Aaron Eckhart is a good egg.
And he just happens to be having a great run of luck right now. His work in last year’s amazing “Rabbit Hole” just destroyed me. As a father, imagining myself in his character’s shoes in that movie was almost too much to take. And the way he navigated the performance without ever going for the easy beats, the cheap sympathy, was genuinely impressive.
I still remember the experience of seeing “In The Company Of Men” in the theater when it first came out and watching the way people reacted to him. It was a star-making performance, but as a world-class asshole, and I think there are people who simply assumed he had to be that guy.
Over time, what I’ve been impressed by is the solid matter-of-fact adulthood that Eckhart represents in an age where so many of our actors are boyish well into their 40s. Eckhart has never seemed like a boy. Not once. He’s a throwback to an age where movie stars had some miles on them, where they were real men, and he brings that same quality to his work in the new film “Battle: Los Angeles,” where he is the staff sergeant to a group of marines who find themselves navigating the mean streets of Santa Monica during a military emergency involving aliens from space.
And while that sounds like a potentially silly premise for a film, Eckhart grounds it the same way he took one of the most outrageous Batman villains of all time and grounded it in an undeniable reality. That seems to be his real gift, and I’d argue more filmmakers who work with the fantastic should consider Eckhart as a stealth weapon, a guy who make the incredible credible with deceptive ease.
Our conversation was short, as most junket interviews are, but it seemed like it went really well. Maybe part of that was the praise I lavished on “Rabbit Hole” as I sat down. “Are you a member of the Academy?” he asked, and when I told him that, sadly, I am not, he replied, “Well, I voted for you anyway.”
How can you not like this guy?
“Battle: Los Angeles” opens everywhere this Friday.