Kutcher praised for biopic

First look at Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs.

First look at Two and a Half Men actor Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs.

Ashton Kutcher’s performance as tech entrepreneur Steve Jobs has been hailed as both “remarkable” and “formidable” by the director of the Sundance Film Festival.

The keenly awaited biopic of the Apple co-founder, jOBS, has been given a premiere date, nabbing the prestigious spot as the film to close the festival in January.

“Ashton Kutcher’s performance I thought was quite remarkable,” festival director John Cooper told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a very formidable performance, and it seemed like he really tried to grasp all the nuances of who Steve Jobs was.”

Highly anticipated ... Ashton Kutcher, left, will play Steve Jobs in a biopic of the Apple co-founder.

Uncanny resemblance … Ashton Kutcher, left, and Apple founder Steve Jobs.

Kutcher was once most famous as Demi Moore’s much younger boyfriend and for being the host of TV show Punk’d. These days he is better known as the actor who replaced TV bad boy Charlie Sheen on the popular sitcom Two and a Half Men. He is not, one would imagine, the actor who would be top of mind to play the late technology guru (despite having more than 13 million followers on Twitter).

In fact, when the news broke earlier this year that Kutcher was cast as Jobs, Variety journalist Jeff Sneider feared readers wouldn’t believe it. This is despite the fact that Kutcher and Jobs do bear an uncanny resemblance, something the film’s marketers have taken full advantage of – the first image of Kutcher in the role was released on Wednesday and is a direct replica of an image of a younger Steve Jobs.

Until this week information of the film had been thin on the ground. Directed by Joshua Michael Stern the biopic was reportedly made for as little as $US5 million. But what the independent film lacks in budget it seems to make up for in scope, ambitiously covering a 30-year span of Jobs’s life and promoted as a “candid, inspiring and personal portrait of the one who saw things differently”.

Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs.

Kutcher as Jobs.

In true Hollywood style, where one is never enough, there is another biopic on Jobs in the works, this one by Sony Pictures and based on the biography Steve Jobs.

The film is being written by Aaron Sorkin (Moneyball, The West Wing) who, aside from being a self-confessed luddite, has previous form in bringing a tech entrepreneur’s tale to the silver screen. Sorkin won an Oscar for the Facebook flick The Social Network, which starred Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg.

When the Sony project was announced earlier in the year Sorkin said he was initially hesitant about taking on the movie, saying writing about Jobs was like writing about the Beatles. ‘‘There are so many people out there that know him and revere him; I saw a minefield of disappointment.’’

Last month he revealed how he plans to tackle the lifespan of Jobs, saying he didn’t want to make a cradle-to-grave film and instead imagines it as comprising only three scenes, each revolving around a key product launch.

As for who will play Jobs in this version, Sorkin said intelligence will be top of mind. ‘‘I don’t know who the actor will be, but they are going to have to be smart. There are a lot of things actors can fake. Intelligence is something you cannot fake,’’ he told ABCnews.

jOBS starring Kutcher will premiere at Sundance on January 27. 

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