Five Favorite Films with Aaron Eckhart

Plus, The Rum Diary co-star on making the film, playing chaming bad guys, and staying in character -- and sober -- on set.

You could set your watch to Aaron Eckhart's handsomely chiseled features -- but do so at your own peril. As he's proved time and again on screen, Eckhart excels at portraying deceptively charming men: be they manipulative executives (his breakout In the Company of Men), big-tobacco spin doctors (Thank You For Smoking), or literally, physically duplicitous district attorneys (The Dark Knight). Which isn't to say he won't play nice, reasonably normal guys, of course, as his excellent (and strangely Oscar-overlooked) performance in last year's Rabbit Hole attests. This week, however, Eckhart's up to his smooth-talking tricks in The Rum Diary, playing against Johnny Depp as the impeccably-dressed but otherwise rather rapacious Sanderson -- an American businessman out to turn postcard-perfect Puerto Rico into a lucrative tourist resort. We spoke with Eckhart recently, where he talked about the film, his thoughts on writer Hunter S. Thompson, and the art of playing the likeable bad guy. But first, he ran through his five favorite films.


Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)

My five favorite films? I have no memory, that's my problem. [Laughs] Well one of them would be Apocalypse Now. I mean, you could tell that the movie was made in madness, as madness, and that, to me... someday I want to make a movie like that. Total consumption.




Five Easy Pieces (Bob Rafelson, 1970)

One of them would be... did I say Apocalypse Now? [Laughs] What other films are there? Have there been any other films? I would say Five Easy Pieces. Nicholson was a god. Is a god. Great movie. F---ing great movie.




The Getaway (Sam Peckinpah, 1972)

Then I'll say -- this is so easy, but I'll say The Getaway, with McQueen. Just, you know, just raw power and action.




Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938)

Bringing Up Baby, with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn -- just because I grew up on those movies.




Midnight Express (Alan Parker, 1978)

And then I'm gonna say... What's a modern movie that I've seen? How about... you know a great movie that I saw was... [extremely long pause] Oh, I got a movie -- the one where he goes to the Turkish Prison. Midnight Express. There you go. That movie terrified me. [Laughs] Go to Turkey, but do your hash before.



Next, Eckhart on The Rum Diary, staying sober on set, and playing charming bad guys.

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