. It was very exciting to me for some reason.
SEACREST: Is that what inspired you to study it?
KUTCHER: No ...
SEACREST: Was that what you really wanted to do?
KUTCHER: That's what I wanted to do. My brother had a heart transplant -- my twin brother when we were 13, and he had a cardio myopathy where a virus basically attacks the heart and breaks down the muscle, the tissue in the heart, and I wanted to find a way to stop that virus from replicating.
SEACREST: So it was a personal mission?
KUTCHER: Sort of. Yes.
SEACREST: And from then I understand that you starred in some high school plays or I guess college -- after college, some musicals, things like that?
KUTCHER: Well, when I was in junior high, I did my first play, which is interesting. I kind of started to think about it the other day, and I realize it's why I went into acting, which was sort of the same reason which -- when my brother was sick -- when someone in the family is sick, the whole family rallies behind them, and so there's all the attention kind of going there. And so in that moment, for me doing -- when I was up on stage doing the play, all eyes were on me.
SEACREST: You seem -- I guess it sounds a little naive to say, but all grown up. You seem like very mature for your age, and you seem like you've grown up quickly. Where does that come from?
KUTCHER: I don't know.
SEACREST: Is it the way you were raised? It is it your life out here? Is it the fact that you are married, you do have kids with Demi?
KUTCHER: No, I think -- I don't think I'm grown up. I still dance in the shower by myself. You know, I still -- I drive my motorcycle to work on most days. I think, you know, I drive to put myself in uncomfortable positions all the time, because that's the only way you grow, when you're uncomfortable and when you don't feel safe in your environment. And so I strive for responsibility. If somebody else doesn't want it, give it to me.
And so, I think when you start to feel that responsibility in your life, I think it sort of forces you to focus on what it is that you want and how you want it. And sort of the trivial things that people get off on, you know, you sort of don't have time for those, and you don't make time for those because you know that they're not going to lead you to be a happy person. So.
SEACREST: And are you in that place where you want more responsibility still in this day?
SEACREST: Do you want to have kids of your own with your wife?
KUTCHER: Well, we'll see. SEACREST: Something that you've thought about?
KUTCHER: Yes. I definitely think about -- I've thought about it. I don't know. Like, if it presents itself, and if I think I would want to be focused on it, like -- and know that I could really focus on it and give it the time that it needs. I'm pretty busy right at this moment, and I think when -- you know, for me, having kids is not a right, it's a privilege. And I want to be there with my kids when they're growing up, and I want to be able to say, all right, I'm going to take a little break from working and focus on that.
When Demi had her girls, she took five years off from working, just to raise them. And I think that that is what has made them the beautiful individuals that they are and well-rounded and just great, gracious kids.
SEACREST: We'll come back with more after the break. Stay with us.
Still ahead, is Kutch coming to a wedding ceremony near you? How he plans to punk some bridal parties.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KUTCHER: I will make your wedding memorable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, I can't go. My parents are going to be out late tonight, and we have to study.
KUTCHER: Study? What a gyp, I'm going to the club.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, no, Michael, you're coming over to my house tonight and we're going to study.
KUTCHER: Fine! I never get to do anything fun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God, you're dumb.
KUTCHER: I guess that's why I've got to go study.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEACREST: Back with you on LARRY KING LIVE. Ryan Seacrest in for Larry tonight. Ashton Kutcher our guest.
We were talking earlier about the paparazzi, and I know that Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz were in the news recently. Justin got really upset at a paparazzo, who allegedly went after Cameron. The paparazzo said that he didn't.
Do they confront you and Demi, and do they get that aggressive with the two of you to the point that it's confrontational?
KUTCHER: Yes, it becomes uncomfortable sometimes. We live on a private road, so -- you know, I've had times when they were up on my private road, and I tried to do a citizen's arrest on one of these guys.
SEACREST: How does that work?
KUTCHER: It doesn't work very well at all. I think I had a hold of the guy's shirt, and he was in his car, so he had a little bit more power than I did. I was on the ground like holding onto the guy's shirt and kind of ripped it off. But it -- you can't -- there's not a whole lot you can do.
SEACREST: Well, you've created the greatest revenge in "Punk'd." Why don't you just punk these people?
KUTCHER: Because they don't deserve it.
SEACREST: What do you mean by that?
KUTCHER: They don't deserve to be publicized or given any credit. I punk people I like. I don't punk people I don't like. And I think that they're for the most part, they're like scavengers, man.
It's the publications that support it and that pay these people outrageous amounts of money for photographs of people in their private moments.
