Kutcher, Portman discuss new film, ‘No Strings Attached’
Ashton Kutcher is taller than you think that he would be, not that he looks short on the movie screen.
It’s just that there is a preconceived notion that all actors are tiny so that they can be on screen with their other small costars.
He was smoking a cigarette a few yards from the movie poster for “No Strings Attached” with his picture in it. It requires a double take at the poster just to make sure that it’s him.
It was about an hour before the press conference for his new movie, so he turns and heads away from the room he’s in, to go back into the lobby at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverley Hills.
When the conference starts, the writer of the movie, Elizabeth Meriwether, is the first to sit down at the table followed by Natalie Portman, then Kutcher. The last person to join the table is comedy legend and director Ivan Reitman.
When you are surrounded by professional journalists, you hope that someone will ask a deep, philosophical question that will cover what people want to read about this current film.
That doesn’t happen. The questions range from “why was there no nudity” to “how does Portman feel about her Oscar nomination.” Anyone could have asked these questions.
The most obvious question — that’s actually rooted in the movie “No Strings Attached” — is if friendship can survive casual sex.
“I wouldn’t know. I haven’t been fortunate to try one of those relationships out,” is Kutcher’s first response.
He then quickly launches into a more meaningful answer with, “I really think whoever you’re with needs to be your friend… I don’t know that sex always has to have feelings, but I think that friendship always has to, so I don’t know if it’s possible (for friendship to survive sex.)”
He then was asked about the fun of being on the set, with the usual teasing and joking.
“It was mostly height jokes,” Kutcher said “She looks like my child when we stand next to each other.”
The conference takes a sober turn when the stars are asked about the prevalence of sex in their movie and how it might affect teens.
The question is directed at Portman with the hopes that her pregnancy will bring new insight into the issue.
“Well, I’m not a teen – is the first thing I’ll say. I’m a grownup,” Portman said. “Obviously it is prevalent in the country, and I think that is part of what this movie addresses.
“We have so much sex in our media that it is disassociated from emotions. These people (in the movie) really do belong together.”
Kutcher stayed politically correct, but applauded the film’s educational value.
“I didn’t want to veer off on a weird human trafficking direction, but one of the interesting things, especially for women, is the sex education process in schools,” Kutcher said.
This question paved the way to talk about filming the first of several sex scenes that involved Portman and Kutcher.
“I didn’t want to do anything too romantic,” Reitman said. “This is a movie that really starts with these characters having sex and then seeing what that relationship is going to evolve into.”
The progression of the interviews, of course, turned to the success of Portman’s recent movie, “Black Swan,” and her journey through Academy Award season.
“It’s a big honor to have people excited about a movie that you make. It’s the one thing that you want.” Portman said.
This shifted the mood of the conference, but then it went back to questions about filming the sex scenes.
“I just want to start by apologizing,” Kutcher said. “I’m not sure what other actors do, but when in doubt, use Sir Laurence Olivier. I think he said something to the effect, I apologize if I do get aroused and I apologize if I don’t.”
Then a reporter asked why they didn’t go for a nude scene.
“This is not about how much nakedness or sex there is in the film,” Reitman said. “If people want to see pure sex they have the Internet and extraordinary things are available.
“This is meant to be an honest comedy about sexuality.”