Christian Slater emerges from 'Bad Things' with new outlook
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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."
'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."
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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