Actors sometimes do some crazy things to prepare for their roles on the big screen. Some so thoroughly inhabit their characters, they can't (or won't) shut them off even off-camera, like Daniel Day-Lewis. Others pork up or whittle way, way down, like Bridget Jones's Diary's Renée Zellweger or The Machinist's Christian Bale. Word has it, the latter even subsisted on just coffee and a single apple each day, to take on the skeletal physique that shocked viewers.
And now it seems Ashton Kutcher has joined these ranks too, though he may have regretted it: The actor revealed that, for his role in the movie JOBS, he took on Steve Jobs' fruitarian diet — and wound up in the hospital because of it.
He tipped about the incident at the film's Sundance premiere on Friday. Kutcher said the regimen — which consisted of only fruits, nuts and seeds — wound up causing pancreatic problems. "First of all, the fruitarian diet can lead to, like, severe issues," Kutcher explained to USA Today. "I went to the hospital like two days before we started shooting the movie. I was like doubled over in pain. My pancreas levels were completely out of whack. It was really terrifying … considering everything."
This is a factoid that could easily be left to the annals of stupid trivia, if not for the fact that Jobs had died of pancreatic cancer. Of course, no one can say if there was some sort of link, but if nothing else, it's a pretty stunning coincidence.
Well, at least the ordeal was in the service of art. Er…maybe not. While we haven't seen it ourselves, early reviews of the film have been mixed. Some say it's rather "TV movie-ish" and that Kutcher is okay, but pretty bland and clearly having difficulty conjuring and capturing the genius and vision of the late tech founder. (Maybe it's all those fruits and nuts.) Others, however, weren't so harsh, and even praised the star's performance. Here are a few impressions from around the webs:
Variety: The film "more or less embodies the sort of bland, go-with-the-flow creative thinking Jobs himself would have scorned."
Hollywood Reporter: "Joshua Michael Stern's biopic of Steve Jobs is a passably entertaining account of the career of one of the 20th century's great innovators that doesn't break any stylistic ground…. [Kutcher] manages a fair imitation…"
Telegraph: "It's a heroic story, but Matthew Whiteley's episodic, superficial script makes an almighty mess of it…. The poverty of [Kutcher's] skills as a serious actor is on full display."
CNET: "The viewer spends two hours watching cardboard cutouts lose arguments to Ashton Kutcher."
Indiewire: True to its name, Indiewire bucked the Kutcher-panning trend and applauded the actor's "committed performance, certainly his most impressive turn in years, which conveys the character's focused, manipulative intentions in each calculated look."
Adobe co-founder John Warnock, who knew Steve Jobs for 30 years, via Salon.com: "Ashton Kutcher nailed the portrayal of Steve Jobs in the new film 'Jobs.' "
If this one doesn't suit, at least there's a spare. Aaron Sorkin's version, based on Walter Isaacson's biography, is another hotly anticipated Steve Jobs film. Fingers crossed that the cast keeps a well-balanced diet.
Kutcher's JOBS is set to release on April 19.