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Aaron Eckhart on How Doubt Can Fuel Your Acting Career

Backstage.com – Aaron Eckhart doesn’t shy away from misgivings about his acting abilities. He relishes them.

Aaron Eckhart Backstage magazine cover

Photo Source: Kareem Black

In the months leading up to the performance that would leave him unrecognizable, he prepared alongside top boxing trainers and fighters, studying their techniques and strategies. Their track records meant any skepticism was warranted, he says.

“Nobody really believed that I was going to be able to do this part,” he says of his casting as trainer Kevin Rooney in the upcoming Vinny Pazienza biopic “Bleed for This.” “When I talked to the old trainers in Vegas, the fighter guys and the promoters, when I told them I was doing Kevin Rooney, they gave me time, but they didn’t have any belief in their eyes.

“But that’s the fun about being an actor,” he continues. “Whether you’re playing a Marine or if you’re playing this [or] that, actors know they can get to places because of their experience and their technique. We can transform if we’re willing to go to those places.” Looking at Eckhart’s handsome features and lean, 6-foot frame, it’s evident why some might’ve felt he was miscast to play an overweight, middle-aged boxing trainer past his prime. But the actor’s commitment to the role sparked a complete transformation.

To star in the against-all-odds success story opposite Miles Teller as the world-title-holding champion Paz, Eckhart put on 40 pounds, shaved his head to appear balding, and began a meticulous study of the man who trained Mike Tyson before he aided in one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the sport.

At the start of his now 20-year acting career—he initially came to New York City with $1,300 in his pocket and no contacts—Eckhart admits the doubts of those who knew Rooney would’ve thrown him off his game. But that was before he started studying at the William Esper Studio between waiter-bartender shifts at famed French brasserie Les Halles, landed a Miller Lite commercial, moved to Los Angeles, and grabbed Hollywood’s attention. His first major film came in 1997 with Neil LaBute’s “In the Company of Men,” which was shot in under two weeks and funded with money from the car accident settlement of one of LaBute’s friends; he followed it up with “Erin Brockovich,” “Thank You for Smoking,” and his blockbuster breakthrough playing Harvey Dent (aka Two-Face) in “The Dark Knight.”

These days, lack of faith fuels him.

“I have such a technique and a strategy now for my process, and I’ve done it so many times that I know what I can do,” he says of his nearly 40 acting credits. “That’s not to say that I’m not scared when I take a movie, or [ask myself], ‘How am I going to do this?’ But it’s almost fun for me now to take disbelief and go, ‘You guys, it’s going to be OK. I am going to do this!’”

Photo Source: Kareem Black

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One Life – Aaron Eckhart

Photo: Mark Seliger

Watching Aaron Eckhart on the big screen, it is obvious that he takes his roles seriously, giving each new character the depth and texture that they deserve. It is impossible not to disappear inside of his films, easily forgetting that they are merely stories being told by a group of talented actors. For Eckhart, there is something more of a hunger. As an actor, a man, he seems unable to sit back and take life as it comes. There is an edge, a desire to constantly push himself, a need for more. Eckhart’s movie choices suggest that he is always on the lookout for those game changing roles, the ones that, in the right hands – his hands – could enlighten viewers, and bring to the surface things that we as a society tend to keep under wraps.

I’m just trying to be an actor in a movie and be as real as I possibly can be in any movie I’m in. I know that’s a boring answer, but that’s really what I care about. That’s what drives me every single day.

Photo: Mark Seliger

Continue reading at the source: Destination Magazine

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Aaron Eckhart On His “Bleed For This” Role, Future In The Film Industry, Hamptons Dream And More

Hamptons.com – 2016 marks a very busy year for actor Aaron Eckhart, who stars in Sully, Incarnate, London Has Fallen and Bleed for This, which made its East Coast Premiere at the 2016 Hamptons International Film Festival. Hamptons.com caught up with the actor to discuss working with Miles Teller again, his film industry aspirations and much more.

This is your first time in the Hamptons. How do you like it so far?

AE: Well, I got in last night – look, I lived in New York when I was a struggling actor in the ’90s and I never had the means to come out to the Hamptons. I never went to the parties, but I’ve heard great things about it. This morning I woke up and took a run on the beach and I went swimming. I met a woman on the beach, who’s a yoga instructor here, and we went for a swim, went body surfing and it was the most beautiful morning in the world. So, I’ve had a terrific time and met great people, and saw the beautiful houses and ran around the golf course – it’s everything that everybody says about it. It’s just an absolutely gorgeous little hamlet.

Since this is your first time here, is there anything that you feel like you have to do or see?

