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...on his new outlook on life
[170k MPEG-3] or [235k WAV]

...on his philsophy
[100k MPEG-3] or [130k WAV]

...on suffering for his art
[85k MPEG-3] or [120k WAV]

Christian Slater emerges from 'Bad Things' with new outlook

Web posted on:
Wednesday, December 02, 1998 5:28:58 PM EST

From Correspondent Cynthia Tornquist

ATLANTA (CNN) -- Christian Slater is the first to admit that his life has been a roller coaster ride that has included troubles with drugs, alcohol and the law. But he's definitely on the uphill part of the ride.

The 29-year-old actor not only is one of the stars of the just-released film, "Very Bad Things," but he has also joined the cast of Broadway's "Side Man."

In "Very Bad Things," Slater plays a cocaine-sniffing party animal on a collision course. But Slater says fans should not confuse the role with his own turbulent past. He says he has turned over a new leaf.

"I think it's important to stay as centered and just remember that we're not in charge," says Slater. "There is a bigger thing going on here."

Slater goofs around with co-star Cameron Diaz on the set of "Very Bad Things"

'I don't have to suffer'

Slater says he saw the big picture after a bout with drugs and alcohol landed him in a California jail this past February. In December's Rolling Stone, Slater said a drunken episode almost cost him his life when he tried to kill himself by jumping off a balcony.

In the past 10 years, while making movies like "Broken Arrow" (1996), "True Romance" (1993), and "Pump Up the Volume" (1990), he has also been arrested for drunken driving and carrying a gun onto a plane.

"To have gone through a lot of stuff myself," Slater says, he feels he's "come out the other side, in my opinion, a more well-rounded human being with an appreciation, a new respect, a new belief system about life."

Watch a clip of Slater in "Side Man"

Video clip: 800k QuickTime

Slater's evolution seems to have carried over to his art. While on the set of "Very Bad Things" -- directed by "Chicago Hope" star Peter Berg -- Slater says he made this discovery.

"I learned I don't have to suffer for my art," Slater says. "There's a part of me that felt like to play a dark character like this, I would have to go into that dark place. And the irony is you don't at all."

Playing 'Side Man'

Currently, Slater is taking a break from films to appear in the Broadway play, "Side Man." He portrays the son of a jazz trumpet player.

Slater is part of an ensemble cast.

"Whether I was the lead or a small role wouldn't have mattered," he says. "Just the opportunity to get back on the stage was what I was most focused on."

Both he and the play have received favorable notices.

"It's nice to come back around in this respect and have some tools. (I've) learned a lot about what's really important," says Slater.

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