SEACREST: Ashton, after the success of the movie "Wedding Crashers," I read a report recently that you were creating a television series called "Wedding Crashers."
SEACREST: Is that true?
KUTCHER: Yes. I think I can say that it's true now.
SEACREST: What can you tell us about it?
KUTCHER: Well, it's -- I don't want to reveal too much.
SEACREST: Just a little taste? Just a little bit. We call it a tease, right?
KUTCHER: Well, I will make your wedding memorable.
SEACREST: Is it a spin-off of "Punk'd"?
KUTCHER: Everybody wants something exciting to happen at their wedding.
SEACREST: Do you actually show up? KUTCHER: No.
KUTCHER: No, I'm producing it.
SEACREST: So you may not show up, but you may cast people to show up.
KUTCHER: No, probably not.
SEACREST: There's some scoop for you.
KUTCHER: I probably won't cast people to show up. Basically, it's like this. Everybody wants their wedding to be a memorable experience. And some weddings, you know, it's like -- when everything goes fine and dandy, that's not always the best.
SEACREST: Right. You need a great memory, but it's not always a great situation when it's happening.
KUTCHER: With the support of the bride and groom, of course.
SEACREST: As a producer, then, for film or for television, you're in charge. You're the boss. Have you been satisfied with the product?
KUTCHER: Yes, I'm very pleased with how it's all turned out. I think I have really great people that I work with. My producing partner, Jason Goldberg, is also my best friend, and it makes it fun to come to work every day. I love being in this building, on my floor, in my office working on making somebody else's vision be realized.
SEACREST: But when you're not in the office and looking at the roles that you've played, was it an easy transition for you to go from the small screen to the big screen? Some people can do it, some people can't. You've clearly done it and you want to do more of it.
KUTCHER: You know, the first thing I did that I was really the lead in a film was "Dude, Where's My Car?" which for me, it was -- it wasn't so much a departure of character, which was a conscious choice. Like, I was still playing a pretty dim guy, you know, just kind of making uninformed decisions, and I did it on purpose, because I didn't want to let the people that supported me to get there down. And I knew I could play that character and I knew that people would respond to that character.
And you know, I don't want to fail anyone, and so when I did that film, I just wanted to do something I knew what I was doing, because it was a whole different format, it was a different way about shooting things and familiarizing myself with how this camera thing is going to look and how this is going to work, and it's a really big picture now. So you can't be as big.
And so it wasn't as difficult because I think it was a little bit more calculated, and I love it. I think it's a special medium, going to the movies. I love going to the movies myself. It's great to go on a ride or a journey, you know, maybe to some country you've never been to, or you get to put yourself in the shoes of a hero for a day, which ...
SEACREST: Do you go and see yours in theater?
KUTCHER: I don't go out to see my movies. I think that's a little weird.
SEACREST: Some actors want to see what the audiences do, where they laugh and where they...
KUTCHER: I went to the premiere for the movie and I watch it in the editing bay a lot, because I'm always kind of trying to tinker with things. And I go to a couple of test screenings, just to see how people are reacting to things. Because I remembered all the different takes that I've done, so I'll watch it there. But I'm a little too self-critical to really enjoy my own material.
SEACREST: You're hard on yourself.
KUTCHER: I don't like me.
SEACREST: I don't like me. Famous last words from Ashton. We'll be right back on LARRY KING LIVE. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't care who you are or where you are from or where you were going. I care about one thing and one thing only, that is the future victims that you will be asked to save. If I feel that you will fail them, I will fail you. Understood?
Fish, why are you here, fish?
KUTCHER: I'm here to exceed your expectations, Senior Chief. I'm a rescue swimmer at heart, born, bred and water-fed. Hurrah!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, I bet you practiced that all morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Fisher is our high school swim champ. He's had scholarships to every Ivy League.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize that he was so qualified. I mean, you set records in a pool? That's amazing. I bet it was like, what, eight feet deep in the deep end?
For the love of God, you could have been killed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEACREST: Back with Ashton Kutcher. It's Ryan Seacrest in for LARRY KING LIVE tonight. Ashton just talking about "The Guardian" before the break, starring with Kevin Costner.
This is a guy that you looked up to as a young kid. What was it like, then, actually sharing a set with him and really co-star in a big movie with him?
KUTCHER: It was a gift. You know, I've been fortunate enough to meet a lot of those guys that I, you know, grew up watching, and you sort of create a fantasy of who they are in your head. And most of the people that you meet don't fill that fantasy. They come short. They fall a little short. Because you can't be the guy you are in the movies.
