AARON ECKHART PILOTING WAY INTO AWARDS RACE
Eckhart really knows what the word supporting is all about after this season. He has been justifiably praised for his work in two films in which he plays the quieter guy behind two remarkable men, in both Sully and Bleed For This.
In the former, he plays co-pilot Jeff Skiles who helped Sully Sullenberger steer to a safe landing on the Hudson River in that celebrated story of the hero pilot played by Tom Hanks. And in the latter he plays Kevin Rooney, the man behind the incredible, against-all-odds boxing comeback of Vinnie Pazienza played by Miles Teller.
In both he also plays real-life living people, but didn’t get the opportunity that the stars of those films did to spend much, if any, with the men he plays. Skiles was always on a transatlantic flight, so he only talked to him on the phone. Rooney has dementia, but Eckhart did talk with his son, as well as Pazienza himself, to get an idea of what he was like.
Whatever the levels of research, Eckhart is solid in both roles, the true definition if you ask me of what a supporting performance should be even if, as Eckhart notes, it can be “weird” doing movies about people who are actually living. It’s been an interesting experience for Eckhart to promote these two films simultaneously during the fall awards season, but a gratifying one. He launched both at the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day weekend, where we first ran into each other and where he would jump from one film’s screening and Q&A to another one, running up and down Main Street.