Why Mila Kunis 'took a minute off' from acting: 'It has to be worth leaving your children'

Gibson Johns
·3 min read

Mila Kunis's willingness to accepting acting roles changed when she became a mother six years ago.

The actress, who shares two children with husband Ashton Kutcher, took part in a panel to promote her new film, Four Good Days, co-starring Glenn Close, at the Chase Sapphire on Main during the 2020 Sundance Film Festival over the weekend, where she opened by about taking on the rare dramatic role following years of being known for her comedic work.

"I went for a very long time in my career doing certain kinds of movies and then I had kids and a family and took a minute off," Kunis explained. "I realized that for me to go and do work like this that encompasses your life, it has to be worth leaving your children [for], because I don't see my family [during filming]. My kids are little."

Indeed, since welcoming daughter Wyatt Isabelle in 2014 and son Dimitri Portwood in 2016, the actress has averaged about one film a year, most notably Bad Moms and A Bad Moms Christmas. In director Rodrigo Garía's Four Good Days, though, Kunis tackles perhaps the most difficult role of her career, diving head-first into the role of Molly, a heroine addict who must rely on her mother (Close) to stay sober for four days in order to get a potentially life-saving shot.

It was the intense story, and her own personal journey in understanding addiction, that got Kunis to ultimately sign on for the project, which allows her to tap into the same dramatic acting skills that she famously put on display in 2010's Black Swan, which earned her Golden Globe and SAG nominations.

"When this came about — I can honestly say I don't do drugs, but I have been affected by it directly from my friends and surroundings and [I] continue to be affected — the one thing I gravitated towards was timing. When Rodrigo sent me the script, a girlfriend of mine had just bounced back from rehab and I was like, 'Man, it's just never-ending.' I'm not 20, we're not 20, we're all adults and it doesn't matter. Addiction is just a disease," Kunis said during the Chase Sapphire panel. "What else I gravitated towards was that I got it. I got the idea. I was also a person who prior to really diving into the idea of addiction — I don't know if I was naive, [but] you could call it naive — I thought addiction was a choice. I can honestly say [that]."

But, as Kunis grew older and had friends who struggled with various forms of addiction, she gained a better understanding of the affects the disease can have on a person's life, as well as the lives of those around them.

"As you get older and you surround yourself with a variety of different people, you learn and you grow and you see life evolve around you, you realize that's not the case," she said of addiction being a choice. "And I thought that this [film] was a beautiful depiction of that. I wanted to deep dive into it because I also wanted to understand what makes an addict an addict."

While it's not a perfect film, what Four Good Days does well is that it allows Kunis (and Close) to put their world class acting chops on full display. It's particularly a thrill to see Kunis take on a project like this, full of raw, oftentimes shocking moments that place a spotlight on the devastating ramifications of addiction.

Four Good Days is seeking distribution at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.