Throwback Thursday: That 70’s Boy

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Montgomery Advocate newspaper interview with Ashton Kutcher

Have you ever watched That 70’s Show? A student from the MC Advocate had a chance to interview Ashton Kutcher, a main character on the show. The article is from 1999, which is a mere year after the show aired. That 70’s Show was Kutcher’s first acting gig, but would lead him to many roles down the road. Read more about his thoughts as he was becoming a big Hollywood star in this article from Oct. 12, 1999.

Montgomery Advocate newspaper interview with Ashton Kutcher
Montgomery Advocate newspaper interview with Ashton Kutcher

That 70’s Boy

By Dan Wilford

He’s the dopey part of the young and beautiful cast of ABC’s slightly whimsical “That 70’s Show,” who goes by Kelso (but you can just hear his on-screen girlfriend screaming “Michael!”) The show has developed a fanbase since it’s debut in 1998, and Ashton Kutcher stands out as the tall, former Calvin Klein Model who can relate to the small town setting of the characters more than most of his Hollywood peers. He was born and raised in Iowa and attended theUniversity of Iowa for only a short time before he joined the world of entertainment. I talked with him from his home in LA where we discussed his hometown, his high school days and what it means to be a pin up star.

Q: So what do you think about the show, were you excited when you first heard about it?

A: Yeah I was pumped man, from the minute I read the pilot, I knew it was gonna be a great show because the writers on the show are so funny. I mean, I attribute 85% of the success of the show to writers because they’re so damn good.

Q: Do you like playing the goofy, dumb character or do you prefer something more dramatic?

A: It’s a challenge because that character has been done so many times and you have to play it differently than everybody else played it, otherwise it’s such a redundant character and people are bored and they don’t care. So instead of playing the character completely stupid, you have to play them more naive and honest and just completely innocent to the bad things in the world, you know what I’m saying? So it’s a challenging role to play…to play well. And it’s kind of a challenge, for me anyway, to play that character fresh and new and something that hasn’t been played before.

Q: Yeah, with that kind of subject mater it’s hard to do something original.

A: Well yeah, they’ve tried to do it before and it didn’t work because they focused ton the 70’s instead of focusing on the stories. Like they’d spend an entire episode focusing on some’s hair, which in the 70’s they wouldn’t have done, because that hair wasn’t such an atrocity.

Q: You’ve had an interesting career so far because you started off modeling…weren’t you “discovered?”

A: Yeah I was at a bar in Iowa and this lady Mary Brown entered me in a contest and I won a trip to New York and moved to New York and just started working.

Q: Was that a weird world for you, being a model?

A: It was different. I don’t know if it was weird, but it was different and nothing at all like I expected. I didn’t even know guys modeled before I became one. I mean, I just couldn’t believe that stuff that you get for free, you know? I mean you basically get to travel around the world for free, they put you up in nicest hotels, you fly first class and your around beautiful women all day long. It’s a pretty damn nice job.”

Q: You grew up in Iowa, is it just kind of a stereotype or is Iowa kind of a different worlds from the big city?

A: Yeah I think it’s definitely a different world from a big city, it’s a lot easier to live Iowa I think. Basically in Iowa you go to work from nine to five, you get off work, you go home you watch your favorite sitcom on TV and then go to bed. And them you get your weekends, you have parties and whatever. But in Iowa there’s not as much to do as there is here, so you kind of have to find your own fun, and you do different things that most people have never done. Like having a “kegger” in a cornfield, you know? Most people have never done that but any kid in Iowa basically has. So yeah it is a different world, I think.

Q: What was high school like for you, I’ve read that you were kind of a jock and into theater at the same time?

A: Yeah, high school was just really busy for me. I’d go to wrestling or football practice, and then as soon as I got done with that I’d got to theater practice, and then as soon as I got done with that I’d have to go rehearse something fro the choir, and then as soon as I got done with that I’d have to go to do homework… I was just very actively involved in every facet of high school.

Q: Where people ever not accepting of the fact that you were kind of a jock and theater boy?

A: Yeah, like my best friend was always razzing me about it, you know he’d like “Why are you always hanging out with those theater fags?” You know, he’d say stuff, but I loved doing it so I wouldn’t even pay attention to it.

Q: We were talking earlier about how you got snatched up bu the modeling world, but at the time you were attending the University of Iowa to study genetics, right? That seem kind unusual…

A.: Yeah I wanted to go into Genetic Engineering. Basically when I was like 13, my twin brother had a heart transplant because he had this thing called a cardio myopathy, which breaks down the cardio tissue. And basically what I wanted to do was find a way for that virus to stop reproducing, that was my intention in that.

Q: In the upcoming movie Down to You, I find it interesting that you play Jim Morrison, kind of. Wasn’t that your first big movie role? Did you enjoy playing that character?

A: Yeah, it was and yeah I definitely enjoyed it, it was great. Because if there was like a character in time that I could play, Jim Morrison would definitely be one of them. So I was really digging it.

Q: Do you ever worry about getting this kind of teenybopper image with young girl fans, the whole Backstreet Boys thing?

A: Um, No, I don’t worry about it. I’m careful of it, but I don’t worry about i. If they’re gonna be your fans they’re gonna be your fans. To me that’s not like a big problem. You look at Leo Dicaprio, who his main fans are teenage girls, but he also has fans beyond that audience. And I mean, that’s a pretty good place to be. I don’t think it’s hurt his career at all. I mean he can choose any movie in this city. But I’m really careful about what I pick. Down to You, that’s questionable…I think they’re definitely targeting a teen audience, although it takes place in college. We’re all college kids, we’re a a little bit older, but I still se it as a teen audience. But the teenage girls grow up. And then they become women. And then they become fans of yours that are women. So you know, I don’t worry about it. I mean, I make specific choices to be careful of being pigeonholed as a teen actor, but I don’t worry about the teen audience

Q: Do you see yourself moving beyond That 70’s Show to focus on your film career in the near future?

A: In the near future, no. I have a 5 year obligation to the show, which I will gladly fulfill. And I have hiatuses that I can do films for now. Plus I love the show, I love working on the show and I don’t see giving that up in the near future. In the distance future I would like to be a film actor. But right now I’m just completely happy with the show.