Eddie Hassell, meanwhile, is excellent as the 16-year-old Chris Espinosa, one of Jobs’ neighbors who was recruited to build circuit boards in Jobs’ garage early on and later went on to work at Apple.
A Texas native, the 23-year-old Hassell moved to L.A. at age 11 to begin his acting career, landing roles in Aaron Sorkin’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Joan of Arcadia, Southland, and four-time Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner The Kids Are All Right. The actor, currently recurring on Lifetime’s Devious Maids, talks about Jobs, the time he punched Josh Hutcherson, and doing his own stunts, below.
Photography by Marc Cartwright
What was it like working with Ashton Kutcher?
Really cool. When I was a kid growing up, I watched him on That ’70s Show and Dude, Where’s My Car? A lot of kids in my generation see him as an icon, so I was excited going in. I expected a super-happy-go-lucky, goofy guy, but he’s very professional and business-oriented. He stays in character the whole time, between takes. But he’d also do things to keep everyone loose, like cracking jokes or hooking up his iPod to loudspeakers and blasting Fun.. I definitely learned things from him.
What did you learn from Ashton?
I asked him some technical questions, like how he stays so consistent. He actually broke it down, in-depth, and gave me some good pointers, things I’m actually using in projects now. That was really cool; he didn’t have to do that.
How did you feel about how Jobs treated Chris Espinosa?
I got where Jobs was coming from, saying that they’re not management-level, they’re replaceable, so they don’t deserve [founders' stock]. But at the same time, in the beginning these people were working long hours and not getting paid. When I met Chris, he said that he would sneak out of his house late at night to build circuit boards for Steve. He should have given them something. Chris wasn’t bitter about it; he still works for Apple.
What would be your dream roles?
Being in a Tim Burton film or a horror film, or a vampire. I’ve always been into Halloween.
How did your skateboarding skills help get you cast in ‘The Kids Are All Right’?
Skateboarding’s been a huge part of my life, it also got me cast in commercials. I was into horseback riding and rodeos in Texas and when I moved to L.A., I got into skating. I did all my own stunts. I’m into anything with a board: surfing, wakeboarding.
How was it working with Josh Hutcherson in that film?
The director kept telling me to stand closer, and I actually punched him, but he was cool about it. He was a nice kid. Definitely one of the most professional kids I’ve worked with. I was impressed.
What was racing school like for your upcoming movie, ‘Born to Race: Fast Track’?
Badass! They had souped-up Mercedes, 1500 horsepowers, ridiculous stuff. We did it for a week. They had us do timed laps as we were racing each other. I have a Mustang in real life that my dad and I are working on to turn into a race car.
What music are you into?
Metal. HIM, from Finland, and Erra. When I was a kid, I liked finding stuff that nobody else was into.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Hanging out with my family on the beach.
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