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Behind The Microphone / Behind The Badge
Before shooting began, Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard each engaged in research that was as individual as their roles. Foster spent time at a local NPR radio station in Los Angeles "just to see what they do,” she relates. "Watching them, what occurred to me is they are not faces, they are not bodies. They are just voices. You listen to these beautiful, melodic voices, and it gets inside your ears and inside your head. In some ways, it's so intimate, but it's also easy for them to disappear.

"I also looked into post-traumatic stress syndrome. I read a great deal about it, but I think Erica is very different. She didn't get the help she needed,” the actress notes, revealing that she also tried to put herself in Erica's mindset by following her footsteps. "I walked a lot—like crazy amounts of walking all over Manhattan. If you have ever done long hikes, the first two hours or so, you talk to people around you. And then, as time goes on, it changes; by hour seven it becomes almost a meditational experience…completely isolating. So that was important.”

To prepare for his role as an NYPD detective, Howard worked closely with the film's technical consultant, Neal Carter. After 24 years with the NYPD, including time as a homicide detective, Carter recently embarked on a new career, ensuring that the depiction of police work on the big screen is grounded in reality. In fact, his first film had been "Inside Man,” starring Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster.

Carter spent time with both Howard and actor Nicky Katt, who plays Mercer's partner, Detective Vitale, advising them how to talk, think and behave like veteran detectives. He took them to police stations and even escorted them to crime scenes, including a real homicide, to let them see firsthand how things are done.

"He was so knowledgeable and so willing to share his expertise,” Howard says. "He gave us such great insight into the mind of a cop on the job. He showed us crime scenes and literally took us through the handbook of what to look for, what's important.”

At one crime scene, Howard recalls the thing that most struck him was "just the mundanity of it. Here you have a dead person, brutally beaten, and you think you should want to sit and say a prayer. But the cops are there to do one thing: find out who killed him. That's their job. It becomes a puzzle. They can't take it personally because they see it every day, and after the third crime scene, I could understand how you become a little numb to it.”

Carter says that understanding was reflected in the work of both Howard and Katt on the set. "They really progressed fast. They picked up on every little nuance, the subtleties in how we walk, the way we dress, the way we carry ourselves, even the way we joke. It became very natural. I mean, when I watched them, they looked like real detectives.”

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