Rising leading man Aaron Eckhart initially received applause for playing a
sociopath lady’s man in Neil LaBute’s independent film, In the Company of Men
(1997). Eckhart subsequently transformed into a versatile screen presence by
delivering his acting talent in such films as Any Given Sunday (1999), Erin
Brockovich (2000), Paycheck (2003), The Core (2003) and The Missing (2003). His
upcoming film projects include Conversations with Other Women, The Black Dahlia,
On a more private note, the 5' 11" tall, handsome blonde performer was engaged
to actress Emily Cline, but they separated in 1998.
Surfing and Skiing Buff
Childhood and Family:
In Santa Clara County, California, Aaron E. Eckhart was born on March 12, 1968
to a computer executive father and a children’s book author mother. He has two
brothers, one of whom called Adam (older). During his teens, Aaron followed his
family living in England and Sydney, Australia.
Before graduation, Aaron left high school, but later received his equivalency
before taking three years off to surf in Hawaii and to ski in France. He then
studied film at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, and graduated with B.F.A.
in 1994. In that university, Aaron also first met aspiring director and future
collaborator Neil LaBute.
After graduation, Aaron Eckhart moved to Manhattan and found a few notable
commercial jobs. He then went to Los Angeles and landed a string of bit parts,
including in Showtime's 1992 movie Double Jeopardy (starring Rachel Ward, Bruce
Boxleitner and Sela Ward), an extra in an episode of "Beverly Hills, 90210"
(1992) and a turn as Samson in the 1993 CBS special "Ancient Secrets of the
Bible, Part II." He was also seen in writer-director James Glickenhaus' 1994
thriller Slaughter of the Innocents and the 1996 sci-fi comedy series "Aliens in
In 1997, he finally got his first big break, thanks to college classmate Neil
LaBute who gave him the starring role of Chad, Matt Malloy's co-worker who is
angry and frustrated with women, in the wicked dark comedy In the Company of Men
(also featuring Stacy Edwards). Portraying the memorably villainous character,
which was seductive and charming on one minute, but turned sadistic and cruel on
the next minute, Eckhart received positive reviews and won Golden Satellite’s
Outstanding New Talent and Independent Spirit Award’s Best Debut Performance.
The following year, Eckhart reunited with LaBute in his 1998 drama comedy Your
Friends and Neighbors (opposite Ben Stiller, Catherine Keener, Nastassja Kinski,
Jason Patric and Amy Brenneman). In this film, Eckhart gained over 30 lbs. for
playing Barry, a fat, impotent and unhappily married man. He then played Thomas
Jane's former cohort in writer-director Skip Woods' action drama Thursday (1998)
and became Elisabeth Shue's overprotective brother in John Duigan's true-story
based drama comedy Molly (1999). He also appeared as an assistant coach in
Oliver Stone's football drama Any Given Sunday (1999, with Al Pacino, Cameron
Diaz, Dennis Quaid and Jamie Foxx) and starred in Neil LaBute's 10-minute movie
The new millennium also saw Eckhart winning the heart of Julia Roberts' Erin
Brockovich before playing Renee Zellweger's car salesman husband in Neil
LaBute's comedy Nurse Betty (also with Morgan Freeman, Chris Rock and Greg
Kinnear). He then was directed by Sean Penn in the film version of Swiss author
Friedrich Dürrenmatt's novel, The Pledge (2001), playing Jack Nicholson’s young
The next year, LaBute asked Eckhart to team with Gwyneth Paltrow playing two
scholars who investigate the affair of a fictional Victorian era poet, in the
romantic mystery drama Possession, based on the novel by A. S. Byatt. In 2003,
Eckhart played a geophysicist in Jon Amiel's sci-fi disaster film very loosely
based on the novel by Paul Preuss, The Core (alongside Hilary Swank and Bruce
Greenwood) and signed up with director Ron Howard to play Cate Blanchett's ranch
hand/lover in the Western thriller based on the novel "The Last Ride" by Thomas
Eidson, The Missing (also starring Tommy Lee Jones). He also became Ben
Affleck's mysterious employer in John Woo's adaptation of the short story by
science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, Paycheck, which also featuring Uma
Thurman and Paul Giamatti.
TV viewers could catch Eckhart on the final episodes of the NBC sit-com
"Frasier" in 2004, as the insensible boyfriend of Dr. Crane's matchmaker love
interest (Laura Linney). In June that year, he also performed on stage,
co-starring with Julia Stiles in "Oleanna" at the Garrick Theater in London.
Meanwhile, Eckhart continued to add to his film resume by starring as Dallas FBI
Agent Thomas Mackelway who investigates serial killers in E. Elias Merhige's
2004 thriller Suspect Zero, along with Ben Kingsley and Carrie-Anne Moss. He
recently played the lead role of the chief spokesman for the tobacco lobby, Nick
Naylor, in Jason Reitman's satirical comedy Thank You for Smoking (with Maria
Bello and Adam Brody), based on the novel of the same name by Christopher
Buckley, and starred as a well-educated psychiatrist in writer-director Joshua
Michael Stern's mystery drama Neverwas (with Ian McKellen and Nick Nolte). He
also starred opposite Helena Bonham Carter in Hans Canosa's romantic drama
comedy Conversations With Other Women.
Eckhart will soon complete his upcoming film project, Brian De Palma-directed
thriller drama, The Black Dahlia. In the film, based on the 1940s-set novel of
the same name by James Ellroy, Eckhart and Josh Hartnett play a detective
partner who caught in a love triangle with Scarlett Johansson's character. He
will also soon be seen acting opposite Welsh beauty Catherine Zeta-Jones in an
untitled Scott Hicks film and opposite Jessica Alba in writers-directors Bernie
Goldmann and Melisa Wallack's drama comedy Bill.
Independent Spirit: Best Debut Performance, In the Company of Men, 1998
Golden Satellite: Outstanding New Talent, In the Company of Men, 1997