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Ashton Kutcher and Ivan Reitman talk NO STRINGS ATTACHED

by Katie McCabe

Ashton Kutcher and Ivan Reitman (director of GHOSTBUSTERS) recently hit the UK to promote the release of NO STRINGS ATTACHED a modern fable about friends with benefits. Natalie Portman plays the thoroughly witty Emma, a doctor with no window for relationships but a healthy need for sex. She and her new acquaintence Adam (Kutcher) agree to indulge in carefree trysts without the baggage of a real relationship. Reitman is better known for his legendary forays into science fiction than his whimsy-full comedies and so NO STRINGS is a fairly wide departure from his usual style. During the press conference, both Reitman and Kutcher explored the significance of monogamy in 2011 and how NO STRINGS is moving with the times. But all the tongue wagging journalists wanted to know was, how did Kutcher feel about baring a full on shot of his ass in HD?

On stripping off:

I like having it out-I don’t mind being naked we all come into the world this way, there is very little you can do about it. I actually stopped working out for this movie. I literally had a conversation with Ivan before, this guys a production assistant and aspiring writer, I know a lot of these guys and none of them are particularily fit. I didn’t think it was necessary character to…..apparently I didn’t let myself go enough because its all anybody seems to want to talk about. That and my derriere.”

I’ve seen the movie, and let me assure you, there isn’t a bum-dimple in sight. ‘Not working out’ must mean one less glute-crunch a day.

With the romance genre wearing thin in the last few years, it’s not surprising that Reitman wanted to make something with a little more honesty. He explained how WHEN HARRY MET SALLY inspired the concept of NO STRINGS ATTACHED.

On swapping Sci-Fi for a romantic comedy:

Tom Pollock (producer-Up in the Air) and I were talking about When harry met sally and the quaint idea of that movie 30 years ago was it possible for a man and woman just to be friends, seemed like such an outdated idea today. It seemed the contemporary idea around the issue is whether it would be possible or a man and woman to have a sexual relationship without any kind of romance whatsoever. And em, I pitched that idea to Liz (script writer Liz Merrywether) and she really took to it, turned out a first draft that was remarkably funny… I didnt want this to feel like a dirty Doris Day movie from the 1950s

In a matter of minutes the conversation had turned to Kutcher’s co-star Natalie Portman, who couldn’t travel for the press conference as she’s baking up a baby bun:

Kutcher on chemistry with Natalie:

I genuinely find that you can have good chemistry with people you can argue well with…. Natalie and i both really appreciate being right. I think that makes for good chemistry but I think Natalie could have chemistry with this cup if she wanted to. She’s probably one of the best actresses of my generation, well I believe she is.”

Reitman on reeling in Portman for the role:

We showed her the script, she loved how bawdy it was. She had done this very funny song on Saturday Night Live where the most filthy things come out of her mouth and it’s really funny. I think she, because we know her as such is intelligent and serious dramatic person in real life as well, I think the juxtaposition of that creates great humour and I think she wanted her audience to see this other side of her, a truthful side of her that she has a great sense of humour, she has the greatest deep body laugh you have ever heard.”

One of the film’s highlights is an all-too-brief performance from the phlegmatic Kevin Kline, who plays Kutchers famous, philandering dad. But, according to Reitman, securing him for the role of Alvin wasn’t as easy as sending a script:

Reitman on getting Kevin De-cline:

He is generally known as Kevin De-cline in America and he is very choosy about the films that he chooses. He loves the idea of being an actor actually in real life..he loves the trapping of it… he has so many fastballs and screwballs and this sort of arsenal of actor weapons. I just called him up and said ‘you have to do this!’ and of course he DE-clined the part it was to small only five days of shooting and not enough scenes..I finally sent him a sort of impassioned personal letter and said you just have to do he, he called back and said OK

You could never promote a movie like NO STRINGS without getting into a discussion about love in the grand scheme of life. The dust has long settled on Kutcher’s sensationalised marriage to Demi Moore (15 years his senior) but the atypical union makes his insights all the more intriguing. When asked how he thought social media can affect modern relationships, Kutcher gave a surprisingly elegiac response:

On love in the time of twitter:

Before the first date, you go on facebook and you know who their friends are, you know all friends are in common, what they do for a living what they ate yesterday and what they did for christmas. All that info makes us feel very familiar with people who we may not know at all….1:1 vulnrability is slowly disappearing. The no.1 fear in the world is to speak in public, right?….We fear of stumbling, public humiliation is what we really fear. And so, were fearing rejection-a face to face rejection. We say things and do things in a text or an email that we would never do face to face, so relationships are coming together faster…They are breaking apart faster, they are a little bit more disposable. At the same time it create great opportunity, I think a handwritten letter to someone probably means more today than it’s meant in quite some time. There are opportunities for romance that have been created. Connecting to people 1:1, having a connection viscerally is really important.”

NO STRINGS ATTACHED is in cinema’s now, to see what THN had to say, read our review here.

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