‘Erased’ Star Aaron Eckhart Tells Why Being Punched is Easier Than Relating to Teenage Girls
Aaron Eckhart in RADiUS-TWC's 'Erased'
For a guy with so much riding on his looks, Aaron Eckhart isn't afraid to take a punch to the face.
While filming his new international spy thriller, "Erased," Eckhart told us that he took plenty of punches, to the face and elsewhere. Eckhart plays Ben Logan, a decommissioned CIA agent who finds himself on the run from his former employers. When his teenage daughter, played by Liana Liberato, gets embroiled in the high-stakes game of cat and mouse, Logan takes matters personally.
We spoke with Eckhart recently over the phone about the film, how he's basically been in training since "Erin Brockovich" (2000), and why taking punches is far easier than relating to a teenage girl.
"Erased" opens Friday, May 17, in limited release.
Adam Pockross: I spoke to you a few weeks ago for "Olympus Has Fallen." Congratulations on the success of that.
Aaron Eckhart: Yeah, I think to everybody's surprise. It just did really well. And internationally, as well.
AP: Were you surprised?
AE: No, but I think it exceeded expectations for sure. Well, it exceeded expectations in a lot of ways, not only box-office, but people — the absolute enjoyment they get from watching this movie. I mean, I haven't seen it in a long time, I have to say. People are viscerally excited about the film and continue to be all over the world. We went to Moscow, London, Rome, and South Africa promoting the movie and in all of those places, they are just overjoyed.
AP: Are you an action star now?
AE: I don't know. I'm an actor. I'm an actor and I'm a part-time cyclist and photographer. I don't know. I love action. I grew up on it. I'm 45 years old, so I grew up on Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, Redford, Rambo, and Harrison Ford and I've always enjoyed action. I've always enjoyed creating tension with sort of fundamental elements like the running and the car chases, the fistfighting, and that sort of thing.
That's what excited me about this movie, was that there's no green screen in this movie. There are no explosions really, and everything is practical. I did all of the fighting myself, and then you have the father-daughter love story going on, or hate story in the beginning, and then turns into a love story. Those elements really attracted me to the movie.
AP: Between "Olympus Has Fallen," with the boxing scene, and then in this film with the hand-to-hand combat, what kind of training did you do?
AE: Well, ever since "Erin Brockovich," I decided if I have to do fighting in a movie and be in shape for films that I was going to learn a skill for each film. So I started boxing. And I've continued to box for 13 years. For this movie, I did three months of really hard-core jiu-jitsu and MMA every single day. And then on my next film, "I, Frankenstein," I did six months of the Filipino art of Kali stick fighting.
AP: So, you didn't bring that stick-fighting training to this one. That training was separate from "Erased"?
AE: Yeah, I did jiu-jitsu. I had a great guy named Olivier who was a French special forces, MMA, jiu-jitsu expert — just the greatest guy in the world. And he and I every day would go out in Malibu in the parks and beat the crap out of each other: Get each other in strangleholds, and break each other's legs and knees and all that sort of stuff. He just taught me everything, all of the pertinent moves and that sort of stuff.