Sully’s co-pilot tells us everything (and nothing) about Clint Eastwood’s film.
On the occasion of the rebroadcast of Sully, this Sunday on TF1, we republish a nice interview with Aaron Eckhart, who supports Tom Hanks. First had met him just before the film’s release at the end of 2016.
Aaron Eckhart : (in excellent French with a US accent) Good morning, how are you doing ? Nice to meet you.
First: Ah, but you speak French really well …
(still in French) Yes, when I was young, I traveled in France, I was in Toulon, Aix-en-Provence, Montpellier, Besançon… And then I stopped talking and I forgot. But four years ago, I decided to go back to it. Every day, I get up, I make myself a coffee, and I read all the newspapers in French. The world, Point, anything…. When I have a search to do on the Internet, I do it in French. Every evening, while I sleep, I listen to France Info. All night long it runs. I try to memorize sentences, I jot down words in a notebook – I already have six notebooks – and when I come to your place, I try to speak, but I am shy. Very shy. Okay, do you understand me anyway?
Very well. Frankly, I am impressed. But if you read The world every day, you must have an opinion on French political life, right?
(in French, again) I know them all. Valls, Holland, Le Pen… But I’m not particularly interested in politics. I read everything: Cosmopolitan, DIY, chainsaw, real estate… I try to have a very broad vocabulary. I can read like love at first sight! It is said, that? It relaxes me. It’s like crossword puzzles.
You should come and shoot with us, I’m sure a lot of French directors would like to have you in their film …
(switching back to english) I would love. Play the American in a romantic drama in Paris. But first I want to be sure that everyone understands me. For example, I still can’t quite tell the difference between above and in… how do you say it?
Below, there you go. I have to manage to speak like you, with the front of my mouth (he puts his mouth down). John Malkovich does this very well.
Sully: Clint Eastwood takes over [critique]
Good. Are we talking about Clint Eastwood?
Yes. Sorry, it’s my fault, your interview might be a bit shitty! Listen: working with Clint is clearly one of the highlights of my career. I’m like everyone else, I’m a fan. I was always in his paws: “Hey, boss, tell me a story”, that kind of stuff… But he doesn’t talk much. He doesn’t tell it to himself. The guy has been at the top of one of the most competitive industries on the planet for sixty years. Sixty ! No one is as iconic as him. No one has that face. He even writes the music for his films! He’s a genius and yet he doesn’t brag. While everyone bombs their chests in Hollywood, he remains humble, mysterious. It connects the films, which are systematically critical and commercial successes. He never finishes them late, never goes over budget. It is an enigma. And that’s what makes it great.
You really have a jaw-dropping role in Sully. You are not even the antagonist, just the hero’s good friend …
Yes. It does not bother me. Sully is the main character. And the mission of all the other characters in the film is to define themselves in relation to him, to tell his story, and help the audience understand it. So on set I would watch what Tom was doing and adjust my performance accordingly. When Sully speaks, I listen to him, but that doesn’t mean I’m not alive! In Hollywood, too many actors are motivated by their egos, they just want to steal scenes. But Clint Eastwood didn’t hire me to steal scenes from Tom Hanks! Sometimes it takes humility to do this job, because it’s not always you that people come to applaud. If I am asked to be humble, I am humble. If I’m asked to be in the light and shine, then I shine. I know my job, I have no problem with that.
Does the mustache help define the character?
Ah, ah! I suspected that we were going to talk about it. Well, already, I’m playing someone who really existed. And it turns out that person had a mustache. A very big mustache. But I had no idea that she was going to be talked about so much… On Twitter, Facebook, it’s a lot of talk. The other day at the airport, a guy walked up to me and whispered to me, “Well done for the mustache. ” OK. It seemed to have stirred something in him. Well, it’s true that she is beautiful. And very big. During the filming of Sully, she had even claimed a lodge just for her.
Trailer of Sully, by Clint Eastwood, with Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart: