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One of the most talked-about performances at this year’s Toronto film festival was Woody Harrelson’s searing turn as a corrupt Los Angeles police officer in Rampart. EW’s Owen Gleiberman called the film “tense, shocking, complex, [and] mesmerizing” and raved that Harrelson plays his role “with intricate demonic force.” Rampart, which will receive a one-week awards qualification run on Nov. 23 before its nationwide release in January, could result in Harrelson’s third career Oscar nomination. (Not coincidentally, the film was directed by Oren Moverman, who guided Harrelson to his Oscar-nominated performance in 2009’s The Messenger.)

But first, below, here is an exclusive first look at the visually arresting Rampart poster, which will begin showing up in theaters this weekend:

I recently chatted with Harrelson about his lauded performance:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: On The Messenger, you and Ben Foster only blocked your scenes before shooting because that’s how Oren likes to do it. Was it the same process this time?

WOODY HARRELSON: Yeah, there wasn’t any rehearsal. I prefer to rehearse. I like to rehearse the thing to death and then keep rehearsing. But he don’t go that way. It’s a wild way to go. You end up rehearsing on film.

You’ve got some tough scenes with Robin Wright, who plays a woman your character dates with combustible results.

We were old buddies for like a long time. We had to get some alcohol in us. A lot of alcohol in us. We were drinking shots of tequila.

You seem like such a laid-back guy. Why do find yourself attracted to playing these short-tempered, on-edge characters?

They’re a lot more interesting to play than a guy that’s got his s— together. And I’m one of them. Remember that and mark that down!

Your character in Rampart drinks quite a bit, and now you’ve just finished playing another drunk, Haymitch, in The Hunger Games.

Honestly, I felt like there was a little too much sobriety. We’ll see how it all comes together. But there is some drunkenness.

Dave on Twitter: @davekarger

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