What did you think of Vinny Paz after hearing his story?
Aaron Eckhart: It’s amazing! Vinny is one of those guys that legends are made of- that don’t ever quit and don’t say “no” to finding their passion in life and commit to it absolutely. To think of what he went through just in terms of his own personal pain and overcoming adversity and believing in himself, I think it’s a lesson that we could all learn something from.
Did you spend time with Vinny?
Yeah, he was on the set. He was definitely around. He’s a great character. He has great energy to feed off of, very positive. Loves the movie. Loved telling us stories and was just a great presence.
What’s one memorable story that he told you?
What comes to mind is how a fighter shows up to a fight. Whether he thinks he’s actually inside himself. If he believes he can win. Sometimes they show up and they’re on an off night and they get into the ring and they’re like “this guy’s going to beat the shit out of me.” You don’t think about that kind of stuff. Then you say “how did you battle through?” He says “I just got in there and started swinging.” I say “Vinny, what did it feel like to knock this guy out? What did it feel like to get beaten on?” It’s always “Yeah, it doesn’t feel good.” Obviously we — the media and pundits — don’t get to feel the punches and we don’t get to get inside their minds so whenever you get firsthand accounts of that kind of stuff it’s a lot of fun.