Ashton Kutcher: We did the best job on ‘Jobs’

Updated 18 August 2013
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Ashton Kutcher: We did the best job on ‘Jobs’

LOS ANGELES: It’s clear from Ashton Kutcher’s tone — even though he’s sitting 2,500 miles away in New York — that the 35-year-old actor and technology enthusiast holds an unflinching reverence for Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder he portrays in the film “Jobs,” opening Friday.
When he speaks about embodying the notoriously demanding Mac mastermind during a recent video conversation on Skype, in which Kutcher was an early investor, he’s resolute and thoughtful. It’s the antithesis of his goofball on-screen personas in TV series like “That ‘70s Show” and “Two and a Half Men” and in films such as “Dude, Where’s My Car?” and “What Happens in Vegas.”
For Kutcher, he says it was imperative that he personify, not parody, the well-documented mannerisms of Jobs, who died in 2011 of pancreatic cancer and will also be profiled in an untitled Sony film by Aaron Sorkin. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who’s played by Josh Gad in “Jobs,” has been hired as an adviser on the upcoming Sorkin film.
With “Jobs,” Kutcher hopes his performance is as much a lesson about entrepreneurship to today’s youth as it a profile of a man who revolutionized technology.
He doesn’t paint a spotless portrait of Steve Jobs in this film. Commenting on how he balanced playing a man that’s obviously an icon but also has flaws like everyone else, Kutcher said: “I think Steve cared about the end result and wasn’t worried about being liked and knew he would eventually be liked if his creations were properly executed. He was very blunt, but it’s because he cared. I tried to look at his faults as his gifts, and I tried to understand it and not judge it. I think the way that guy received love in life was by creating products that people loved, and when they loved the products, they thereby loved him.”
Asked how the actor mentally prepared for the scenes where Jobs goes into beast mode and he’s yelling and combative, Kutcher said: “He was never just senselessly combative. I think there was something he desired, and he had a goal and passion for his consumers that were driving his frustration. He wanted the people around him to care as much about the result as he did. I think his frustration was in an effort to motivate people to care.”
He said now is the right time for this story and that it isn’t too soon.
“As time passes, I think the tales get taller. He’ll become more glorified for the things he did right, and more vilified for the things he did wrong. We had a great opportunity to tell a story about a guy with an exponential amount of resources to inform us about what really happened — or as close to what really happened as they can recall.”
Commenting on how he felt about Steve Wozniak declaring some scenes weren’t accurate after he saw footage of the film, Kutcher said Wozniak is being paid by another company to support their Steve Jobs film. “It’s personal for him, but it’s also business. We have to keep that in mind. He was also extremely unavailable to us when producing this film. He’s a brilliant man and I respect his work, but he wasn’t available to us as a resource, so his account isn’t going to be our account because we don’t know exactly what it was. We did the best job we could. Nobody really knows what happened in the rooms.”


Army splits with West Point grad who touted communist revolt

In this May 2016 photo provided by Spenser Rapone, Rapone displays a shirt bearing the image of socialist icon Che Guevara under his uniform, after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. (AP)
Updated 20 June 2018
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Army splits with West Point grad who touted communist revolt

  • “I would encourage all soldiers who have a conscience to lay down their arms and join me and so many others who are willing to stop serving the agents of imperialism and join us in a revolutionary movement”
  • Less than a year after Rapone’s images drew a firestorm of vitriol and even death threats, the second lieutenant who became known as the “commie cadet” is officially out of the US Army with an other-than-honorable discharge

WATERTOWN, New York: The images Spenser Rapone posted on Twitter from his West Point graduation were intentionally shocking: In one, the cadet opens his dress uniform to expose a T-shirt with a blood-red image of socialist icon Che Guevara. In another, he raises his fist and flips his cap to reveal the message: “Communism will win.”
Less than a year after Rapone’s images drew a firestorm of vitriol and even death threats, the second lieutenant who became known as the “commie cadet” is officially out of the US Army with an other-than-honorable discharge.
Top brass at Fort Drum accepted Rapone’s resignation Monday after an earlier reprimand for “conduct unbecoming of an officer.” Rapone said an investigation found he went online to advocate for a socialist revolution and disparage high-ranking officers. Officially, the Army said in a statement only that it conducted a full investigation and “appropriate action was taken.”
An unrepentant Rapone summed up the fallout in yet another tweet Monday that showed him extending a middle finger at a sign at the entrance to Fort Drum, accompanied by the words, “One final salute.”
“I consider myself a revolutionary socialist,” the 26-year-old Rapone told The Associated Press. “I would encourage all soldiers who have a conscience to lay down their arms and join me and so many others who are willing to stop serving the agents of imperialism and join us in a revolutionary movement.”
Rapone said his journey to communism grew out of his experiences as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan before he was accepted into the U.S. Military Academy. And those views only hardened during his studies of history as one of the academy’s “Long Gray Line.”
He explained that he took the offending selfies at his May 2016 West Point graduation ceremony and kept them to himself until last September, when he tweeted them in solidarity with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was taking heat for kneeling for the national anthem to raise awareness of racism. Many other military personnel also tweeted in favor of Kaepernick, although most were supporting free speech, not communism.
West Point released a statement after Rapone posted the photos, saying his actions “in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army.” And U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, called on the secretary of the Army to remove Rapone from the officer ranks.
“While in uniform, Spenser Rapone advocated for communism and political violence, and expressed support and sympathy for enemies of the United States,” Rubio said Monday, adding “I’m glad to see that they have given him an ‘other-than-honorable’ discharge.”
One of six children growing up in New Castle, Pennsylvania, Rapone said he applied to West Point, which is tuition-free, because he couldn’t afford college. He was nominated out of high school by then-U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire in 2010.
“He was an honors student, an athlete, a model citizen who volunteered in the community,” recalled Altmire, a Democrat. “During the interview, he expressed patriotism and looked just like a top-notch candidate. There were no red flags of any kind.”
But he wasn’t accepted to West Point, so Rapone enlisted in the Army. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and was assigned as an assistant machine gunner in Khost Province.
“We were bullies in one of the poorest countries on Earth,” Rapone said. “We have one of the most technologically advanced militaries of all time and all we were doing is brutalizing and invading and terrorizing a population that had nothing to do with what the United States claimed was a threat.”
Toward the end of his deployment, he learned West Point fulfills a certain quota of enlisted soldiers every year. Despite his growing disillusionment about the military, he applied and got in.
“I was still idealistic,” he said.” I figured maybe I could change things from inside.”
In addition to classic socialist theorists such as Karl Marx, Rapone says he found inspiration in the writings of Stan Goff, a retired Special Forces master sergeant who became a socialist anti-war activist.
Even while still a cadet, Rapone’s online postings alarmed a West Point history professor, who wrote Rapone up, saying his online postings were “red flags that cannot be ignored.” Rapone was disciplined but still allowed to graduate.
Greg Rinckey, an attorney specializing in military law, said it’s rare for an officer out of West Point to receive an other-than-honorable discharge. He added that it’s possible the military academy could seek repayment of the cost of Rapone’s education because he didn’t serve the full five-year service obligation required upon graduation.
“I knew there could be repercussions,” said Rapone, who is scheduled to speak at a socialism conference in Chicago next month. “Of course my military career is dead in the water. On the other hand, many people reached out and showed me support. There are a lot of veterans both active duty and not that feel like I do.”