And Kevin Costner somehow is. Like he's really that guy. That down-to-earth guy that girls want to be with and guys want to have a beer with. Like, he's that guy, and it -- look, this movie for him is sort of a like a comeback to the blockbuster. He went away for a while, decided not to big movies because he didn't want the responsibility of that. And so it's a gift to be able to work with him, and he's phenomenal in the movie. And standing across from him in a scene and learn from him.
Like, I would stop sometimes and ask him, what can I do better here?
SEACREST: And your character is a trainee also and he's training you.
KUTCHER: Yes, he plays my mentor in the movie, so I didn't have to act much. I was -- you just get to stand there and be that.
SEACREST: And this was a powerful role, because it was shot in Louisiana. It was in the wake of Katrina. You certainly wanted to highlight what these rescue men and women do.
How far after Katrina hit were you shooting this movie?
KUTCHER: Well, originally we were supposed to shoot in New Orleans, and we had our tank built and our production office was set up, and then Katrina came in. And for a moment, we were worried that we weren't going to get to do the movie, because a lot of money was already spent and things were already going. And we made a conscious choice to stay in Louisiana, to keep those people working. I think there was about 200 people that were local on the set that we were able to put these people back to work, which was really great.
SEACREST: You've been pretty outspoken about politics in general. You supported John Kerry. Is it important for celebrities to talk about politics publicly?
KUTCHER: No. I wouldn't listen to anything I say. I mean, really, it's just my point of view. I don't -- I'm lucky because I have a platform to be able to say something. I think it's -- you know, we all as American citizens, not as celebrities, but as American citizens have a right to our opinion and our point of view. And you know, I don't like to hawk my political standpoint as a celebrity. I like to do it as a human being. And I care about other people. And if I can have a moment to find a way to give to somebody else because I'm a celebrity, I will. But look, in campaigning with Edwards, I think I might have hurt him a little bit. I showed up in Minnesota, and people are holding signs like, "We don't want Hollywood politics," and I mean, I don't fancy my political beliefs as Hollywood. I fancy them to be -- I try -- I think about them as human.
SEACREST: In our final segment, the man who keeps Ashton's wife Demi glued to the tube.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KUTCHER: He's got a bulletproof vest on out in the middle of Israel, like how am I supposed to compete with that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEACREST: Back with you on LARRY KING LIVE. Ashton Kutcher has been with us for the hour, and a lot coming up for you. We've talked about the production company. You've got the movie out, "The Guardian" in theaters, that's September 29th, and another movie, an animated movie, is out too. Tell me about that.
KUTCHER: Same day. The 29th. "Open Season."
SEACREST: Same day. So it's a double opening.
KUTCHER: I play a one-antlered deer that I'm trying to get a domesticated bear back...
SEACREST: How does one become a one-antlered deer?
KUTCHER: You get hit by a car.
SEACREST: Yeah. Something tragic happens.
KUTCHER: Yes. Or you meet my step-dad's -- the muzzle of my step-dad's gun.
SEACREST: And you're also in "Bobby," which is coming up, right?
KUTCHER: Let's talk about that for a minute. No, there's no violence in the movie. It's very kid-friendly.
SEACREST: Yes. But something very different. "Bobby."
KUTCHER: "Bobby." Yes. It's the story about the lives of 22 people that are staying in the Ambassador Hotel the day that Bobby Kennedy gets shot. It's a really great tale that -- I'm just playing a small cameo in it, but it's a really great tale about humanity and about loving strangers and your neighbors and all the people around you.
SEACREST: How long does it take you to pick a film when you get a script?
KUTCHER: That one, it took me a day -- I read it like three years ago, and then Emilio was talking with my wife on the phone who is also in the movie, and he said to hand the phone to me, and I get it and he says, hey, do you want to play this role in the film? And I was like uh, let me read it again, and I read it and said OK.
But usually, it takes a while. Once you see a good piece of material, you just know. But it's just tough to find.
SEACREST: Look for Ashton everywhere. "The Guardian" opens September 29th. The executive producer and creator of MTV's "Punk'd," "Beauty and the Geek" and a lot of other television coming your way. Ashton, thank you for coming in. It's great to see you.
KUTCHER: Thanks for having me.
SEACREST: So a guy that I know your wife watches is coming up next. Anderson Cooper.
KUTCHER: Yes. That SOB. He's got that bulletproof vest on out in the middle of Israel. How am I supposed to compete with that? I don't have a bulletproof vest.
SEACREST: Anderson, you know Demi Moore is watching right now. Take it away. See you. Thanks for watching, guys.
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