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tv   Nightline  ABC  May 13, 2010 11:35pm-12:05am EDT

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tonight on "nightline," the new mogul. from dopey comedy star to trend-setting media force, he's a newcomer to time's most uninfluence shl list. a self-proclaimed normal guy and, oh, yeah, demi moore's husband. it's the world according to ashton kutcher. generale giants. compassionate, even sad. these aren't just human emotions. tonight, we have an inside look at the secret lives of elephants. plus, gulf catastrophe. as the oil continues to gush and the spill drifts towards the fragile coastline, bp tries anything they can to stop this toxic situation. we've got the latest on this historic environmental disaster. >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, martin bashir and
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jint ya mcfadden in new york city this is "nightline," may 13th, 2010. good evening. we're going to begin tonight with a different type of star. at 32, ashton cupper is one part married man, one part leading man and according to him, one part every man. but his greatest strength may lie not in his celebrity but rather in his emerging status as a media mogul. specifically, social media. what makes the masses hang on his every thought? and how did he go from goofy sitcom stoner to a young man with a plan? my co-anchor cynthia mcfadden has an exclusive interview with ashton kutcher. >> reporter: they are the e lease of the elite. bower brokers. megawatt celebrities. all here for "time" magazine's annual bash celebrating their picks of the 100 most influential people on the planet.
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sarah palin. martha stewart. elton john. and ashton cupper? you heard right. he's not here because of his famous wife. or his acting resume. >> dude, where's my car? >> reporter: miss most famous film. he's here because he easterned himself into perhaps one of the most powerful people in the world in social media. >> you are the ones who made this possible. you. it was you. i just showed up. >> reporter: he has 5 million followers on twitter. 3 million fans on facebook. >> what's up facebook peoples? there was a crazy idea i had. >> reporter: and he's the cofounder of a successful multiplatform media company. >> and do data analysis against keyword search. >> reporter: "time" has elevated you to their top 100 influential folk.
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>> thathappened. >> r up about that or really >> it definitely feels good, however, i can't get my dogs to listen to me. >> they're totally out of control. i kind of like it. >> reporter: he's got a point. >> they're just acting up for the cameras. >> reporter: i went with him as he walked those dogs. >> hold it a s.e.c. sorry. >> our walk is a wreck. >> reporter: what he does seem to have control over is his burgeoning media empire. you have much higher marks doing this than an actor. >> i think of myself as an actor as most people do. >> reporter: which is to say? >> i'm pretty judgmental. >> reporter: are you good? >> yeah, i think i'm good. i don't think i'm great. i would hire somebody else to play me in the movie about me. >> reporter: the movie of ashton begins here, in the humble corn fields of iowa, where one of his first jobs was sweeping up cheerios at the general mihm m
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plant. what kind of kid were you? >> what kind of kid was i? >> reporter: yeah. >> a kid just trying to not be a problem. >> reporter: because your brother was so sick? >> yeah, probably. >> reporter: his twin brother michael was born with cerebral palsy and a heart defect. and when they were 13, michael needed a heart transplant. >> it seems like the game is set up differently for certain people. and it is. >> reporter: felt guilty? >> for a long time i felt sorry and then my brother pointed out to me, he said, every time you feel sorry for me, you make me less. that hit home to me. when in truth, he's so much more. i mean, he's -- he's overcome obstacles that i will never have to face. >> reporter: the 13-year-old ashton was so traumatized by his
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brother's illness he considered jumping from a hospital bealcon so his brother could have his heart. >> i just didn't think it was fair what was happening, and i knew that it had to be a blood type match and he's my twin. and the assumption was that we were the same. however that doesn't necessarily all compute. yeah, that was probably not a good idea. because wouldn't that have been the worst to jump off and then they're like, you're ab, like -- >> reporter: you're not a match. >> you're a-positive, he's b. it's not a match. >> reporter: i mean, i appreciate the humor -- >> the humor is easier. >> reporter: so, kutcher went to college. stumbled into becoming a model. and quickly parlayed that into an acting career. >> were you dropped on your head? >> yes, i was. >> reporter: first, as the dim wilted kelso on "that '70s
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show." which led to a series of dim witted characters in movies like "guess who" and "what happens in vegas." a lot of the initial characters were sort of the same guy. >> yeah. that's what i knew how to do. >> reporter: describe that guy for us. that guy -- >> a little lazy, a little, you know, just getting by on his looks and not a whole lot else and sweet and likable, blue collar. that guy. >> reporter: is that who you were? >> no, that's who i got really good at playing. >> reporter: because i think there is a general misperception among some people that that's who you are. >> good. >> reporter: good, he says, because being underestimated served him well. >> i decided to create my own shone. >> reporter: when he co-created "punked." >> look out.
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you're going to get punked. >> reporter: that played jokes on unsuspecting celebrities like justin timberlake. >> this is war! this is war! >> win, win, win! >> reporter: kutcher has gone on to produce 12 tv shows in the last five years. do you sleep very much? >> on the weekends. >> love you. >> love you. >> reporter: when we come back, the woman he sleeps with. demi moore. zizizizizizizizizizizizizizizizi people get excited about tomorrow. i love yesterday. yesterday holds the answers. on a smarter planet, we can compare trillions of pieces of data about the past with what is happening now to help anticipate infectious disease, potential blackouts, when a delivery will arrive. i use the past to predict the future. i'm an ibmer.
