SAN FRANCISCO—Hollywood actors Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad went before the Apple faithful on Thursday, sharing the terror and elation of portraying on screen the “two Steves” long revered by the cult of the Mac.
The actors were at the Macworld Expo discussing the biopic “jOBS,” set for release in theaters in April and which recently was screened at the Sundance Film Festival.
Kutcher — an Internet technology entrepreneur and investor — plays the late Steve Jobs in the film, while Gad took on the role of Steve Wozniak.
They faced perhaps their toughest audience in San Francisco during an on-stage chat at Macworld, billed locally as the largest gathering of “iFans” in the world.
“I wanted this story told in a way that honors my hero,” Kutcher said of his decision to play Jobs.
“I had never played someone who had lived before and was somewhat terrified by the notion,” he said.
Steve Jobs’ legacy is so great that theatergoers are likely to have their own memories that they’ll use measure the actors in film, Kutcher reasoned.
“It’s not like you are playing (Abraham) Lincoln,” Kutcher said. “We don’t have a lot of video of Lincoln, but we have a lot of video of Steve.
“And we have a lot of daily reminders of him at our fingertips,” he continued in a reference to iPod, iPhone, iPad gadgets introduced by Jobs prior to his death in late 2011.
“Playing that guy who everyone has a memory of is really scary.”
Gad admitted knowing little about the legend of Jobs and Steve Wozniak prior to being asked to play the man who was the engineering wizard in the duo whose accomplishments changed the way people live.
“I was as computer illiterate as Steve Wozniak was computer literate,” Gad joked, saying he took computer programming classes to prepare for the role so he would know what his character was talking about.
“Acting, by its very nature, is faking,” he continued. “You don’t really become that person unless you are psychotic.”
In news reports this week, Wozniak trashed the film based on what he has seen of promotional clips and the script.
“I hope that when he sees the movie in its entirety he will understand we went to great lengths to capture the essence of his journey,” Gad said when asked about the Apple co-founder’s comments in the press.
“I’m sorry I didn’t know what your exact wardrobe was that particular week. I do know that going after the heart of what was Steve Wozniak was an intensive journey for me,” he continued in a message aimed at Wozniak.
“It was done with the utmost love and respect.”