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Dude, Where’s My Motivation?

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Ashton Kutcher, star of Just Married


Ashton Kutcher a dramatic actor? It's like that lovable Robin Williams playing a deranged psychopath or that dorky English guy from Remington Steele playing James Bond.

Stranger things (obviously) have happened, so you'd better believe it. In Australia promoting his latest movie, the teen-meets-romantic comedy Just Married, Kutcher is pretty excited The Butterfly Effect, the forthcoming sci-fi/psychological drama in which he stars.

Sounding every bit the young American dude from his comic hits (but with a surprising verbosity that betrays a head screwed on straight), Kutcher spins out the premise.

"It's about a guy with dissociation disorder who blacks out the traumatic moments of his childhood and then as an adult learns how to tap into himself as a child, recall the memories and change his past, thus changing his present reality," Kutcher explains.

Obviously used to splutters as interviewers try to keep up, he continues. "He does all this to try to circumvent the death of a loved one and he ends up doing it all wrong because every time he changes something, something else happens."

The Butterfly Effect has already wrapped and the producers intend to premiere it at this year's Cannes Film Festival. After that, the sky's the limit. Or at least, availability is the limit, but there seems no such limit on Kutcher's aspirations. Asked what his plans are, he rattles off a list of projects that make his seem a player strangely at odds with his on-screen persona.

"Well, I'm still doing a television show," he says, "and I'm producing another television show. Then I have two movies I'm producing that are in development right now, and a couple of other things that I'm interested in. It's really tricky how things come together and it's a really special thing when they do. A lot of it's finding the right film makers and the right actors and there's a lot of jockeying before something actually gets made."

And, like so many of his contemporaries, has Kutcher got one eye on the director's chair? "Sure, down the line I'd like to but I'd never do that before I could perform the job of every single person on the set. The best bosses I've ever had could basically do every single job there is in the company better or as good as the person who does it. And I think that's a really good quality, to lead by example and be able to do everything."

But it's all to do with control and timing. Asked if he's conscious of wanting to branch into different genres (or forge himself solidly as a comic or dramatic actor), Kutcher feels the road to stardom is a case by case basis.

"You have to find roles or characters or stories that speak to you, which you understand and believe in – that's when you find the roles that work for you."

And with worldwide recognition set to skyrocket after Just Married, Kutcher certainly seems to have found roles that work for him.

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