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Terrence Howard: The ‘Dead Man Down’ interview

Terrence Howard, Noomi Rapace and Colin FarrellTerrence Howard talks about his latest film, "Dead Man Down," where he plays crime boss Alphonse Hoyt opposite Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace and F. Murray Abraham.

Kam Williams: Hi Terrence, thanks for the time. It's nice to have another opportunity to speak with you.

Terrence Howard: Thank you, Kam, for taking the time.

KW: What interested you in "Dead Man Down?"

TH: Being able to work with Niels (director Niels Arden Oplev), given the work he's done. Some of those Swedish films (such as "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo") were breathtaking. And he has an interesting style that mixes traditions of old with the allure of mystery. And I'm impressed with his Shakespearean approach to storytelling. It's always about these relationships which become unwound. I was also interested in working with Colin (Farrell) again. We made "Hart's War" together back in 2002, and I've always appreciated his artistry. So, I jumped at the chance to continue our friendship.

KW: The cast has a lot of other big names, too: F. Murray Abraham... Noomi Rapace... Isabelle Huppert...

TH: And everyone in there came to play. Everyone!

KW: Marianne Ilaw asks: "Is a movie with an intricate plot like this one difficult to shoot?"

TH: To me, we're all one, and everything is basically about trying to get back to a balanced state. We have our in-harmonics, our harmonic, and our beginning. Everybody's trying to get back to that, and with this work, even as a director or as actors, we're all trying to get back in harmony. But to expand, you have to become in-harmonic for a moment.

So, the story's about the battle to get back there, and that's how it works out. Alphonse (Howard's character) could've been a simple bad guy who goes around killing people. But when you add a conscious element, and an element of reciprocity, a karmic recompense that he's aware of, that simple ideal mushrooms to the point where it becomes palpable for everyone by association. The audience can now see his humanity because they've been in a compromised position. That's the point of the film, to help someone learn.

Take Colin's character who was left for dead and whose family was murdered. Yet, here he has an opportunity for brand new love and to continue on and to just appreciate the fact that he's still alive. But he's willing to risk all of that to payback the debt, which nobody really knows the value of.

When you take another person's life, whether you survive or not, you only lose your own humanity in the process. That was one of the mistakes Alphonse made early on, which caused him all of these problems down the line.

So, I love how Niels was able to lay out these complicated plotlines. And Noomi's character is also on a vendetta and harbors a grudge that she won't let go of. The film really questions the morality and ethical stances of all the characters.

KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: How did you prepare to play Alphonse Hoyt?

TH: I got a process, a perm in my hair. (LOL) That was my preparation.

(To see a trailer for "Dead Man Down," visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a1J5Cs-e7U)


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