It's fair to say that 26-year-old actor Ashton Kutcher is better known for his off-screen romances than on-screen work. He rebounded from a romance with his Just Married co-star Brittany Murphy to become Demi Moore's "significant other". If you don't read the tabloids or supermarket mags, however, you may recognise him from US sitcom That '70s Show and MTV's Punk'd - a Beadle's About for the Hollywood set. His film work includes teen comedy Dude, Where's My Car?, family flick Cheaper By The Dozen, and time-travelling thriller The Butterfly Effect.
Was making The Butterfly Effect a deliberate choice to get away from your comedy image?
No. It was a deliberate choice to do something new. I always want to keep doing different things and stuff I haven't done before. It was a deliberate decision to challenge myself. Honestly, it was a movie that was a dramatic movie. I appreciated the character. I appreciated the metaphor of the story. I appreciated the message of the movie.
Can you identify with your character, Evan Treborn?
In certain respects, yes. I think in the aspect of being a person who has a great deal to overcome and a great amount of love to give. I really think love is the common denominator. In society we choose to black out the traumatic things that happen in this world, whether it be child molestation or something else as horrific. There is a brothel halfway across the world in a country where they are prostituting out five-year-old girls. Do we want to face that as a society? Do we want to acknowledge that that exists? No we don't.
The film is also about making changes in your past life to improve your present one. Would you change something in your past to alter the present?
I think I do on a daily basis. I think these are the obstacles that are in our way that we are to overcome as people. That's really what we are here for, to overcome our obstacles. I have relationships in the past in my life that have fallen apart. It is my job to mend those relationships. And that is changing the past.
Are you surprised how much focus has been paid to your relationship with Demi Moore?
I am surprised we are doing an interview for The Butterfly Effect and we are talking about this. Yes. Why? Why do people want to see it? I don't know. I think if people would focus more on their lives and the problems we were talking about earlier, maybe we'd be living in a better place.
How detrimental is this other media spotlight focusing on your private life?
I don't think it's detrimental. My work will speak for itself, I think. Before I ever met Demi I managed to figure out how to be on a sitcom for five years. I managed to figure out how to produce and make my own television show. I managed to make a couple of films that did extremely well. I was on Saturday Night Live. I was on the cover of Rolling Stone. So I managed to have a pretty good career before I met my current significant other, and I think I'll manage to have a pretty good one after.
How has this crazy journey you've been on changed you?
How long do we have to talk? I guess I started to believe in myself a little bit more. If I really wanted something, I could have it, anything was possible. I grew up a lot and I've been realising the responsibility that I have as a person, and that I can make a difference with my actions. And that my problems are pretty petty compared to the problems of the world, and that just by being aware of the chaos that exists, I can actually make a difference and do something really good with all of this as opposed to making it all about me and doing it for myself.