Ashton Kutcher plays Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs in the upcoming biopic, Jobs, but the 35-year-old actor missed the chance to meet the tech legend before he passed away in October 2011. (Jobs died at age 56 of respiratory arrest related to a pancreas neuroendocrine tumor.)
Promoting his latest film on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno July 24, Kutcher said he regrets never meeting the man responsible for revolutionizing the computer industry. "I had an opportunity to meet him about six months before he passed away and I was working that day and couldn't go. In hindsight, I look back and think, 'I had an opportunity to meet the Leonardo da Vinci of our generation' and I missed it," Kutcher said. "That really affected my decision to take on the role."
Kutcher continued, "The day that he died, for me it was almost like, I hear people talking about they knew where they were the day Kennedy died. For me, I'll never forget the moment I heard he died. I pulled my car to the side of the road and kind of took a moment."
When the Iowa-born actor and tech entrepreneur got home, he recalled, "I realized that all the relationships I have in my life are held together by glue that he laid down. All the work that I do, in whatever capacity I do it, and the entertainment that I consume -- here I have my Apple computer and my iPhone and all these things -- and I realize that I'd taken him for granted and taken for granted the contribution that he gave to society. I actually had a real emotional moment that day."
Because of Jobs' immense impact on the world, Kutcher felt an added pressure to portray such an iconic person. "When I got the script, I felt like I wanted to ensure that his legacy was told from somebody who admired him," said the star, who's still going strong with girlfriend Mila Kunis.
Jobs, costarring Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak, is in theaters Friday, Aug. 16.