Kutcher, who bears an uncanny resemblance to a young Steve Jobs, said he was determined to understand Jobs' genius and his stubbornness. "I have a lot of friends in the tech industry and a lot who knew Steve," Kutcher said. "I wanted them to feel like the movie was being true to what really happened."
Three months of research helped Kutcher get inside the head of a man he never met. Or it could be that Jobs got inside his head. At a screening of the movie in San Francisco, Kutcher passionately defended Jobs' controversial decision not to give stock options to some of the earliest Apple employees who had not lived up to his expectations. "I think Steve was really loyal to people he felt were loyal to him," said Kutcher, who called Jobs this generation's Leonardo da Vinci.
Though the film has received lukewarm reviews, Kutcher has been praised for moments in which he seems to perfectly capture Jobs. Even when he's showing Jobs at his most callous, Kutcher makes us feel for the man who died from complications related to cancer in 2011. "I wanted to figure out why he made some of the choices he made," Kutcher said. "Why this brilliant man did not seek medical help for a disease he knew would be deadly. Why this guy who was so brilliant would use such brute verbal force on people."
Technology has always held a fascination for Kutcher. He started programming in college. He got into modeling and acting after being spotted by a talent scout and dropped out of college at age 19.
Kutcher was an early adopter of technology and the Internet. In 2000, he spent hours in chatrooms to get people talking about his film "Dude, Where's My Car?" Kutcher was intrigued by the possibility of Internet video long before streaming was possible, and his company once explored adding video to an instant messaging program called AIM. The idea that people would want to share video clips with their friends was close to what people now do every day on Facebook.
"Steve Jobs is an incredible case study for building a great business. He made mistakes, but he did a huge amount of things right," Kutcher said. "I try to look at those ideals he had that were extremely positive: simplicity, innovation, focus and honesty, and I try to encourage entrepreneurs to follow those ideals." Kutcher now is on the lookout for the next Steve Jobs and just hopes he's smart enough to bankroll him or her.