HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- Actor Ashton Kutcher, who got his break on "That '70s Show," will go back to the 1970s to play tech visionary Steve Jobs in an indie film about Jobs' early life and the founding of Apple.
Production on the film, "Jobs," is scheduled to begin in May while Kutcher is on hiatus from his hit CBS series "Two and a Half Men," reports Variety, the film-industry trade publication. It will be directed by Joshua Michael Stern ("Swing Vote") and "will chronicle Steve Jobs from wayward hippie to co-founder of Apple," according to Variety.
The timing of the story, which was published Sunday on Variety's website, combined with Kutcher's well-known love of pranks, led some to dismiss it as an April Fools' joke. But CNN confirmed Monday through a representative for Kutcher that the actor has signed on for the role.
Jeff Sneider, the reporter who wrote the Variety article, said on Twitter on Sunday that the movie will follow Jobs from when he and Steve Wozniak founded Apple in 1976 to when Jobs returned to the company in the late 1990s after being forced out. It won't cover Jobs' later years, he said.
Jobs, who died in October after a struggle with cancer, dropped out of college and backpacked across India before launching the company that would make him one of the world's most acclaimed entrepreneurs.
Kutcher, 34, is one of the more tech-savvy actors in Hollywood. He was an early and enthusiastic user of Twitter, where he has 10 million followers, and has invested in several Silicon Valley startups.
Kutcher's movie will face competition from Sony Pictures, which is developing its own Jobs biopic based on the best-selling book by Walter Isaacson. A CNN.com report last fall speculated on which actor might play Jobs in that movie and threw out some names -- James McAvoy, Crispin Glover, Stanley Tucci, Noah Wyle -- but failed to mention Kutcher.