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.
You’re also participating in the Festival’s Conversation with Series, where you’ll be honored with the Variety Creative Impact Award. What was your reaction when you found out you were being celebrated?
AE: Who? Me? I’m very proud to get that award. I feel somewhat undeserving; however, I will accept it with glee for all the people that worked on this movie, who really gave everything for this movie, for Miles, for Ben, for all the producers, Bruce Cohen and Chad Verdi. In this movie business, it takes years to get a movie made and people don’t understand how tough it is – between the script and the money and the actors and that type of stuff. We put together this movie and Ben bled for this movie and so I’m going to accept that award for him and everybody else involved.
You have more than one project coming out this year. How do you find balance?
AE: I don’t. I’m unbalanced, at all times. I try to live on the edge. I try to do everything and I don’t have plans. Work in the business is never guaranteed, so I feel like it’s better at the end of your life to have many experiences than to have only a few experiences. I try to grab films and do whatever I can and work with that interesting guy and do that interesting genre. That’s what happened this year. I did an action movie, I’m in a boxing movie, I’m in a plane movie and then I’m in a horror movie. And now I have nothing, so now I have to go out and make a whole bunch more movies.
Do you have anything lined up?
AE: I’m going to direct something and act in something. I feel like if I’m going to go, go all the way.
Is this something that’s you’re already working on?
AE: I do have something lined up. I can’t really say anything about it. It’s a relationship piece. I’m really interested in working with great actors and seeing where we can go, how we can push each other as actors and see if I can tell a story, or not. I’ve worked with so many great directors and I want to pick their brains. I just worked with Clint [Eastwood] and I was always asking Clint, “Hey, Clint how do you do this?” or watching him, or watching Tom [Hanks] or watching Ben or whoever it is. So I feel like I’m excited to give it a go.
Since you’ll be acting and directing it, who would be your dream cast members?
AE: Oh man. There’s so many good actors. I really want to work with actors that love what they do, that are passionate about what they do, are willing to lose themselves in the part, and to explore. That’s really where my mind is. So we can get those surprises. So that we can have a movie, and at the end of the movie, we say, “Wow! I never knew that we were going to go there.” And so you can be excited. I’d love to be in an interview, and afterwards they go, “How did you guys get there? You surprised us. You blew us away. It was real. It resonated.” Especially if you’re doing relationship pieces, because you (the audience) have relationships with your partner or your family. When you’re really getting to the meat of it, your insecurities and self-doubt, and how and what you do to overcome them – that’s what I want to make movies about.
For more information about the Hamptons International Film Festival, visit hamptonsfilmfest.org.