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HARSH TIMES

About The Production
David Ayer wrote Harsh Times a decade ago as a reflection on friendship on the mean streets of Los Angeles. The two main characters, Jim and Mike, claim downtown and all it casts in shadow as their own private playground – an echo of Ayer's own childhood in L.A. "Harsh Times is about friendship and growing up,” Ayer says. "It is a parable, a cautionary tale. I wanted to capture the moment in someone's life where that individual simply grows up. It is about being twenty something and thinking you know how the world works.”

Ayer wrote the screenplay while in his early 20s, between the sometimes rocky path he left behind, and the future as a successful screenwriter he had yet to fulfill. "I wanted to portray a version of Los Angeles seldom seen outside its mazes of neighborhoods in the shadow of downtown,” he says, "streets I know from my teenage years. I wanted to write a story about friendship that had its own code and rules. I wanted to write about the kind of people I knew from growing up in L.A. Many hearts and lives have been destroyed by these streets. And many more have grown strong and thrived. What makes the difference? Usually it's the choices people make.”

Adds Terry Crews, who appeared in Training Day before landing a role of Darrel in Harsh Times, "Here's a story about a man who has moral choices to make, and he seems to make the wrong ones,” says the actor. "He keeps making these wrong moves, yet they don't hurt him, they actually help him. And it really shows how things can work for you good or things can work for you bad, and it just really breaks down as a big morality play right here in Los Angeles. That's what I love about it.”

Jim Davis, played by Christian Bale, is "a guy back from the war, trying to get a job as a cop,” says Ayer. "Unfortunately, Jim has brought the war home with him. It plagues his dreams, blurs his sight, makes him scream in his sleep.”

An actor who claims one of today's most diverse and compelling careers, Bale was immediately taken with the screenplay. "He got a hold of the script a few years back and he got hooked on it,” Ayer recalls. "He wasn't going to let anyone else play that but him.” Jim's only relief from horrors he'd rather forget is his friendship with Mike Alvarez, played by Freddy Rodriguez. "For them high school never ended and South Central is their playground,” says Ayer.

Rodriguez describes Mike as "a guy who grew up in the hood but never became a product of his environment,” says the actor. "He always knew all the drug dealers, all the gangbangers, but never quite became one. A guy with a lot of potential, but always backslides into being a slacker. A guy who loves a party. He loves to hang out and get drunk and high, and that's why his bond to Jim is so tight is because they both like doing the same things.”

Like Bale, Rodriguez was electrified by the script. "It was one of the most original things I've ever read before,” he says. "As an actor, a lot of times I get scripts that don't possess that originality. And as an actor I always want to do stuff that is different, or be a part of projects that aren't normally done in Hollywood.” Once Rodriguez read for the role, Ayer cast him without looking back. "He nailed it,” he says. "It was obvious no one else but Freddy could do that role.”

Together for the majority of the film, Rodriguez and Bale spent their down time getting to know one another and bonding much like there characters. "There's are a lot of asses in this business and Freddy is not one of them,” Bale says. "He was a great guy to play best buddy to. We didn't have a whole lot of time to get that together, but when you work long hours and you're sitting in the car together and stuff, you get to know each other pretty quick.”

"Freddy and Christian had great chemistry,” adds Ayer. "You believe they're<

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