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Valentine's Day - Ashton Kutcher and Topher Grace interview

Valentine's Day

Interview by Rob Carnevale

TOGETHER again after That ’70s Show, Ashton Kutcher and Topher Grace talk about love, marriage and Garry [Pretty Woman] Marshall’s starry ensemble Valentine’s Day during a press conference held at London’s Dorchester Hotel. Here’s some of what they had to say…

Q. What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done?
Ashton Kutcher: I think romance is something that you don’t clock or keep track of… you don’t manage it in that way. It’s something that happens in a moment. Usually, it’s in a period of time when you put yourself in an uncomfortable position for the sake of somebody else. If you truly did that, and were truly just caring about the other person, you may not even remember.

Topher Grace: I remember one time, and this is in my former life when I was working as a businessman, I found this hooker and I was like this really lonely guy. We spent this weekend together and she really changed my life. I gave her a jewellery box, and I clapped it down on her fingers and she was laughing… she had one of those crazy laughs. But then I found out there was a real person there too. She changed me, I changed her. At the end… it was crazy [laughs]. I drove up to her in this limousine… it was like a fairytale. There was even a guy who worked in a hotel too…

Q. Do you have any advice for men using Twitter about being discreet and sending messages to other girls?
Ashton Kutcher: Boy, I don’t know. I don’t think people are currently using Twitter for what it was originally intended for. So, I think it’s kind of re-defined every day. Do I have any advice? Don’t put any naked pictures up there of yourself… it’s just weird. It’s not a porno environment so let’s keep it clean for the kids. There are certain things that don’t need to be said in public and certain things that do, so use good discretion and that’s all I can say. I don’t think Twitter is really a place to pick somebody up.

Q. What did Demi [Moore] say about you posting the photo of her ironing in her bikini on Twitter?
Ashton Kutcher: Well, she was ironing and she happened to have a bikini on. I have to get picture approval for anything I post. And I think it was that moment that created the picture approval!

Q. Do you pay much heed to Valentine’s Day yourself? And would your partner’s throttle you if you forgot? And what are your plans for this Valentine’s Day?
Topher Grace: Valentine’s Day causes me a lot of stress. I’ve been in the same position that my character is in, in my mid-20s where you’re dating someone for a week or two weeks and then this day rolls around when you have to declare how you feel and show your hand in some way. I’ve been talking about this… there was this one time I just left town. It was a great Valentine’s Day.

Ashton Kutcher: Yep, don’t forget Valentine’s Day… that’s not a good thing to do. That’s a bad move. If you’re single, it’s great because it’s like a free hall pass day when you get to do whatever you want. Me, not so much. Yeah… this is a day to definitely remember. I think the great thing is that you sort of have all those feelings and all that love inside of yourself, and a lot of times we think that we say the things that we’re feeling but generally we don’t. They’re just in us, so to have a day to commemorate it and manifest all that love that you have inside of you… I looked at it as a great opportunity. Once you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you sometimes need something to restart the circuitry again. You have to go out of your way to give in a way that you don’t usually to sort of re-ignite that giving cycle that takes place.

Q. And this Valentine?
Ashton Kutcher: Well, in addition to promoting this film we sort of knew that we’d be travelling, so my wife and I decided that the best way we could share our love with one another was to share it with other people. So, we set up a foundation called The D&A Foundation to help trafficking victims. There’s a group in New York called GEM’s Girls… they help these girls get off the street and get their lives back going again. So, we’re making the girls from that foundation our valentine’s this year and we’re going to do something special for them, so they know they can be loved without someone asking for anything in return.

Q. Is there a website where people can look this up?
Ashton Kutcher: Yeah, our foundation is the demiandashtonfoundation.org, or it’s on Facebook.

Q. Why do you think people love watching love stories?
Ashton Kutcher: I think love is one of the most elusive things in the world. I don’t know that there’s a perfect formula for it and that’s what makes the stories interesting, because even though we all have an idea of where it’s heading in the end, it’s how are we going to get there that makes it interesting. When I read this script, I saw a line that my character has, which is: “Love is the only shocking act left on the planet.” When I saw that, I really connected with the material because I think when we look around the world it’s very easy to imagine hate. It’s very easy to imagine greed and destruction. The media makes it even easier to imagine that because the media loves to report on conflict. So, the images that we see daily make it easy to believe that the world could be destroyed in the push of a button.

I was looking on Facebook and there’s a page – Facebook.com/peace – and it’s a real-time poll that’s polling people on whether or not they believe that world peace can exist. It breaks it down country by country and I think Hungary is the highest – I think 30% of the people from Hungary believe that world peace could exist. America is one of the lowest. So, anytime that you can make a piece of art that you can put into the world that can hopefully inspire people to believe that it can exist, even if it’s just for a moment, maybe we can break that 50% threshold and turn something over in the world that makes people believe that it’s out there for them – that love is out there for them and that there is somebody else in the world that can matter to them as much as themselves.

Topher Grace: I also love films where I get to make out with girls that are better looking than me [laughs]. So, that’s also a plus as well as world peace.

Q. Are there any great screen moments that you think are great?
Ashton Kutcher: One of my favourite stories is The Philadelphia Story. For me, I watch that movie and it’s the sort of the epitome… the perfect suspension of disbelief. These stories, when they’re told well, there’s a moment when you really don’t believe that they’re going to be able to be together and the trick is turning that corner in a way that you didn’t expect it. For me, that story does it. I always return to that.

Topher Grace: I’m a Roman Holiday fan and this may seem loaded because of who’s in Valentine’s Day, but I really like My Best Friend’s Wedding. I love movies that dare to have not a perfect ending, like Roman Holiday.

Q. How has marriage changed your life?
Ashton Kutcher: Drastically! You no longer have a bachelor pad. Let’s see… I think the biggest thing, I was fully convinced that I’d never get married. I could never see the point or see why somebody would want to put themselves through that… and that was based on watching my parents be married – they weren’t very good at it. I was at a wedding and I heard the rabbi doing it say that when you get married, when you actually fully connect your soul to this other person, you become one. He explained it through a story and talked about… you’re standing at a stove and you burn your finger on the stove. But you don’t yell at your finger for getting burned because the finger is part of you… you’re one. In marriage, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that when you’re partner does something that hurts, or that hurts them, it’s really hurting you both. So, you really become responsible for that other person, for the feelings of that other person, for the pain of that other person. Having someone to share not only the joy of life, but the pain of life… that’s been sort of the biggest lesson of marriage. I can never get angry or upset with my partner because they’re just a part of me.

Topher Grace: Don’t make me do this, don’t make me do this. I can’t remember our press junkets being this enlightened when we did That ’70s Show [laughs].

Ashton Kutcher: I’ve grown!

Read our review of Valentine’s Day

Read our interview with director Garry Marshall