Samuel L. Jackson has the showy performance in Resurrecting the Champ. With his aged voice and wacky hair, it is clear how he is altering himself. But Josh Hartnett got to play a lot of things he had never played before in the film too, not the least of which was fatherhood.
Josh Hartnett on Resurrecting the Champ
"It was a film so I got to hand him back at the end of the day, so it wasn't like I really had that much responsibility," Hartnett joked. "But I found it surprisingly easy to get along with and play with the kid all day long. Maybe that's some sort of instinct kicking in that I'll deny for a few more years. I had a great time playing a father. I'm surprised how easy it was to get into that role."
Mainly, Hartnett plays a journalist profiling a homeless man who claims to be a former champion boxer. Based on the article by J.R. Moehringer, Hartnett played a fictionalized character.
"I read a bunch of articles that J.R. wrote and I talked to him a lot. I went and hung out with sports writers at the New York Times, The Calgary Herald and the Denver paper, [the Post]. That's where J.R. is. Then I taught myself to type, which was fun. I like to do stuff like that to put myself in the mindset of a character. But really I'm a terrible typist. I know where my fingers go now, but I still type about two words a minute. That's about it."
Since his character is not J.R. Moehringer, Hartnett did not extent his research to personality analysis. "Because the story is fictionalized, I wasn't going to do any sort of impersonation of J.R. When you do an impersonation, unless it's someone famous, it comes across as hollow. When you're playing someone famous, you almost have to but you have to find the interior of the character, as well. I wanted to know what he was thinking and going through at the time and get to know him. It's his story. It was my responsibility to get to know him. Also, I'd read his memoir and bunch of his articles. Sometimes you can find out about somebody through their work better than [meeting them], especially if they're work is about them. Memoirs help."
Resurrecting the Champ
Resurrecting the Champ
Having faced many a tape recorder and note pad in his career, this was an informative experience. "That's the thing I knew intellectually but I had no concept of the amount of competition, and if you're not rising, you're falling. And it seems like a competitive, dog-eat-dog sort of world. So the pressures push you to that point where you can make some mistakes due to deadlines and things like that, and get in a lot of trouble. The thing I think is difficult to see, especially in this film, because of those time constraints, people end up in a situation where they're delivering news that's not news, and it happens all the time. The retraction page is always with these tiny little articles that say, we screwed up. Sorry. Whoops. But it's supposed to be news. The lines that are blurred today between celebrity journalism and news, celebrity gossip and news, and the way the Internet has such a huge effect of bringing in the idea of opinion as fact, so it's hard to compete with Perez Hilton who's writing whatever he wants. The fine line between entertainment and news is getting finer every day."
Resurrecting the Champ opens to theaters August 24th.
For the trailer, poster and more movie info, go to the Resurrecting the Champ Movie Page.