One minute despair, then sunshine, then you’re levelled off.’ Did he have personal experience of loss on which to draw? That was on and off for 18 months, and finally off at the end of last year. And if so, might that explain why she doesn’t exist? ‘I believe if you contextualise something then it will manifest in your life. It absolutely works and it’s not hocus-pocus.’ Perhaps it works better with inanimate objects and jobs.‘I believe everything in life has a spiritual component and everything's fair game.You have to dwell on those feelings and nurture them. There’s no doubt in my mind he waited to say goodbye.’ His voice thickens in his throat. ‘I still have all the leashes displayed prominently,’ he says. ‘Hopefully I will have kids one day.’ Maybe he could just get another dog? I’d like a harem of dogs, wiener dogs all the way up to great danes.My character, Howie, tends to gravitate towards group counselling. His character in the movie finds comfort in looking at the video of his little boy that was on his phone. She wants to get rid of all his clothes, his toys, even the house they lived in. ‘I have pictures everywhere and I still look at his pictures. ‘I’ve got to get a wife at some point,’ he says, matter of factly. But I’ll never settle down until I get a wife.’ He sounds like he’s talking about getting a wife as if he’s ticking it off a shopping list for the supermarket. I’ve had many girlfriends and I continue to have, I just haven’t found the one, and that’s problematic.’ He’s 42. It is as if he were trying to rein himself in, curtail excess.As Twoface, Batman’s foe in The Dark Knight, he made you feel sick just looking at him.
They figure in my life on a daily basis.’ He gave up drinking years ago, followed by smoking, both by self-hypnosis. He’s much more the ‘I can make myself do anything’ type. I’m very interested in my health and I want to live the rest of my life very healthily.He admits to needing help and Nicole’s character is the opposite. ’ In a super sunny Los Angeles hotel room a year after making the film, Eckhart seems to be able to darken instantly. I know it’s not your child.’ He looks guilty for almost comparing his dog to a child, so I reassure him that when my dog died I was also very upset. Perhaps he’s thinking it’s the right time for a wife?If two people have lost their child you are not two as one any more, and there’s the question of physical intimacy: are we going to have more children? ‘There are definite stages of grief, but no chronology. It can be 5, 4, 2, all mixed up and unpredictable like the English weather. His most recent girlfriend was the actress Molly Sims.As an actor you want to be challenged, but staying in that head space…’ He shakes his head.‘When you’re able to throw it off at the end of the film it felt good.’ Does he mean it was like a grief workout? You talk to people going through grief when you are in rehearsals. When I came home he was wagging his tail and looked great.