Aaron Eckhart finds guidance from an unlikely source in Line of Duty clip

Aaron Eckhart‘s Frank Penny in the upcoming film Line of Duty needs redemption, and he may be able to find it with the help of a young kid name “D” (played by Elijah M. Cooper).

Penny is a disgraced cop battling against the clock to find an important member of the police captain’s (played by Giancarlo Esposito) family whose abductor he accidentally shot, in the Steven C. Miller-directed film. In an exclusive clip from the action thriller, Penny gets a call about an incident that’s taking place while on duty and he needs “D” to push him to take it on.

“Frank is that quintessential Hollywood down and out cop, he’s been through it and he’s a little rough around the edges,” Eckhart tells EW about his character. “He’s had some upsetting incidents in his career and during his life and he’s sort of recovering from all that. He’s sort of been demoted to the foot beat and he’s on the corner talking to his constituents and then it all breaks loose. 

The whole premise of the film is that the police captain’s daughter has been taken hostage and is going to be killed. There’s a time limit and Frank has to find all the clues and put them together so he can find the girl and save her. So he redeems himself, it’s that classic down and out cop who has to redeem himself and by the end hopefully all is good afterwards.”

As highlighted in the clip, the relationship between Penny and one of his youngest constituents is an important one in the film. Even though “D” is many years younger than Penny, he serves as an important influence in his life.

“‘D’ and I become pals out on the streets and we have a nice little friendship,” Eckhart shares. “He knows my weaknesses and I’m okay with that. I get a call that there’s been a shooting and ‘D’ hears the call. And because I’m sort of a wrecked guy, I don’t know if I’m going to take the call or not and it’s ‘D’ who helps me find the courage to confront my fears and take the call.

“That relationship between Frank and D is one of the best in the film. At the end of the movie, it comes around and we see that it’s a humbling relationship because we’re all humans. No one is better than the next. We’re all just trying to get by in life, and we can influence each other no matter our age or where we’re at in life.”

Eckhart admits he’s fully invested in telling stories that have a specific message for viewers that includes and extends beyond entertainment. He wants the characters he brings to life moving forward to tell a story that will inspire viewers.

“It was important to me when I decided to do this film, and really any other film I do from here on out basically, is that [it fit a certain criteria.] It’s important to me that the film be entertaining and can be enjoyed by the whole family. I was everyone to be entertained but that they can also find a message in the story.

“This film certainly fit this bill. It’s a very human film, and it’s about caring and redemption. It’s a film about going to those dark places that you fear and with the help of others, coming out the other side. And that we’re all connected and that we all need each other, and that we can always find some common ground. So that was very important for me when I signed on.”

Line of Duty, which also costars Ben McKenzie, will hit theaters and on demand Nov. 15.

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