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Terrence Howard on Fighting

Published April 23, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Rogue Pictures
If Channing Tatum is the fighter in Fighting, then the only other name actor would have to be the corrupt A-hole, right? Terrence Howard is Harvey, the shady street hood who gets young Shawn into the world of street fighting, but the movie doesn’t play exactly the same notes you might expect.

Terrence Howard on Fighting


“He’s got a mean streak of morality running up his spine,” Howard said. “Remember Val Kilmer said, as Doc Holliday in Tombstone, ‘My hypocrisy only goes but so far.’ Later on, he says, ‘My hypocrisy seems to have no bounds.’ Harvey, his hypocrisy only went but so far. You can cheat somebody on the streets. He didn’t like fighting. He couldn’t take a person’s life, but he didn’t help people live. So he’s at that strange place between good and bad, where he’s not good, so he’s definitely bad, but doesn’t want to accept that he’s bad if you’re not doing the right things. That bothered him constantly, because he knew he was more decent than that. He didn’t have Jack’s heart. He didn’t have Martinez’s heart. He had Shawn’s heart, and was pretending to be something that he wasn’t.”

Described by his costars as an intense actor, Howard explained what motivates him when he comes to set. “I ride life like it’s a beautiful go-kart. In real life, me and my friends, we’ll get out there, and we’re going to make a go-kart. You spend so much time finding pieces to make the go-kart and sometimes it doesn’t work, but then all of a sudden, you’ve got a go-kart that’s working. Right when you start riding down the hill, your mother calls you and tells you you’ve got to come in. The little boy has to stop, right then and there. He comes in and he’s angry and he’s sullen in his face. I’m having such a great time in my life right now, I’m making go-karts. Then when they call me and make me come to work, I walk in there, and I slam doors, and I do all those things that a little bad kid would do.”

Fighting Fighting


Unfortunately, acting can’t be Howard’s go-kart. “Oh my God, because there’s other people telling me where I’ve got to go. It’s not my go-kart any more, not when somebody else is writing the check. You’re in their field, like you’ve played baseball or basketball at somebody else’s house, where they have all the rules of the court. That’s no fun.”

Playing Harvey demonstrated the opposite end of Howard’s own spirituality. “As long as you keep trying to do what’s right, and you make your mistakes along the way and accept the consequences of your mistakes, you’ll keep surviving. Harvey refused to accept the consequences of his mistakes. He refused to change. He refused to grow. He refused to be human and became something less than human. I don’t even think he’s made that transition in the end. Remember, look into his eyes.”

The film leaves it open for a sequel, and Howard is game. “I don’t know, man. I’ve heard that a couple times. I would be interested in seeing what Harvey is like in the future. I mean, I haven’t delivered Harvey home yet. So, you’re still kind of responsible for them until they get home. You know?”

Fighting opens to theaters April 24th.

For the trailer, poster, stills and more movie info, go to the Fighting Movie Page.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Rogue Pictures
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