Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman on “No Strings Attached”

NO STRINGS ATTACHED, from left: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, 2011. ph: Dale Robinette/Paramount Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman are having some important revelations about their rom-com pasts . . . while running on treadmills. This week, Portman joined Kutcher as part of his marathon-training series “Our Future Selves” with Peloton, jogging alongside him as the two discussed how they first met and finally addressed the striking similarities between two iconic films within the romantic comedy multiverse.

“I think the first time we really started hanging out is when we shot ‘No Strings’ together,'” Kutcher said while sounding miraculously well-articulated for someone going full speed on a treadmill. “Who would’ve thought 20 years later, we’d be on a Peloton together?” Portman joked in response. (Note: if 20 years seems like way too long ago, it’s because it is. “No Strings Attached” was officially released in January 2011 — phew!)

“Wait, it’s also weird because my wife [Mila Kunis] was shooting basically the same movie, called ‘Friends With Benefits,'” Kutcher said, putting into words what so many rom-com fans have been thinking for so long. Also released in 2011, “Friends With Benefits” starred Kunis and Justin Timberlake as friends who become friends with benefits (and then something more) — which is virtually the same plot that “No Strings Attached” starring Kutcher and Portman has.

“Yes, and Mila and I had just shot ‘Black Swan’ together right before,” Portman added. “So we were all making out with each other.” While fans may have had some sense of how interconnected these 2010s rom-coms were thanks to their overlapping plots and Kunis and Kutcher’s marriage, hearing the two actors joke about it just confirms the many similarities between the two films.

Why two nearly identical rom-coms were released within six months of each other, no one outside Hollywood will ever fully understand, but at least now viewers have some much needed closure on why they felt such a powerful sense of déjà vu at the movie theater in 2011.


i stan this cinematic universe

♬ original sound – Peloton