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Aaron Eckhart


Selected Filmography Dark Knight (2008) Meet Bill (2007) Towelhead (2007) The Black Dahlia (2006) Thank You for Smoking (2005) Nurse Betty (2000) Erin Brockovich (2000) Your Friends & Neighbors (1998) In the Company of Men (1997)


With his California-blond hair and chiseled good looks, Aaron Eckhart was a natural candidate for People’s list of 100 Most Beautiful People in 2006. But some of the characters Eckhart had played were anything but beautiful: in his old friend Neil LaBute’s In the Company of Men (1997), he was an odious ladies’ man who preyed on a deaf coworker; in Thank You for Smoking (2006), a cynical tobacco lobbyist gleefully lying through his teeth about carcinogens in cigarettes; in The Black Dahlia (2006), a hardened police detective with a crooked streak. “I’m interested in good guys gone wrong,” Eckhart said at the time. But he was also interested in landing some sleaze-free roles. Little matter that he’d already portrayed Julia Roberts’s good-hearted biker boyfriend in Erin Brockovich (2000); Eckhart had been typecast as a villain.


At 42, he’s broken those chains for good. Starring with Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole, he plays a devastated husband trying to cope with the death of a child. That follows outstanding performances as a chef on the rise in No Reservations (2007); a lumpy sadsack in Meet Bill (2008)—a part for which he put on 30 pounds and a fat suit; and the grieving motivational speaker of Love Happens (2009), opposite Jennifer Aniston. “I like it when somebody comes out of your movie and wants to kiss you instead of kill you,” Eckhart now admits. After 2008’s The Dark Knight, Batman fans may have wanted to do both: he had, after all, morphed from the upstanding district attorney Harvey Dent into the evil conniver Two-Face.


Born in California and raised in England, Eckhart lived for a spell in Australia, surfed for a sunny year in Hawaii and studied film at Brigham Young University. Struggling as an actor in New York, he tended bar, drove a bus and worked construction. Hypnotism, he says, helped him quit smok- ing and drinking, which were killing him. He still respects his Mormon roots, even though “the Church probably doesn’t screen my movies regularly.”


In other words, here’s an accomplished actor who’s lived a few dramas in the flesh.


—BILL GALLO


Aaron Eckhart will receive the 2010 Excellence in Acting Award at the Opening Night screening of Rabbit Hole.


Special thanks to 33


EXCELLENCE IN ACTING AWARD


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