About The Characters (Continued)
In casting the role of George, Soderbergh wanted an actor with an unusual combination of character traits. On one hand, he's a biker and on the other hand, he has a very strong
desire to create a home life and become part of a family situation. He knew that on paper George might look like an easy role, but that in reality it was really a very tough one. It was going to take someone very specific and very smart to bring out all that things that he thought were in the character.
Aaron Eckhart was their George. The actor who made his mark as a bullish corporate executive in Neil LaBute's In the Company of Men followed the film with two more from director LaBute: Your Friends and Neighbors and Nurse Betty. He was most recently seen in director Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday, opposite Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz and Dennis Quaid.
"Aaron is someone that I've kept my eye on ever since I saw him in Neil LaBute's first film," recounts Soderbergh. "When I saw him in Neil's second film, in which he was virtually unrecognizable, not just physically, but emotionally. I was really intrigued. I thought he had the right combination of masculinity and vulnerability and I also liked the way he and Julia looked when I got them in a room together. I totally bought that they would be attracted to one another."
Eckart says. "One of the things I like about playing a real person in a film about a real event, is that the story can never go off course. You always have a barometer. Because this really happened, the path is already there. This story is invested with real emotions, real lives, real people. When we were filming in Hinkley, we shot right next to the actual PG&E plant where the events depicted
occurred. That's very powerful. We met some of the families that were involved and walked on the real streets and saw the existing pools. It makes the film so much more important, because this could have happened to anyone of us or to our families."
He continues, "This is a story that says that people matter most. I think that is reflected in every relationship throughout the film. The human condition is more important than business, money or image. The dynamic in Erin and Ed's relationship is about investing in the human spirit."
In discussing the inspiration for the film. Eckhart uses the word 'fire-cracker' to describe Erin Brockovich.
"She's a woman with a lot of moxie, a loose cannon:' he says. "She has a huge personality and a big heart. She's beautiful and she uses that to the fullest. She wants to get ahead in the world, but the cards are stacked
against her. She learns as she goes along and through pure determination and will, she doesn't let anything stop her."
Roberts was thrilled with the opportunity to work with Eckhart. "One of my favorite scenes in the movie." she says. "is where Erin and George meet because it's so hostile that you know it's destined for love. George plays a really valuable role in her life. He is very like her in that to look at him is to judge him as a person who is the antithesis of who he really is. which is what happens to her all the time. Then, when they first meet, she turns around and immediately does the same thing to him."
Roberts continues, "George is a good guy. He's a sensitive man who helps her out when she's in a jam and helps take care of her kids. He ends up being a strong caretaking force for her and her entire family. Their relation ship is really about two people being very open to each other and reversing their roles. She's spending all of her time working and he's staying home taking care of the children."
Eckhart agrees, and says. "The problems Erin and George face stem from the fact that her work takes a lot of time and energy
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