In the MTV Newsroom, we tend to think of Ashton Kutcher as one our own. Maybe it’s because he launched “Punk’d” on MTV back in 2003. Or maybe because reruns of “That ’70s Show” still air daily on the channel. Whatever the case, we were happy to learn Kutcher will be returning to the small screen for a role on “Two and a Half Men” — airing on CBS, like MTV, a Viacom-owned property — replacing Charlie Sheen after that actor’s epic flameout.
Kutcher’s move back to TV marks yet another unpredictable choice in a career defined by them. Back in 2003, for example, he was almost cast as Superman in director Brett Ratner’s big-screen adaptation of the superhero story. As Kutcher would tell us years later with a laugh, “It did not feel right. I hadn’t worked out or done anything right. … I was like a rail with fake muscles. It looked funny.”
Other movie projects worked out better. “Dude, Where’s My Car?” performed modestly at the box office but became something of a cult hit on home video and cable. In 2003, Kutcher starred in “My Boss’ Daughter” opposite Tara Reid and in “Just Married” with Brittany Murphy, with whom he eventually struck up a relationship. “I learn something from that girl every day,” he told us at the time. “She makes me smile every day. She shows me something about my job every day. She’s the best, man. I’ll do anything with her, any movie, hands down.”
That same year, Cameron Crowe cast Kutcher in “Elizabethtown,” his highly anticipated follow-up to “Almost Famous” and “Vanilla Sky.” Crowe, however, eventually recast the part and hired Orlando Bloom. No matter, as Kutcher’s time-travel drama, “The Butterfly Effect,” topped the box office early in January. And he stepped into voice acting for the animated tale “Open Season,” another #1 hit at the box office .
By that point, Kutcher had already tied the knot with Demi Moore. But married life didn’t change the goofy essence of who he is, as we found out during a 2008 press day for “What Happens in Vegas …” “When you’re in bed, and you’re married to someone, don’t fart under the covers and trap her under the covers, because she gets pissed,” he cracked.
In 2010, Kutcher went on to star in the ensemble romantic comedy “Valentine’s Day” — another #1 hit and another opportunity to expand on his relationship philosophy. “I really, really do believe the only way you’re really going to catch somebody off-guard on Valentine’s Day is when they’re waking up,” he explained. “By waiting till the end of the day, now you have to compete with what everyone else has done throughout the day.”
That’s some good advice … as was the knowledge he kicked to us days before the 2010 MTV Movie Awards. “How does Robert Pattinson not win every award ever invented?” Kutcher asked us, adding, “Like, I almost got up onstage this year at the Grammys when he didn’t win and almost kicked Taylor Swift off. Because I’m like, ‘What’s up? Robert Pattinson should have won this.’ ”
More rom-coms followed, first alongside Katherine Heigl in 2010′s “Killers,” and then opposite Natalie Portman in “No Strings Attached,” which opened at #1 earlier this year. Before the “Two and a Half Men” news broke, Kutcher had already lined up a number of new film projects, including the ensemble comedy “New Year’s Eve” to a potential collaboration with Justin Bieber called “What Would Kenny Do?”
Through it all, though, Kutcher has never forgotten his MTV roots. As we found out, the guy is a huge fan of “Jersey Shore.” “I was on the ‘Jersey Shore’ bandwagon really early,” Kutcher revealed in January. “A good friend of mine started showing me all these pictures of all these guidos online, and then she was like, ‘Oh my God, you have to see this show,’ and so I started watching. I’m a huge fan of the show. I haven’t missed an episode.”
What are your favorite Ashton Kutcher career highlights? Tell us in the comments.