Kelso is cashing in on Charlie Sheen’s crazy. According to TV Guide, Ashton Kutcher is currently the highest paid sitcom actor at $700,000 an episode. He makes double what Laurence Fishburne did, $350,000 an episode, for his stint on CSI. Kutcher’s salary is still less than Charlie Sheen was pulling, $1.2 million an episode, but it certainly remains substantial. Leads on series usually make less than $150,000. It of course remains to be seen how well Two and Half Men will perform with Ashton at the helm, but he’s cheaper than Charlie at least.
Meanwhile Details has a glowing cover story on Ashton in which they portray him as some kind of tech guru. He seems overrated to me, and I still remember his failed attempt at entering the Internet gossip sphere, his short-lived series in which he tried to punk the celebrity press, and the fact that he hired a PR company that regularly spammed blogs with ads for it. He’s just an actor on Twitter and Facebook, but I have to give him some credit for being interested in technology and following it closely. Ashton also addresses the Twitter flame war he got in with the Village Voice when they called him out for using false numbers to discuss human trafficking. He handles it better than he did before, I’ll say that.
Details: The Village Voice just called you out for citing spurious statistics in your advocacy against child prostitution. You fired back on Twitter that their online adult classifieds constituted “a digital brothel,” then encouraged Disney, Domino’s, and American Airlines to pull their advertising. Is that what you’re talking about?
Ashton Kutcher: I think that was irresponsible journalism on their part, but I don’t want to speak about the company.
Details: Okay. Generally speaking, what is it about platforms like Twitter that allows individuals to take on institutions?
Ashton Kutcher: You can’t just say shit anymore, because people have the ability to speak up. At the same time, with the Village Voice thing, I definitely have to take responsibility for misrepresenting the data. It’s forcing transparency both ways.
Details: The line between online life and real life is getting blurrier. Is that a good thing?
Ashton Kutcher: I wouldn’t bifurcate the two. I wouldn’t say you have an online life and a real life. I think technology is just mapping and organizing what already exists. If you’re an asshole offline, you’re probably an asshole online.
Details: As a celebrity, you’re used to managing the boundary between your public and private selves. Is that something we all have to do now?
Ashton Kutcher: You have to learn to negotiate it, or you can choose not to participate. It’s almost like a manifestation of God. People used to behave morally because they thought God was always watching—in some ways God today is the collective, and the collective is watching.
Details: Sounds kind of creepy. Do you think privacy is overrated?
Ashton Kutcher: I think privacy is valuable. You don’t have to share everything, and it’s healthy to occasionally hit the pause button and ask yourself if you’re oversharing. But at the end of the day, if you’re not doing anything wrong you don’t have anything to hide.
Details: What do you think is coming that will blow our minds five or ten years from now?
Ashton Kutcher: I think the big next wave will be wearable technologies. Your phone will be your true PC, and these technologies will act as your mouse and keyboard. You’ll have a high-fashion bracelet that will perform functions for you—it’ll track your health, your movement, your sleep, your activity—and by wearing a couple of rings, you’ll be able to type in the air or take pictures with your fingers. There’ll be a device that will track your eye movement, whether it’s an earpiece with a camera or a necklace that can project and record. That Tom Cruise movie, Minority Report, got a lot of it right from what I’ve seen.
Details: What about old media? You’re returning to television soon, taking over for Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men. Who’s your character going to be?
Ashton Kutcher: It’s somewhere between an alien and Jesus Christ, but I can’t be more specific than that.
Details: Have you talked with Charlie about filling his old job?
Ashton Kutcher: I don’t know him. I’ve never met him in my life. But, you know, he sent me congratulations and wished me well. Via Twitter.
I think Ashton is off about wearable technology. His description of rings that allow you to type in the air sounds ridiculous, like it might be technically possible but I doubt that people will want to type in the air using some kind of ring. I agree that computers and smart phones will get smaller and more portable. In terms of the Minority Report comparison, remember those little spider camera things in that movie? We’re getting close to that with drone technology now, which is basically just sticking a smart phone on to a remote controlled devices.
That was really weird the way he claimed God was “the collective.” Ashton is a member of the Kabbalah cult, which is a paid-for distorted version of the Jewish mystic religion. That could be where he got that concept of God as everything and everyone. Is he saying that his moral behavior is partially due to the fact that he can so easily get busted as a celebrity? I’m probably giving him too much credit.
Ashton still seems dim to me and in no way worth $700k an episode, but it’s not like Charlie Sheen deserved over a million an episode either.
Oh in terms of that Details cover it looks ‘shopped into oblivion to me. There are no lines whatsoever on Ashton’s face. Kaiser thinks he looks hot without the beard though.