In Step With

Aaron Eckhart

How does any one guy get this lucky? Aaron Eckhart is in the blockbuster Batman sequel The Dark Knight and has co-starred with Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Catherine Zeta-Jones in other hits. But the star assures me he doesn’t rely on a genie or an enchanted lamp. “I’m just an actor,” he said, “a regular Joe who works at it.”

Born in the Silicon Valley at what he called “the start of the computer age,” the actor lived just about everywhere as his dad’s company kept sending the family abroad. “We followed the jobs,” Aaron said. He first got into theater while studying in England, then lived in Australia, where he was home-schooled. He put college on hold to surf in Hawaii and ski in the French Alps, then he waited tables and bartended back home.

Did he pick up any tech skills from his father? Aaron calls himself computer-literate, but “I have a computer that’s in the closet, and I’m not taking it out. I’m pretty much an analog guy. I do photography. But I use film and spend time in darkrooms—nothing digital.”

His new flick, Towelhead, hits theaters in September. Aaron plays the neighbor of a lonely 13-year-old Arab-American girl who goes to live with her strict father in the suburbs of Houston. “My character is one of her obsessions,” Aaron said. Isn’t the film’s title loaded, potentially asking for trouble as an ethnic slur? “It’s a tough title,” Aaron replied, “but since it was the name of the original book, there shouldn’t be any issues.” 

According to gossip columns, Aaron has dated just about everyone this side of Britney and Lindsay. But he remains solidly unmarried. No kids? “Not a one,” he said.

Last time we spoke, Eckhart told a glorious tale about how Julia Roberts once rode a New York City bus to meet him to discuss doing Erin Brockovich together. He told me his dream was to inherit some of the old Cary Grant roles. By now, I’d say he’s as cool as Cary.          

Brady's Bits
Aaron Eckhart grew up traveling all over the world. Since he had once lived in Australia, I asked what it was like there, and he gave me a pretty cool line: “It’s California with an accent,” he said. These days, Aaron lives in Los Angeles. Early in his career, he was an extra on Beverly Hills 90210. In real life, he eventually worked his way up to owning a house in Beverly Hills. “The plumber is here today,” he said, “and the painters are working.” See, movie stars really are just like the rest of us. Since Aaron was once a school rugby player, I asked just how sizable he is. “Normal,” he said. “About 6 feet tall and a buck-seventy.” 

Born March 12, 1968, in Cupertino, Calif. Single.

Why You Know Him
He played Julia Roberts’ love interest in Erin Brockovich, and he starred in Thank You for Smoking.

What You Don't Know
He and his dog like going out in the Hollywood Hills at night to chase coyotes.

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