Ashton Kutcher's New Media Thing

In Exclusive Nightline Interview, Actor Talks About Death of Ex, Family Plans, Gun at Home

They are the elite of the elite. Power brokers, mega-watt celebs. All in New York City for Time magazine's annual Time 100 bash, celebrating their picks for the 100 most influential people on the planet.

There's Sarah Palin. There's Martha Stewart. There's Elton John. And there's ... Ashton Kutcher?

You heard right.

Ashton Kutcher: Opening Up
Ashton Kutcher: Opening Up

He's not here because of his famous wife, Demi Moore. Or because of his acting resume (his most famous film?: "Dude, Where's My Car?").

Kutcher is here because he has turned himself into perhaps one of the most powerful people in social media.

Watch the full story Thursday on "Nightline" at 11:35 p.m. ET

Ashton Kutcher: The New Mogul
Ashton Kutcher: The New Mogul

He has almost 5 million followers on Twitter and 3.5 million fans on Facebook.

He's a major investor in hot Internet properties, and he's the owner of a successful multiplatform media company called Katalyst.

On the day the Time 100 was announced, "Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden caught up with Kutcher at the Katalyst office in Los Angeles.

Ashton Kutcher's Two Worlds

McFadden asked Kutcher how it felt to be on the Time 100 list.

VIDEO: Actor talks about using social media to keep hold of everyday self.
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"I don't think it matters, it doesn't make a difference," Kutcher said. "Not that I'm not appreciative. It's one of those lists that former presidents, and network execs, and Madonna and Oprah are on -- I don't see myself operating in that."

Actually, Kutcher is operating in two seemingly divergent worlds. Supercool lunching in Hollywood with reality show guru Mark Burnett and posing for magazine covers on one hand, constantly indulging his inner geek on the other.

McFadden asked whether he got more satisfaction out of the acting or entrepreneurial sides of his life.

"I think I probably think about myself as an actor, which is the way most people do," Kutcher said. "I think I'm good, I don't think I'm great," said Kutcher. "I think I would hire somebody else to play me in the movie about me."

VIDEO: Actor leads "Nightline" anchor through low-impact trailside workout routine.
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Kutcher on Twin Brother's Health Crisis

The movie of Ashton Kutcher begins in the humble cornfields of Iowa. He took his first job to pay for his studies in bio-chemical engineering at the University of Iowa. The job was as a cereal-dust sweeper at the General Mills plan in his native Cedar Rapids.

He describes himself back then as "a kid trying not to be a problem." The reason was that his brother was so sick.

Kutcher's twin brother, Michael, was born with cerebral palsy and a heart defect. When they were 13, Michael needed a heart transplant.

"It seems unfair, like it doesn't seem right," said Kutcher. "... It seems like the game is set up differently for certain people -- and it is."

McFadden asked whether he had felt guilty about his brother's illness.

"Yeah, I felt sorry for a long time," Kutcher said. "But then my brother pointed out to me, every time you feel sorry for me, you make me less. And that hit home to me, that made me understand that this game is set up.

"Because he only knows that way, and so for me to feel sorry for him, I'm making him less, when in truth he's so much more, he's overcome obstacles that I will never have to face. So I have to have gratitude for and appreciation for what I have, and the fact that I haven't had to face those obstacles."

Michael Kutcher got the transplant, and today lives and works in Iowa.

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