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ashton kutcher kissed life as a bachelor good-bye when he married an older woman, demi moore, in 2005. until then, he had been romantically linked to young starlets, including one recently at the center of tragedy. more now from cynthia mcfadden. >> reporter: ashton kutcher seems to have been born under a lucky star. his assent in hollywood, the things that dreams are made of. >> i'm sorry. >> reporter: but there has been sadness. his co-star and former girlfriend brittany murphy died of pneumonia, amid rumors of drug abuse. a topic he's not discussed publicly before. how do you make sense of what happened? >> i don't know if you try to make sense of it or not. i mean, i just celebrate who she was. she was always the first person to dance. you know when you go to a party and everybody is standing around and the music is going, and you know sooner or later everyone is
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going to dance. she was always the first person to dance. >> reporter: kutcher says he saw murphy just two months before she died when he auditioned her for a part. the leading lady of kutcher's private life for the past seven years has been 47-year-old demi moore. 15 years his senior. she stopped by the day we were visiting to discuss their nonprofit foundation. >> i like it. >> reporter: kutcher has been intimately involved in raising her three daughters with bruce willis the youngest is now 16. do you want to have a biological baby? >> i don't know. >> reporter: over the years, both of you have said yes. >> there's a level of independence that we've never had in our relationship since our relationship started that i think that we might want to take advantage of. because in our relationship, we've always had kids. >> reporter: she is sort of reaching that biological gonging clock, too. >> i think my wife is a genetic freak. i think my wife has, like,
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some -- >> reporter: secret store of eggs? >> something. i don't know what she has going on. i'm not worried. >> reporter: what has been a worry is the paparazzi, who has constantly stalked him and demi. but now he says his social media prowess has helped him solve the problem zbchlt if i'm going to be in a zhoo, i want the keys t the cage. i take the pictures of what i want to before they can. >> reporter: tab loipds photos become less valuable when he posts the real deal himself. like this, a photo of demi moore's bottom, post ed by ashtn himself. or this. "race you to the bedroom." >> i'm 1,000% certain that i'm less exposed now because i expose what i want to expose when i want to expose it. >> reporter: he says he's not only a step ahead of the paparazzi, but several steps ahead of the old media.
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>> your companies are using hundreds of millions of dollars a year right now and they cannot figure out how to stop the bleeding. >> reporter: so do you know how to do it? >> yeah, but i'm going to wait until the value of it gets so depressed that i can purchase it for a nickel. i do know how to fix it. >> reporter: really? >> i can't do it. i'm not the guy. but i know the people that know how to fix it. >> reporter: a lot of big companies believe in him. both pepsi and kellogg have hired his company to acquire that undefinable cool in the youthful demographic that goes along with it. the cheap's motto? everything's got to have thrash. you want to make trouble a little bit. >> no, it's not trouble. it's just thrash. that means you are doing something that hasn't been done before. when you do that, people make sounds like -- ahh! oh, my gosh.
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that's really scary. >> reporter: that's what's going on right across the room. earlier in the day, kutcher shot a new video to promote his new movie "fillers." >> when you see a gun and bullet, you have to stop and watch. what the hell is going to happen, right? >> reporter: they're looking at what they hope will be the next viral video. imagine randomly coming up on this. kutcher loading a gun and pointing it right at you. >> it's loaded. i was worried i'd actually shoot my screen. i hadon't have dummy bullets at home. >> reporter: is that real? >> it's my gun that goes under my bed. >> reporter: you have a gun under your bed? >> you have to. >> reporter: i don't know. for me that's a headline. >> i don't have security. >> reporter: as for the new movie -- >> are you crazy? >> reporter: he plays a super spy who married a small town girl played by katherine heigl. >> oh, my god. >> hold still. >> it's a movie about a guy
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who's fighting to be a normal guy. and so i look at social media and i go, i'm fighting this -- this is why i connected. i'm fighting the same fight. social media for me and my wife is about saying to people, i'm a normal guy. >> reporter: but you're not a normal guy. >> i am. indeed i am. and i will fight to be that. because i want to go fishing. >> reporter: it's just ravishing. and perhaps he's right. you can't get more normal than picking up after your dog. hold it. we have business to attend to. >> are you attending to that? >> reporter: uh-huh. we got it. >> this is your fault. i know that goes on tv. >> reporter: you know it. >> if i'm producing the show i'm getting the actor getting the poop off the ground. >> reporter: guileless charm. the perpetual dim-wit who
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exceeding expectations. even his own. >> i've exceeded my expectations of one of the most influential people -- come on. i never thought the things that i experience in my life, i didn't think that was the life i was going to get to live. >> just 32 years old. "killers" opens june 4th. cynthia mcfad p, thanks for that. when we come back, we're going to turn to the wild, and a massive and mysterious animal. we get a closer look at the ways of the elephant herd. by swapping theirnd rides with a ford. and we got a little help from their friends and family. >> we swapped your car for the week. >> what? >> it's a ford escape. >> really? >> there's the bluetooth, the syncing to the phone. i really like the parallel parking. oh my goodness! it's doing it. i feel like i'm cheating on my crv. >> look at you talkin' me into a ford. >> yeah, i know. you should really try it! >> swap your ride for an escape and grab 0% financing and $1000 bucks while you're at it.
