In an era where male film stars are mostly eternal boy-men, Aaron Eckhart is a throwback to the easygoing, grown-up charm of stars of yore. Regardless of whether the scene calls for big emotion or a fistfight, Aaron just walks on screen and does what needs to be done. Even more interesting, while he plays jerks and charming cads better than any of his peers, he appears to be Hollywood’s most wholesome bachelor. Growing up Mormon will do that to you.
Born in 1968, Eckhart spent his childhood in Northern California, the son of a computer executive and a children’s book author. In his teen years, his parents moved the family first to England and later to Australia. Aaron eventually dropped out of high school and spent a few years skiing, surfing and generally roughing it in such tough, challenging locales as Hawaii and Switzerland. Somehow, Aaron eventually found his way to Utah’s Brigham Young University, where he majored in film and worked with a young teacher and playwright named Neil LaBute, who was already making waves with work that was edgy, even by non-Mormon standards.
In 1997, LaBute cast Aaron as a vile young executive in his filmmaking debut, “In the Company of Men.” The movie was a controversial indie sensation and Aaron was noticed, leaping onto the short-list of young leading men to watch. Within a few years, he was playing opposite Julia Roberts as her nice-guy biker boyfriend in “Erin Brockovich,” while old buddy LaBute was keeping him busy with leading roles in his smaller films and a memorable supporting part as Renee Zellweger’s short-lived husband in “Nurse Betty.”
In late 2005, Aaron took a huge step forward with a tour de force, old school movie star performance as tobacco flack Nick Naylor in the satirical comedy “Thank You for Smoking.” The film made money, Aaron’s work was widely acclaimed, and many of us were thanking God for the second coming of William Holden. Aaron has had less luck with the disappointing “The Black Dahlia” and the barely noticed rom-com “No Reservations” with Catherine Zeta-Jones. Still, with a key role or two in the pipeline, only time will tell if Aaron – who keeps his current religious beliefs largely private – can hit the A-list and keep his clean-living rep.
Aaron on the Web
An online database of Aaron Eckhart’s career.
Photos, bio, and news, as well as Aaron’s latest TV appearances
All the juicy details of Aaron’s personal life are here, including his passionate feelings for a certain type of Asics running shoe.
Photos and links to Aaron’s movies, plus more on his upcoming films and a detailed bio.
Aaron on the Screen
If you haven’t seen “Thank You for Smoking” yet, do yourself a favor and see this one immediately. If you don’t have a giant-sized man-crush on Aaron by the end of the movie, then, you’re probably just normal. But he is extremely funny and kind of touching in the film. If you do find yourself liking him a bit too much for your personal comfort, then “In the Company of Men” is the perfect antidote, unless you’re an evil misogynist, in which case you’ll just have to register with the authorities once the film is over. Though the 1997 indie is still arguably one of his best roles, the actor has gone on to appear in a variety of movies, including "Erin Brockovich," "Paycheck," "No Reservations," "The Dark Knight," "Battle Los Angeles" and "Olympus Has Fallen."
"But if anybody's a man right now, it's Christopher Reeve, or Michael J. Fox. I have a lot of respect for those guys."
On his darker roles:
"I always ask, why can't I be just like Cary Grant or something."
On what moves a real man:
"I have a dog and sometimes I'll be the littlest kid with my dog and marvel at his ears and his nose and how he looks at me. If he died, I'd bawl like a baby."
And more on what moves a real man:
"I wish I could be a secret agent!"