The first decade of Aaron Eckhart's career has been a battle between the light and the dark, so perhaps it's no surprise that he's currently filming the most conflicted of characters, Harvey "Two-Face" Dent in "The Dark Knight."
The actor confirmed to MTV News for the first time that he will appear as Two-Face in the film ("Aaron Eckhart Confirms To MTV Two-Face Will Appear In 'The Dark Knight' ").
Eckhart kicked off his career by playing Chad from "In the Company of Men," one of the most ruthless misogynists ever depicted on the screen. But then there have been characters like his sweet biker in "Erin Brockovich," and Nick, an opera-singing softie, in "No Reservations," which opens July 27.
Starring opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones in this romance about two mismatched chefs forced to work in the same New York kitchen, Eckhart is as affable as he's ever been. We spoke to him about his change of pace in the kitchen and, of course, his forthcoming role as one of Batman's most famous adversaries.
MTV: Is this guy too good to be true? Nick is an opera-singing world-class chef who loves kids. Come on, where's the darkness?
Aaron Eckhart: [He laughs.] That was the appeal of doing the film. There's not. I'm sure he has his complexities, but the joy of playing the role was to try to find his effortlessness and charm and also his ability to defuse fires, to bend and not break.
MTV: Does that lightness come naturally to you?
Eckhart: I think there are elements of that in me for sure. But there are also the insecurities and that sort of stuff, the self-destructive aspects of everybody's personality. If you don't have those, you don't have a very complex character. And it's not as enjoyable to watch.
MTV: Were you gun-shy about going the romantic leading man route again after "Possession" wasn't so well-received a few years ago?
Eckhart: The problem with "Possession" was it was a corporate mix-up. I think people liked it. But I know what you're saying. I don't have any fear of not being good at a certain genre. If a movie doesn't work out it's not because of me or my inability to do something, it's because as a whole process it just wasn't received well. There have been times in my career when I felt a romantic comedy was less valuable, that it somehow didn't measure up to a drama and that I had to go out and do important films. I think that way less now. I feel like what is more important is that I enjoy what I do. I don't know if you're married or have a girl or what, but don't you spend most of your time trying to impress her, trying to get her to like you? To do that onscreen is tough. It's not a walk in the park. So I wanted to see if I could do it. But guys don't think it's tough enough. I should have, like ...
MTV: You should have had a scar on your face.
Eckhart: Yeah, or talked about my life in the war.
MTV: Speaking of which, you went through a kind of boot camp for this film. Tell me about culinary boot camp: What do you go through?
Eckhart: You go through burns and cuts. It's hot, volatile and aggressive. Chefs think they're rock stars. They have tantrums like rock stars. They have passion like rock stars. It really is an all-consuming, intense environment. It takes everything you've got. It drains you. And then you have to go back and do it the next day.
MTV: OK, now comes the part where I ask you about "The Dark Knight" and you say next to nothing.
Eckhart: This is what you really wanted to get to!
MTV: Where are you in the filming?
Eckhart: I guess we're halfway through shooting, somewhere near there. It really goes forever. I play Harvey Dent. Harvey Two-Face. They are both in the movie.
MTV: Do you have a scarred coin on you now or in the near future?
Eckhart: [He laughs.] I could never tell you that. I cannot tell you where my script is. I'll tell you one thing I do — it's a funny little tidbit. Because I live in hotel rooms, I leave half of my script in the hotel room and keep half with me.
MTV: Warner Bros. is so proud of you.
Eckhart: That's right. Nobody is going to get that script from me.
MTV: Is there one scene you're looking forward to shooting?
Eckhart: There are a few scenes I am dying to do. We've done a few. [Director] Chris [Nolan] wrote everybody really good parts. But the scene that I really want to do is in October.
MTV: Will that be a heavy makeup day?
Eckhart: [He smiles.] I don't know. There might be anger involved. There might be tears. It might be a cathartic day. It might be a lot of love.
MTV: Have you worked with Heath Ledger much?
Eckhart: I have seen Heath. We have conversed. We are, as the French say, d'accord.
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