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The Contractor's Chris Pine Shares What Spoke To Him About His New Action Thriller - Exclusive

In "The Contractor," Chris Pine stars as Special Forces Sergeant James Harper, who is left unable to provide for his family after he is forced out of the army. With mounting bills to pay, Harper joins a private military firm, a place where he can once again use his skills to fight for his country and everything it represents. But when his first mission for his new employer doesn't go as planned, Harper finds himself fighting for far more fundamental concerns, like staying alive long enough to return to his family.

It's this clash between visceral action and the examination of important issues — like the mysterious work of private contractors and what happens to soldiers when they're discharged from the military — that makes the film so potent. And as the desperate, determined Harper, Pine quietly but powerfully expresses the layers of emotion his character faces as he realizes his faith in America and the myths it tells may have been misplaced.

Pine sat down with Looper to discuss why he wanted to be part of "The Contractor" and the reasons the story resonated with him.

It's 'a character study wrapped in ... an action thriller'

Chris Pine was excited about "The Contractor" as soon as he read the script, which includes some powerful imagery. "It's a really complex little Rubik's Cube of a script," Pine observed. "On the surface, it's a very simple story, it's kind of trite, we've seen it before, it's [a] very straight, down-the-middle genre film. What's super complex for me is what lies underneath. In fact, the last image of the film (in the script) is James Harper wading out in the murky water with an oil refinery ahead of him and a broken, cracked Coca-Cola can washing by his dirty feet. I said, 'That's the film I want to make.' Whatever's in that kind of image to unpack, I want to get at."

Although the film includes plenty of thrilling action, Pine revealed that the part of the story that spoke to him was its exploration of something far more fundamental to the human experience. "This is really a character study wrapped in the packaging of an action thriller," Pine reflected. "This is the study of a man who, like all of us humans, uses fiction and stories to give purpose and meaning to their life, and the stories that he's been told and indoctrinated with are the stories of courage and sacrifice and honor, and country, America, protecting democracy. Then, very quickly, those are shown either to be corrupt or they're taken away from him, and all that he has left is the desire to survive and to protect his family. Those are things that go way beyond ideology and politics. Those are deep-seated, deep-rooted needs, and they're primal and lizard-brain stuff. I really was interested in the ideas [that] the human animal creates these stories that we live by and what happens when they are taken from you."

"The Contractor" is now playing in select theaters, and is also available on demand and for digital purchase.