One wouldn’t have necessarily been able to predict it based on his rakish, smirky turn in Barry Levinson’s 1999 coming-of-age dramedy Liberty Heights, but courtesy of roles in films like 3:10 to Yuma, Hostage, Alpha Dog and 30 Days of Night, Ben Foster has evolved into his generation’s go-to guy for brooding, disarmingly packaged menace. Meeting him in person, it’s easy to see why; though he stands only 5”’9″, he has the same piercing eyes, and not much of a need to please. Foster, who just recently moved to New York, has a well-chronicled affinity for meditation and a perhaps less well known appreciation of tattoos, which he characterizes as “body mapping.”
He also has a moving new film, Oren Moverman’s The Messenger, underscores the fact that the psychological tolls of war don’t expire at our borders. On loan from filming a remake of Charles Bronson’s The Mechanic, which he describes as “good, old-fashioned assassin entertainment,” opposite Jason Statham, Foster is an uncommonly thoughtful and intelligent, if reserved, interview subject. We chatted at a Beverly Hills hotel suite recently; for an excerpt of the conversation, from H Magazine, click here.