Harrelson vs. Harrelson at weekend box office

Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:57pm EST
 
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By Jay A. Fernandez

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Woody Harrelson rarely fails to surprise.

After artfully taking a banjo to an undead redneck's head in September's "Zombieland," the Oscar-nominated, Texas-born pacifist next appears as Army casualty-notification officer Capt. Tony Stone in the indie drama "The Messenger" and as a sky-is-falling pirate-radio DJ in the disaster epic "2012" -- both opening Friday.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: HOW DID YOU RECONCILE YOUR PERSONAL POLITICS WITH THE NATURE OF "THE MESSENGER" AND THE CHARACTER?

Woody Harrelson: I do think probably completely differently than Tony Stone. His big thing is he wants to be in combat. The time I spent with those soldiers, and also at Fort Dix where we shot, and the Casualty Notification Office in Arlington -- all of it had a profound impact on me. Because it's one thing to be anti-war -- and appropriate right now, because like most of the wars we've had since World War II, they're wars based more on spreading capitalism than on spreading democracy ...

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: WHY DO YOU HATE AMERICA, WOODY?

Harrelson: (Laughs.) The one thing that my whole ideology lacked was the compassion for the soldier, and now that's been taken care of. I have a great deal of respect for these people who go over there and risk their lives every day for very little money just because of the love for their country, so I've come to really revere the soldier. I feel like the movie is really a journey you take with your heart, and my part of that journey began with going to Walter Reed. It accessed places in my heart I wasn't necessarily expecting to access. It was important for me, because I'm definitively anti-war, pro-peace. I do think that supporting the troops is a lot bigger question than supporting the war.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: YOUR ROLE IN "2012" SEEMS LIKE A MORE NATURAL FIT FOR YOU. DO YOU GET DISPATCHED OR DO YOU SURVIVE?

Harrelson: Dispatched. Oh, it's pretty great, man! It's a volcanic eruption of a big chunk of rock that's on fire. Like a giant chunk of magma taking me out. You'll see.   Continued...