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October 19, 2012
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Matthew Fox embraces crazy 'Alex Cross'
By Jim Slotek, QMI Agency


Matthew Fox. (WENN.COM)

When last we saw Matthew Fox, he was playing with parallel timelines as the upstanding Dr. Jack Shephard on Lost, a beacon of boring morality amid a cast of colourful deviants.

Well, get a load of him now, sinewy, deranged and shaven-headed in two different movies - the cop thriller Alex Cross, in which he plays a torturing serial killer nicknamed Picasso, and the upcoming Brad Pitt zombie thriller World War Z, in which he plays an emotionally "damaged" Navy SEAL.

It reached a point where, he says, "my daughter, who's 15, was going, 'You're kind of lookin' hideous dad,'" he recalls wryly, his hair somewhat regrown and a few pounds back on his frame courtesy of his wife's pasta.

It wasn't as if he planned on putting a stake through Jack's heart.

"After Lost was over, I really didn't look for anything for a year," says Fox, who gives the most "method" performance in Alex Cross, a film which casts Tyler Perry as the titular police psychologist (previously played by Morgan Freeman) in the "rebooting" of the James Patterson novels-turned-movies.

When he was finally ready to work again, it was in a play on London's West End, in a characteristically emotionally-raw Neil LaBute play In A Forest, Dark And Deep. He was pitched Alex Cross - his first movie post-Lost - by director Rob Cohen (The Fast And The Furious) during the run of the play.

"The first time Rob and I talked, he kind of described the guy to me, and the first guy that popped into my head was Ted Bundy - because Ted just looked like the last person on Earth that would be a serial killer. He just looked sort of dashing and prototypically handsome and charming.

"And obviously it changed," Fox adds with a laugh, as he thinks about his monstrous end-product. "(Picasso) ended up being a lot more openly psychopathic. So stuff changes as you work on it."

Interestingly, Fox and Perry hardly spoke during the filming of Alex Cross, except during two days of fight scene shooting, when Perry accidentally clocked Fox in the face with an elbow.

"It happens," Fox says of the accident. "He was so unbelievably horrified. He called me for about two days just apologizing. But when you get hit in the face, that's pretty much an instinctual thing, it pisses you off."

(The two actually crossed paths in front of me in a hotel conference room just before Fox met the press. "It's good to see you all regular and eating and not crazy. We can finally talk," Perry said, putting Fox in a bear-hug.)

"We never really made a decision not to communicate with each other," Fox says, picking up the thread later. "That was really just driven by the nature of the film. The movie is just two guys trying to kill each other. It's not like you stop and start talking about, 'How's the family?'"

Adding to his edginess was the fact that filming on Alex Cross and the reportedly troubled World War Z overlapped (the zombie apocalypse movie has been pushed back from Christmas '12 to spring '13).

"The 'troubled' part has been exaggerated," Fox says, adding that the zombie-killing was "a lot of fun."

jim.slotek@sunmedia.ca

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