Mila Kunis has had a very successful feature film career up to this point. She has also been quite successful on the small screen beginning with That ‘70s Show and continuing on with Family Guy. Over the past six or seven years though, we haven’t seen much of her. What has she been up to and why the lack of movie roles? Well, there appears to be one specific reason (make that two) why we haven’t seen much of Kunis lately.
Mila Kunis was born in Ukraine where she lived with her parents and brother for six years. By the time she was seven, her family had packed up, her parents giving up their degrees and jobs, to give Kunis and her brother a shot at a better life. “My parents had given up good jobs and degrees, which were not transferable,” she explained to The Daily Telegraph. “We arrived in New York on a Wednesday and by Friday morning my brother and I were at school in L.A.”
Arriving with $250 in their pockets, Kunis’ parents built a new life for them. Her father enrolled Kunis in the Beverly Hills Studios for acting classes and her very first audition got her a commercial in a Barbie ad. By 1994, Mila Kunis had her first acting role in the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives. Little did she know where her career was headed.
THE BIG LITTLE LIE MILA KUNIS TOLD
For the next four years, Mila Kunis would find herself on television more and more. She was seen on The John Larroquette Show, Hudson Street, Baywatch, Unhappily Ever After, Walker, Texas Ranger, and 7th Heaven. But it wasn’t until Kunis told a big fib that she got her major break.
Looking to get into bigger productions, Mila Kunis went in to audition for the part of Jackie Burkhart on That ’70s Show, but it was made clear to all who were auditioning that they needed to be 18 to fill the roles. Well, Kunis was 14 at the time and while she didn’t outright lie, she definitely didn’t tell the outright truth. When asked, Kunis told the producers that she would be 18, she just failed to mention that for her, 18 was four years into the future.
The producers eventually caught on to Kunis’ game but to her credit, she nailed the audition and wowed the producers. They hired her and for the next eight seasons, fans got to watch Kunis’ Jackie grow up right in front of their eyes.
THAT ‘70s SHOW
Along with Mila Kunis, That ‘70s Show made stars out of a number of young actors. Danny Masterson, Laura Prepon, Wilmer Valderrama, Topher Grace, and future husband Ashton Kutcher all enjoyed the spotlight during the eight-season run.
During Mila Kunis’ time on That ‘70s Show, she did have an opportunity to venture into features (Get Over It, American Psycho II: All American Girl) but in 1999, she joined another TV sitcom, which brought her as much notoriety as That ‘70s Show, when she took over for Lacy Chabert in Seth MacFarlane’s animated hit, Family Guy.
MILA KUNIS LEARNS HOW TO SPEAK
It wasn’t that Mila Kunis hadn’t lost her Ukrainian accent, she already had by the time Family Guy came into her life, it was the fact that Kunis didn’t know how to voice animated characters. After her first audition, MacFarlane called her back with instructions to speak slower. Apparently, that went well enough for Kunis to be called back one more time. This time MacFarlane needed her to enunciate better. After all was said and done and she proved she could handle it, MacFarlane opted for Kunis over Chabert.
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“What Mila Kunis brought to it was in a lot of ways, I thought, almost more right for the character,” MacFarlane told IGN. “I say that Lacey did a phenomenal job, but there was something about Mila – something very natural about Mila. She was 15 when she started, so you were listening to a 15-year-old. Oftentimes with animation, they’ll have adult actors doing the voices of teenagers and they always sound like Saturday morning voices. They sound oftentimes very forced. She had a very natural quality to Meg that really made what we did with that character kind of really work.”
Mila Kunis took over the role of Meg Griffin in 1999 and has been voicing that character ever since.
MILA KUNIS FINALLY CROSSES OVER
The commitment Mila Kunis had to That ‘70s Show was the majority of the reason she wasn’t able to go headlong into feature films. But as the series ended, Kunis found herself up on the big screen in quite a few high-profile films.
Her first eye-opening role was in Judd Apatow’s 2008 romantic comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. She went from that to Boot Camp, and from there to another action film, Max Payne opposite Mark Wahlberg. She took on another action role with Extract, then found herself opposite another big star in Denzel Washington’s The Book of Eli.
