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The Law Of Opposites
In "The Brave One,” what Jordan refers to as the "legal” response to injustice is represented by NYPD Detective Sean Mercer. Terrence Howard stars in the role of the police detective who is drawn into the case of a series of homicides that are all connected…and all appear to be in the pursuit of some kind of vigilante justice.

"Terrence blew me away in this role,” Jordan states. "He has that physical grace and presence and his face radiates with emotions, spoken and unspoken. He brought an enormously strong emotional and moral core to Mercer.”

Coming into the role, Howard recognized that Mercer is a man who has been defined by his faith in the law. Arguably, it may have even cost him his marriage. But he never imagined his faith in the law would be tested by someone on the opposite side of it. The actor offers, "Mercer is a by-the-book cop who believes in the system, but at the same time he's becoming frustrated because the system doesn't always allow him to protect people the way he wants to. Part of him is truly upset that his hands are tied by this moral dilemma that we call justice. And then somebody, seeking their own justice, comes up with their own solution that is certainly more expedient. How does he deal with that? The worst thing you can do as a police officer is begin to understand why a criminal made the choices he made because then you are no longer taking a stand. If you step into that gray area, the law breaks down and human nature takes over.”

Jordan remarks, "What I love is that both characters find themselves entering gray areas from opposite sides. They are both wrestling with questions of moral responsibility and crime and justice and retribution, and they each respond to them in different ways. It's a very interesting dichotomy because they are also very connected.”

"It was a delicate balance,” adds Downey, "because you want them to connect, yet you also have this cat and mouse game between Mercer and the unknown vigilante he is determined to catch. So they are two people who are connected on a very personal and emotional level but whose actions put them fatefully in direct conflict with each other.”

Jordan emphasizes that the connection between Erica and Mercer, while strong, "is not a love story in the traditional sense. It's more a meeting of souls and minds. They have both lost partners and now they are alone, lost at night in this city. So it is a story of friendship…and of possibility.”

Both actors agree that the relationship between their characters is as much about what is lost as it is about what they gain from each other. "There is an intense bond between Mercer and Erica,” Howard asserts. "In another time or circumstance, or if they had not walked down the roads they chose, I'm sure something could have come of it. So that becomes another loss for both of them.”

Foster adds, "Each of them has a fascination for the other. I think they are attracted to each other's hearts, in some ways because they are opposites and in some ways because they are exactly the same. I know it is true in life that we are often drawn to people because we want to know what it is like to live in their skin. Erica sees in Mercer her moral counterpart. He would never cross the line and she wants to understand who he is, perhaps so he can save her.

"The wonderful thing about Terrence in the role,” she continues, "is that he has such a depth of sensitivity and emotion and yet he's playing this hard-edged detective who's seen it all. The combination makes Mercer even more touching. He has to act hardened in his job, but he is not unaffected by it and Terrence conveys all of that in his performance.”

Howard has equal praise for his co-star, as well as his director. "Jodie was the first actor I've ever worked with who actually made me nervous,

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