Hollywood heartthrob Ashton Kutcher took some time to speak with us about his latest film, the independent sex comedy Spread, which opens in limited release on August 14. The film tells the story about a young, good-looking man in L.A. who uses his sexual prowess and pretty-boy charm to become the boy-toy of independently wealthy women. However, his perfect little world starts to crumble when he falls in love with an attractive waitress doing the same thing.
One of the first questions I had for Ashton – coming at this as a fat guy from Ohio who was never a model – was whether this lifestyle was actually possible. “It’s not only possible. It exists for some people,” he told me point blank. “Do you think this lifestyle is possible for women? So women actually use their sex and their looks to gain some sort of financial lifestyle support. So if you believe it’s possible for women, it’s completely possible for men.”
When I pointed it out to Ashton that I could never pull it off and the lifestyle probably wouldn’t be for me, he quickly retorted that it wasn’t for him, either. “It requires a sense of moral ambiguity to get into this world,” he said but saw direct evidence of it when he was in his early 20s in the L.A. club scene. “There were guys out there looking for their sugar mama,” he said. But no fat guys from Ohio, I suppose.
We then moved on to my other favorite topic: nudity and sex, of which there is plenty in this film. Ashton was very gracious in fielding my multiple questions about getting nekked with Anne Heche and various young starlets.
“Day one, it was definitely uncomfortable,” he said, “walking out there, dropping trou and playing a scene and not thinking about the fact that you were naked because this guy was pretty confident being naked. After a while, your senses become immune to it.”
In regards to his somewhat explicit scenes with Heche, he pointed out they blocked everything out beforehand, as they did every shot of the film due to its limited schedule and budget. “It’s not like we’re standing around naked, figuring out what sort of position we’re going to be in. It’s a lot more clinical than you’d think, but there’s definitely an emotional aspect to it.”
And speaking of low budgets, Ashton chimed in on what it was like to go from the high budget studio pieces he’s known for to a small-budget indie film. “I loved it,” he said. If it weren’t for a film like that, an independent film, I probably wouldn’t be given a chance to play a character like this. I was really excited to have that.”
To help him get into the character, Ashton explained his choice to have the character of Nicky always wear suspenders. In his research on pick-up artists, he learned that many of them use a specific clothing or style choice to stand out in the crowd. So, he found a new style of suspenders that he thought might be popular a year from shooting the film. Also, he added, “I thought the metaphor for something that kept his pants on could be an interesting tie to this character.”
When boiled down to its most basic form, Ashton sees the film as a morality tale. “The lifestyle choices will never leave you feeling fulfilled or happy,” he said. “If you’re chasing lifestyle, you’ll find a certain level of emptiness. But if you’re chasing love, you’ll have a chance.”
Spread is currently in limited release and will be expanding around the country in various cities over the coming weeks.