Mila Kunis was enjoying her time on the big screen. Her movies were successful, and she longed for more. She definitely got that when she nabbed the part of Lily in Black Swan. It was a rigorous role, one that saw Kunis and her co-star Natalie Portman go on diets and strict training regimes to be able to portray ballerinas. In fact, her co-star in her following movie remarked at just how thin Kunis was when she showed up on set.
Friends with Benefits was Kunis’ follow-up to Black Swan and the movie, a romantic comedy, would see Kunis and her co-star Justin Timberlake, hook up in a series of sexual adventures on the promise that it was purely sex they’d be having, and neither would fall in love. As Timberlake saw it, via The Daily Telegraph, “She weighed, like, 90 pounds from Black Swan.”
But to Mila Kunis, it wasn’t necessarily the weight she was concerned with, it was the fact that she’d have to get in some tight spots with her co-star, ones that would be quite uncomfortable. “I didn’t have any problem with Justin having to take his clothes off,” Kunis explains. “But I’m incredibly insecure about my figure in my private life, let alone in front of 50 crew members. There was a lot of insecurity. There were awkward moments, but the great thing was that Justin and I were friends, so at least I was with someone I knew was also uncomfortable.”
MILA AND COMES CLEAN ABOUT NOT CLEANING
In July 2021, Mila Kunis and husband Ashton Kutcher faced a lot more public scrutiny than they anticipated after saying on a July episode of Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast that they rarely bathed and that they didn’t often force their children to bathe. The criticisms got bad enough that eventually the pair took to social media to prove that they bathe their children.
IT COMES DOWN TO HER KIDS
For the next few years, Kunis enjoyed her success. She was in a high-profile relationship with Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin for nearly nine years before they decided to call it quits. She then began dating former That ‘70s Show co-star Ashton Kutcher and three years later the couple tied the knot.
Before they married, though, the couple welcomed their first child. Two years later, after they married, their second child was born and this happened to be when Kunis’ career took a back seat.
“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 to Yahoo! Life. “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.”
Kids have a way of making even the biggest superstars refocus on what is important to them in life and Kunis made her decision. Her choices, over the past seven years since her firstborn, have reflected on exactly what she believes.
Mila Kunis continues to voice Meg Griffin on Family Guy and will do so until the end of the series, whenever that may be. She has made a few notable films in the meantime, Jupiter Ascending, Bad Moms, A Bad Moms Christmas, and Four Good Days, a movie where she plays a substance abuse addict opposite Glenn Close.
Mila Kunis just finished the feature Breaking News in Yuba County and even has another movie teed up to go, Luckiest Girl Alive. She and Kutcher recently built an amazing home in Los Angeles, a sustainable farmhouse, and by all appearances enjoy the happy life. Mila Kunis probably doesn’t even know at this point where her career will lead her, she just is happy for now being able to pick the occasional project while raising her two children. Nothing wrong with that.
THAT ’90s SHOW
These days, we are seeing more and more actor and actresses returning to the franchises or stories where they got their start, or where they achieved fame. Seeing as how the content wars are heating up and reboots and remakes are coming in a fast and furious manner, this kind of thing is becoming more and more commonplace. And it’s about to happen for Mila Kunis.
That’s because That ’70s Show is getting a reboot/ sequel series in the form of That ’90s Show. The Netflix series will set itself about 20 years after the first original series run, but will return viewers to Point Place, Wisconsin and to the home of Kitty and Red Forman. This time around we will meet the daughter of Eric and Donna, and therein lies the big news for this series. Among other things, the original cast is going to make a return to That 90s Show and were are going to have a reunion of sorts.
Topher Grace as Eric, Laura Prepon as Donna, Ashton Kutcher as Kelso, Wilmer Valderrama as Fez, and of course Mila Kunis as Jackie will all be back in the fold. It’s looking like this crew will only be in a handful of episodes at most, but they have already filmed their spots for the series. In the show, Eric and Donna’s daughter Leia spends the summer in Point Place with her grandparents. Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith will also reprise their roles and are starring in the series.
Ashton Kutcher recently said he and Mila Kunis had to talk about whether they wanted to return to the show in this way, but it in the end it became a pretty easy call. Both agreed that they had the start of their respective Hollywood careers to thank for being involved and starring in That 70s Show and wanted to pay that back at least a little.
We don’t know when Netflix will actually air, but it will be great to see Mila Kunis and the rest of the crew in the basement once again.