Ryan Phillippe shows true colors

Courtney Linde

Ryan Phillippe is no stranger to the big screen. With film credits including “Cruel Intentions,” “Antitrust” and “Crash,” the 2006 recipient of the prestigious Best Picture Academy Award, Phillippe already has an impressive resumé.

Next up for the actor is the war film “Stop-Loss,” which will arrive in theaters tomorrow.

The Villanovan recently had the opportunity to speak with Phillippe on his latest project.

When you received the lead role of Brandon, did you know what stop-loss was?

Well, I knew a little bit just from watching “Nightline” – I’m kind of a news junkie.

So I was somewhat familiar with the term, what it meant, what it forced upon someone.

But it wasn’t really until I started meeting soldiers and people who had been affected by the stop-loss order, and that’s when it really came to mean something more to me.

I mean, you would hear things like backdoor draft and I think it is that in a lot of ways.

But when you meet the people whose lives are kind of put on hold or torn apart or, you know, put at further risk and you see what it does to their family, I think it has a much different meaning.

How did you prepare yourself for the emotional mindset of your character?

Really spending a lot of time with soldiers, [like] Kim’s brother; Kim Peirce is the director.

Her brother was in the Army and signed up after 9/11, and it was a really controversial thing in his family because they’re pretty liberal.

And he went over there and one of his best friends in his unit was a guy, Harvey, who really inspires this story.

Harvey’s wife had given birth while he was away on his second tour, and he was supposed to get out and come home and have his wife and child.

And they stop-lossed him and that was sort of the inspiration.

So the fact that it came from such a personal place made it easy to connect to.

How would you describe your character in this film and how you think it’s different from other characters you’ve played?

Well firstly, I would describe him as a guy who has always done the right thing in his life by all accounts, and is a guy of true character and strength.

And he’s compromised by the choice he has to make regarding being forced back into combat when he’s made up his mind and he’s meant to be out.

But that’s who the guy is … a really solid guy, one who would never think he would be in pursuit for anything because he did what was right more often than not.

And in terms of the way it’s different from anything I’ve done, I don’t know. I mean, I think that there’s some superficial reasons.

I think like the whole Texas thing. I’ve never really done a character from that part of the world, and there is a whole mentality down there that I think is quite different and interesting.

But I think there is something about becoming a man in some regards.

And I don’t think I’ve done that sort of film where you’re seeing a drastic change in a person over part of their life.

Could you tell us if you have any projects in the near future that you’re working on?

Well, I finished a movie this fall in London that I think is going to be really cool. It’s a film called “Franklyn,” and it’s with Eva Green and this actor, Sam Riley, who is a really great young British actor.

It’s really like nothing else you’ve ever seen. That’s the kind of stuff I try to find. It’s really original.

The closest description I heard was … they said it’s like “Batman” meets “Magnolia,” so it’s really kind of interesting.

And then right now I’m kind of looking at a couple of things, and I’m doing a lot of writing right now.

If you weren’t an actor, what other career can you see yourself pursuing?

A ninja. I really think about that sometimes.

But yeah, I’ve kind of always said a teacher, and I know it sounds, you know, kind of predictable or boring.

But something affecting children in a positive way and kind of education; I think it would be something along those lines.