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An Interview with Aaron Eckhart

Aaron Eckhart has risen to great heights as an actor. He first received critical acclaim in 2005's Thank you for Smoking. It was then that audiences realized -- now this is an actor. From Any Given Sunday to The Dark Night to  Battle Los Angeles to Olympus Has Fallen, Eckhart has made his bones in the industry.
 
In this INFLUX exclusive, Eckhart shares his thoughts on his role as Adam, the creature, in I, Frankenstein.

Why this story:

AARON ECKHARTI liked the human aspects of the film, oddly enough.  I liked that it was a character who had been rejected by his father and ostracized from society.  He’s trying to find his purpose in life.  He’s trying to find love and fit in.  I thought that was something that everybody could relate to.

On the novel and having read the original work:

AEIt had been decades, but I reread it recently and was surprised.  I had forgotten how sensitive the creature was and how he just wanted to fit in and be a part of his community.  He had serious father issues.  He’s always been portrayed as a monster, but I don’t see him that way.  I see him as a man, or a creation, that doesn’t look like everyone else or behave like everyone else and so was made into a monster.

Regarding the differences between Adam and the original Monster:

AEYeah, plus the fact that he’s a lean, mean, fighting machine.  He doesn’t have the bolts and the square head.  We’ve taken it completely into a different universe with this gothic underworld.  It’s modern day, he’s a Kali stick fighter, it’s in IMAX 3D.  There’s no relation, really, to any of the other incarnations.

On the pressure of taking on an iconic role:

AEOf course.  Especially with everybody on Twitter.  You feel like there’s going to be blowback.  But, a lot of people aren’t familiar with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, so maybe they’ll go read it.  I think it’s a fun, entertaining action ride, so I’m not too worried about the purists.  This movie was never intended for the purists and the purists are never really happy anyway.

On the depth of the back story:

AEI just try to remember what my name is.  I just try to stay true to the script and to Stuart’s vision of the story.  I’m concentrating on what I can control.  There’s so much stuff to do and focus on between the gargoyles and the demons and Terra and the fighting.  There’s so much to chew on, you don’t always have time for the other stuff.

On the difficulties of humanizing a monster:

AEI think that’s probably the toughest part.  The way it was effective is that they took two powerful forces, good and evil, the gargoyles and the demons, and they basically held Adam at ransom.  They made him vulnerable.  They gave him some pathos, because Frankenstein’s monster is always the strongest guy in the room, but here he’s confronted two forces that are bigger than him.  It gave him a vulnerability and a sensibility.

On training for the action:

AEThe director, Stuart, said to me when we were talking about doing the movie, “I want the audience to see you do all the fighting.  I don’t want to cut away.”  So, I did six months of stick training.  I learned how to do it.  We choreographed the fights and put a lot of work into that so that the audience would really be able to have that experience that they don’t normally get.  You know, in some movies, you don’t even think the actors are doing the fighting, and most times, they’re not.  So, that really took a lot of time and effort.

On the dangers of action, injuries and mishaps:

AEA lot of hitting and getting hit.  If you’re off by a centimeter or whatever it is, you can really cause some damage.  I remember getting hit in the neck in the big fight and getting knocked out, getting knocked to the ground.  I thought I broke my neck.  You can imagine a stick coming full force and hitting you in the back of the neck.  I hit guys all the time.  It’s terrifying.  Really, it’s scary.

On working with Kevin Grevioux, the creator of the story:

AEIt’s fun to watch a creator be there and watch his baby come to fruition and come alive.  There’s always pressure, you know.  I’d look at him and I’d want to do him proud.  Hopefully, Kevin’s happy.  Stuart really put his mark on this, too.  He took Kevin’s story and really built upon it.  You always want to do right by the people that created the story.

Regarding the challenges of working on an effects heavy film:

AEYeah, it’s keeping it real.  It’s keeping the stakes high.  That’s the biggest challenge.  If it’s not in front of your face and you’re not keeping it specific enough, the audience won’t have as good of an experience.  So, the challenge is to keep it real and keep it specific.  To keep the stakes as high as possible at all times.

On the importance of finding challenges as an actor:

AEIt’s very important.  As soon as you do a movie like this that’s got a worldwide appeal and a younger demographic, you want to go off and make a small, independent drama.  It’s fun to mix it up.  You’re always looking for different challenges.  I’ve never been one to just keep on wanting to do the same thing.  I like to be inspired by other people’s work and to try to continuously be better as an actor and challenge the audiences more and more.

On a future in television:

AEYou know, I’ve been approached, but I haven’t taken anything yet.  There’s such good quality television these days that I don’t even know if you can call it television anymore.  It’s always enticing because of the quality of talent.  But, for now, I’m just going to try to keep on making movies.  I enjoy movies and I grew up with them.  I still believe in the dark room with the popcorn, so I’m going to stick with that as long as I can.

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