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>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with terry moran.
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>> they inspire fascination based on their size alone. but elephants are much more than big, they've got personality traits that often surprisingly are similar to people's. sadly, it's the human population now threatening the elephant one. but there are protectors out there, who keep a close watch on the herd, as john berman reports. >> reporter: it's a girl. a beautiful 250-pound baby elephant, just a few hours old. researchers call her breeze. a baby giant about to enjoy a giant special hug. >> when a baby elephant is born, it's probably one of the most exciting events that happens in an elephant's life. but also, there's such tenderness in the way that elephants will touch their young, and when they try to lift it up, the trunk comes underneath the baby and will raise it off the ground so it can find a way of balancing on its legs.
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i think it is always so emoti emotional to see new baby elephants, because you can see the emotions in the adult females. >> reporter: these emotions are among the revelations in the new documentary, "the secret life of elephants." it follows breeze and some 900 elephants as they roam kenya's national reserve. >> we know every single individual by sight. >> reporter: researchers grew up on the preserve. this woman helps run save the elephant elephants. it's clear, for her, it is much more than a job. >> they are the biggest, boldest, most beautiful land mammal to walk the earth, so, how can you not be completely bowled over in awe when you are close to them? >> reporter: but even with the giant tusks and ears and trunks, it is their sense of feeling that makes them so fascinating. >> they share many emotions with
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us. and we believe very strongly that they actually have a certain type of consciousness. >> reporter: family bonds. a mother doepts on a child with a hurt leg. also, family fights. breeze's brother has some, um, issues. >> he's a very, if you put it in human terms, he's a spoiled young elephant. >> reporter: he tripes to get between breeze and her mother. he looks jealous. >> absolutely. jealous. you know, you see, there's an interesting part in the film where his mother actually has to put him back in line. and just say, listen, enough is enough. you stop pushing your young sister around and you just stay away from me. >> reporter: in case you're worried about this, we'll come back to it, because there's another emotion that sets elephants apart. grief. >> for me, one of the most interesting things about elephants is this, they have this sense of their own
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mortality and they react very strongly to dead or dying elephants. even if they're completely unrelated. >> reporter: two young elephants stand by their dead mother. and then other elephants, unrelated, share in the moment. they almost try to console. >> it is almost like that. and this is where we start seeing what we call empathy, or compassion in elephants. it's a very human quality that very few other animals possess. >> reporter: the outpouring of emotion is all part of what researchers can see. but the group from save the elephants is also interested in what they can't see. the team carefully collars and tracks several of the elephants with satellite technology. it lets them learn where they go, how they migrate. and when they come in contact with humans. what are the changers to these elephants right now? >> it is extraordinary to think that an animal that is so big and powerful is under threat,
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but elephants are facing an uncertain future. there's, i think, proenl one of the most ominous threats is this enormous growing human population which is constantly encroaching into elephant habitat. elephants need huge amounts of space to survive. the other thing that's beginning to raise its head again now is ivory poaching. >> reporter: one of the largest elephants in the herd, mongu, is killed by poachers. >> oh, yes. that's mongu. no question about it. >> reporter: the target, his giant tusk, which could sell in fie what or japan for $250 a pound. and the demand seems to be growing. they can't save every elephant from hunter, but occasionally, they can make an immediate difference. the team decides to help a young elephant with a broken leg. to do that, though, they must sedate her mother, else she
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would never let them close. it is a harrowing moment. the mother looks like she might fall on her own chest. she would crush her lungs with her own weight. the researchers move fast, and frantically, to roll her over. >> push, push, push! >> okay, fine. >> just be careful. >> reporter: they give the young elephant antibiotics. her leg will be saved. but the real moment of success? the reunion between mother and daughter. >> i just feel very connected to the earth when i'm with them. i feel very small and insignificant and human. and it makes me realize, you know, what we are on this planet. >> reporter: we are the small neighbors to these giants who feel so much. remember breeze and her jealous brother buster when they couldn't get along? some time later, young breeze
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sprints to be at the side of her new idol, buster. >> i think the delight of little elephants is that they just are filled with so much joy and they have so much energy and they're just exploring the world, so, you have this, i think you start to see the world through their eyes, really. >> big, beautiful, feeling eyes. i'm john berman for "nightline" in new york. >> what amazing animals. "is secret life of elephants" airs sunday on animal planet. thanks to john berman for that. when we come back, the latest on the oil spill in the gulf. but first, jimmy kimmel with what's coming up next on "jimmy kimmel live." >> jimmy: tonight, ryan phillippe, beth or tros ski stern, the dirty heads and "this week in unnecessary
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