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Girl in a jacket


Emile Hirsch plays Sean, an upstart young software developer dispatched to Moscow, where he’s caught in the middle of an alien invasion in Chris Gorak’s “The Darkest Hour.”

Filmed on location in and around Moscow, the movie picks up the action in immersive 3D, after an alien attack. It follows Hirsch’s Sean and a ragtag group of survivors made up of actors Olivia Thirlby, Rachael Taylor, Joel Kinnaman and Max Minghella as they move around the city trying to hide from the invaders, who are cloaked in darkness.

A lifelong fan of science fiction, Hirsch cites “The Matrix” as his favorite sci-fi film, and worked with directors Larry and Andy Wachowski on “Speed Racer.” It was this love of the genre that drew him to “The Darkest Hour.”

Q:        Who do you play in THE DARKEST HOUR?

A:         I play a guy called Sean, who’s with his buddy Ben, played by Max Minghella. They’re software designers and they both come to Moscow to pitch a website that they’ve come up with. The deal goes badly and this shady Swedish businessman, played by Joel Kinnaman, dupes them. They’re at a bar nursing their wounds over a couple of beers and then suddenly, there’s this crazy invasion of aliens.

Q:        What grabbed you about the script?

A:         It seemed like a mixed genre movie, in the sense that it’s sci-fiction but there are also elements of horror and suspense. There are bits and pieces of “Jaws” and “28 Days Later.”  Also, after AVATAR, which was one of the greatest movie going experiences I’ve ever had, I remember walking out of the theater and saying, “The next movie I make, I want to make it in 3D.” I wanted to be a part of the wave of the future, in a sense.

Q:        Does it change the language of the performance you give, to deliver it in 3D?

A:         Not for me. I know it does for the camera guys but we had a really sophisticated camera crew;  They’re the same guys who made “Avatar.” It was fun because they had familiar American voices while we were far away in Moscow and that was comforting sometimes.

Q:        How have you been enjoying shooting on location in Moscow?

A:         Where I’m from in Los Angeles, people don’t really talk about Moscow and it isn’t a city that is visited by the people I know but I think that was also something that, when I read the script, offered a different angle. It was such an unfamiliar environment, so to set a story like this in a place that was alien to me made it a lot more interesting. It makes for a really exotic backdrop.

Q:        You worked with Chris Gorak on “Lords of Dogtown” when he was a production designer.  How have his talents transferred into directing?

A:         I think that, in the case of Chris, he’s worked with so many amazing filmmakers in the capacity of being an art director and a production designer: Spielberg, Fincher, all these incredible directors, getting to work alongside them.  He’s a very thoughtful and articulate guy. He takes his time. He’s not an egotist; he’s a sensitive artist. It’s really nice working on a movie like this with a director like him because if he were different I think it would make for a different kind of challenge.

Hirsch’s career on the big screen began in 2002, when he starred as Francis Doyle in Peter Care’s “The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys.” It was a performance that put him immediately on the map and led to a string of challenging roles in independent cinema. In 2004, he was introduced to Hollywood audiences starring as Matthew Kidman, the high school student who discovers he has a porn star neighbour, in “The Girl Next Door.” Alongside Elisha Cuthbert, Hirsch drew impressive reviews for the role and became one of America’s most exciting young performers in the process.

A steadfast refusal to be typecast ensured a remarkable list of credits to follow; the young actor has worked with high-profile directors including Sean Penn, Gus van Sant and Ang Lee.

It is with Penn that he has collaborated most, both as a co-star in “Milk” and as the lead in Penn’s Oscar-nominated directorial effort “Into The Wild” where Hirsh took the lead role and was nominated for a Screen Actors’ Guild award for Best Actor.

“The Darkest Hour” (3D) opens January 25 nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.

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