AE: Well, unfortunately I have to go to London tonight, so I will be leaving this afternoon. If I did anything, I guess it would revolve around food. The Hamptons has a great reputation for food and local catches, and all that sort of stuff. I would like to do that. I would like to con somebody into letting me stay at their house.

I don’t think that would be very hard.

AE: No, it probably won’t, but it would be fun. That golf course out here looked pretty nice – that I was running at – it’d be fun to go golfing. And this is the most beautiful time to be here, too. It’s cool and there’s not any humidity. This hotel, c/o The Maidstone, where I’m staying at – I’m in the Karen Blixen room. I was an usher, in Australia, when I was 17 and Out of Africa was playing in the theater and so I got to know Karen Blixen’s story very well, and now I’m in the Karen Blixen room.

Bleed for This is screening at this year’s Festival. What attracted you to this role?

AE: I love boxing. Miles and I, this will be our second movie together. We were in Rabbit Hole together. Miles had just gotten out of NYU. It was his first role and we had a good time making that with Nicole [Kidman], so I was interested in working with him again. Ben Younger is a fierce, committed, passionate director, and is after the truth. He’s a wonderful writer and got to the real heart of this story about a man believing in himself and overcoming the impossible, and that’s what this movie is about, Vinny Pazienza, a colorful character. And, I felt like my character, Kevin Rooney, who was a boxer, again, was on top, went to the bottom and had to build himself back up. Again, that’s a story that I’m very familiar with myself, so it resonated with me.

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The Best-Dressed Men At The Toronto Film Festival 2016

Bleed For This is the true story of world champion boxer Mr Vincenzo Pazienza, aka Vinny Paz (played by Miles Teller), who, after a near-fatal car crash that left him not knowing if he’d be able to walk again, made one of sport’s most incredible comebacks. Mr Aaron Eckhart, 48, plays Mr Paz’s troubled trainer, Mr Kevin Rooney, in a barely recognisable knockout performance that has some critics talking about a Best Supporting Actor nomination.

Aaron Eckhart in suit on table

Photo by: Bjorn Iooss

What was it like having to put on so much weight for this role?

This was my third time gaining 40lb-plus. It’s always difficult. This time, it’s stretched my skin as I’m getting older. That worried me a bit. It’s good for the character, it’s good for the acting, it shows my commitment, but I didn’t look in the mirror the entire time I was making this film.

Because you hated what you looked like?

I didn’t want to come to grips with it. I didn’t want to admit to myself. And try having a relationship. My girlfriend is a professional triathlete.

How did you do the receding hairline?

They shaved it every day.

What do you like wearing now you’re back in shape?

Zegna, Ralph Lauren. I love leather jackets and every year I buy myself one. If ever I have kids, I’ll hand them down. I also love leather shoes, especially Tricker’s because I feel like I can wear them for life.

Who’s your style icon?

Ralph. He’s just the guy. He’s country and city at the same time; he’s vintage motorcycles and tuxedos.

Source:  MrPorter.com

Categories Interviews News

Aaron Eckhart Talks About Varied Career And ‘Bleed For This’ At Hamptons International Film Festival

27east.com – “I don’t believe in genres, I believe in acting.”

Actor Aaron Eckhart at The Maidstone before his

One would think this would be a grand statement at the end of a rant from a theater major in college criticizing modern movies, but it’s actually a personal preference when it comes to selecting the films that make up the nearly 20-year career of Aaron Eckhart.

He may not believe in identifying a film by a label or type, but most people do, and he is familiar to fans of a variety of genres: action (“The Dark Knight,” “Olympus Has Fallen”), drama (“Rabbit Hole,” “In the Company of Men”), comedy “Thank You for Smoking,” “The Rum Diary”). And those who get out to the movies in 2016 are bound to see him in one or more of several new films: He started the year with an action movie in the spring (“London Has Fallen”), followed by two dramas in the fall (“Sully,” “Bleed for This”), and will finish the year with a horror movie in the winter (“Incarnate”).

This past weekend at the Hamptons International Film Festival, Mr. Eckhart pulled double duty promoting a featured film in the festival (“Bleed for This”) and being interviewed for “A Conversation With…” If he’s being honest—though it’s hard to tell with that same charm and verbal etiquette he brought to his Golden-Globe-nominated role as a hotshot tobacco lobbyist in “Thank You for Smoking”—he doesn’t even understand the purpose of genres.

“I think genre is categorizing something that doesn’t need to be categorized,” Mr. Eckhart said. “As an actor, if somebody dies in a movie you have to determine how you feel about that. If you’re having a relationship breakup, or you’re having a baby or whatever, it doesn’t matter what genre you’re in, you’re an actor in a movie and I’ve always been confused by that.”

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