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Fighting - Terrence Howard interview


Compiled by Jack Foley

TERRENCE Howard talks about his role alongside Chaning Tatum in Fighting, what appealed to him about it and whether he understands the attraction of fighting in real life…

Q. How did you approach this character? He seems very different from you…
Terrence Howard: There was some piece of myself in that character. There was some broken spirit that I haven’t overcome. It’s like therapy. You have to expose the frightened side of you.

Q. How would you describe him? As a hustler he could have been someone hard to relate to?
Terrence Howard: He couldn’t do a decent thing. Could you imagine having the impetus toward something good but not knowing how to express it anymore? The world had beat him up so badly that he no longer knew how to be himself. And if he saw himself in someone else like he did with Shawn he did what the world did to him, by trying to exploit him. He didn’t want to care about Shawn, and every time he started to, he would ask Shawn to make another compromise, that would stop him from wanting to be better.

Q. He felt that he couldn’t be a winner…
Terrence Howard: You cannot be a winner. You can take a bit of the fruit but it has to be stolen. It’s the loser in all of us that we don’t want to be. I would hate seeing him make those choices. I wanted him to do better but he didn’t know how.

Q. Can you understand the attraction of fighting?
Terrence Howard: We don’t like where we are in ourselves. It’s never the other person we are fighting. We are fighting ourselves, and what they remind of us in ourselves. We were not meant to fight. The human face was not made to receive punches, so the question is why do we fight and who are we fighting? That’s what I think this movie is about. I don’t think it glorifies the fighting but somehow the fighting is so intrinsic in humanity. This fighting has no rules and its life and death. It’s not about black eyes and bloody noses, if someone wants to kill somebody that’s what happens.

Q. What was it like to act with Channing?
Terrence Howard: His character is right there in front of you. He will go through the transition eye to eye and he searches you out and you are forced to search out yourself inside of his own eyes. That’s a great gift to be that vulnerable and share what you are feeling. The fighting scenes seem so much more powerful because he was so vulnerable when we were just talking.

Read our review of Fighting