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

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.

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Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher through the years
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Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher through the years
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 19: Ashton Kutcher (L) and Mila Kunis attend game 4 of the NLCS between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 19, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/GC Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: (L-R) Actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis attend the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Todd Williamson/BBMA2016/Getty Images for dcp)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: (L-R) Actors Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and singer Demi Lovato attend the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Todd Williamson/BBMA2016/Getty Images for dcp)
THAT 70'S SHOW (TV - 1998) DANNY MASTERSON, LAURA PREPON, ASHTON KUTCHER, TOPHER GRACE, MILA KUNIS, WILMER VALDERAMA T70S 002
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 22: Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis look on from the sidelines before the game between the Chicago Bears and the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 22, 2013 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 22: Mila Kunis (L) and Ashton Kutcher attend a basketball between the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on March 22, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/GC Images)
THAT 70'S SHOW (TV - 1998) TOPHER GRACE, WILMER VALDERAMA, DANNY MASTERSON, MILA KUNIS, LAURA PREPON, ASHTON KUTCHER T70S 001
Apr. 10, 2002 - Hollywood, CALIFORNIA, USA - DON STARK, DEBRA JO RUPP, KURTWOOD SMITH, WILMER VALDERRAMA, LAURA PREPON, DANNY MASTERSON, ASHTON KUTCHER, MILA KUNIS, TOPHER GRACE..THAT 70S SHOW CELEBRATES ITS 100TH EPISODE WITH A PARTY AT.SUNSET ROOM, HOLLYWOOD, CA.APRIL 10, 2002. NINA PROMMER/ 2002 K24623NP(Credit Image: © Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 22: Mila Kunis (L) and Ashton Kutcher attend a basketball between the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on March 22, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 03: Ashton Kutcher (L) and Mila Kunis attend a basketball game between the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 3, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 03: Ashton Kutcher (L) and Mila Kunis attend a basketball game between the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 3, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
INDIO, CA - APRIL 27: (L-R) Actors Jordy Masterson, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher seen during day 3 of 2014 Stagecoach: California's Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 27, 2014 in Indio, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Stagecoach)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher arrive at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport). on September 29, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
INDIO, CA - APRIL 25: Actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis attend day 1 of 2014 Stagecoach: California's Country Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 25, 2014 in Indio, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Stagecoach)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Mila Kunis (L) and Ashton Kutcher attend a basketball game between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on February 12, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 5: Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis attend Game Two of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers on June 5, 2016 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: (L-R) Actors Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis attend the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Todd Williamson/BBMA2016/Getty Images for dcp)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 22: (L-R) Actors Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and singer Demi Lovato attend the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena on May 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Todd Williamson/BBMA2016/Getty Images for dcp)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 28: Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher are seen at 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' on March 28, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 19: Mila Kunis (L) and Ashton Kutcher attend a basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/GC Images)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 14: Founder of A-Grade Investments Guy Oseary, Actor Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis attend The Launch Of Ashton Kutcher & Guy Oseary's Sound Ventures At SXSW on March 14, 2015 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for SOUND)
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