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Illustration: Bob Kelly

The Hot Seat: Ashton Kutcher

This practical joker is surprisingly practical.


Love him or hate him, Ashton Kutcher seems to have it all figured out. The 31-year-old husband of Demi Moore—when he's not "tapping into the zeitgeist" via Twitter—runs his own production company (Katalyst Films) and helps to raise money and awareness for the world's downtrodden. In his company's latest cinematic endeavor, Spread, Kutcher plays Nikki, a guy who uses his good looks and charm to ingratiate himself with wealthy women whom he can mooch off of indefinitely. Kutcher is also apparently quite adept at talking on the phone from his car.

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Spread teaches us that sexual grifting isn't all that we hoped it was. I just assumed dudes like that scored tons of chicks and had it made.
Well, there's that illusion that that is the truth, and I think that is kind of a kick in the nuts for guys, this movie, because you do start to watch it, and you think, Oh really? That's what he's gonna do?

A turning point for Nikki seems to be when Anne Heche tells him that he's losing his looks, and that without them he's worthless. What am I supposed to do when my own rugged good looks fade?
[Laughs] I don't know, you tell me. What are you supposed to do? I started building a production company. I don't know if that will work for you. I started when I was 20 years old.

Production company, eh? Go on...
I've sort of got the Ron Howard plan. He built Imagine, he lost his hair, and now he directs films. I always felt like that was a good plan.

A sad day when Ron Howard can't rely on his looks anymore.
Well, he could still rely on his looks, he's a pretty handsome guy. He just started losing the old hair. There's another thing you can't really control. It happens, it's genetic.

I had a teacher when I was in school, and I used to screw around in class a little bit, and she pulled me off to the side one day and said, "Listen, I don't know who you think you are, but you're not going to be able to get by on your charm and good looks for too long."

Was she ever wrong.
I've had a decent run going on my charm and good looks. Because God knows I'm not talented.

How many Twitter followers are you up to now?
I don't know. Somebody said I was at, like, 2.9 million or something. But I actually don't go on Twitter through Twitter, so I never really know what my count is.

Have you ever considered using your now-widespread Internet influence for evil?
Not really for evil so much. We ran a campaign to end hunger, but that's kind of meek. We actually got $10 million worth of products that went to Feeding America. Then we used it [Twitter] to help end malaria, so that was some Dr. Evil stuff right there. There are some things that I've said, because of the 140-character limit, that may have been interpreted as evil, but I don't think I ever had evil intent. Now I want to use Twitter to raise awareness of human trafficking and the sex-slave trade.

Man, now I feel like my next question is really frivolous.
You can ask it. You have to be able to have fun, but also get down to business.

Thank you. I took this Facebook quiz that asked, "What dinosaur/weapon combo would you ride into battle?" I got pterodactyl and a mace. What do you think you'd get?
Well, what's the criteria on this?

I think it was favorite beer or something...
Well, unless it was like a huge [Suddenly distracted]... Holy shit, I'm going down the wrong way on a one-way street. I hate when I do this. I actually haven't done this in quite some time. [To nearby driver] I know. I know, dude. [To me] This guy is yelling at me, and treating me like I'm the biggest asshole in the world. And he's wearing a Washington Senators hat. And he thinks the joke is on me! Aw, crap. This guy was really upset. I love it when people are driving their cars, and they look at you like they've never done anything bad ever in their lives. Okay, so back to the dinosaur question.

Spread opens Aug 14.

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