Being a young working actor can be a grueling gig. You make your living with service jobs that you can drop at a moment’s notice if you get a role, planning your schedule around audition after audition only to meet various spins on the same rejection. You’re too short for this role. They loved you for another one, and if only you were ten pounds thinner, you’d have had it. Or you’re just missing that indefinable something that the director simply must have for the vital part of Security Guard No. 2.
Then one day your agent calls with good news! Not only was there a callback, but it’s a big role. Maybe even a lead. As long as you don’t mind a shoot that will take place mostly at night, on a shoestring budget, and require you to spend most of your time doused in mud and corn syrup. Congratulations, the part that’s going to feed you for the next couple of months (if you’re lucky) is in a quick-and-dirty horror flick.
Take heart, though. There are many dues to pay in Hollywood, and the horror movie is a time-honored rite of passage, even for some of the biggest and most prestigious stars. Johnny Depp might be raking in the Disney money these days, but famously, his big screen debut was as a teen in the original Nightmare in Elm Street. Really, what could be cooler than being introduced to the world by getting swallowed by a bed and then expelled as a geyser of blood? And any decent player of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon knows that one of his earliest acting challenges was getting stabbed in the throat with an arrow in the original Friday the 13th.
Continue reading the rest of this piece, and check out the slideshow that includes an early-twentysomething Jason Alexander with a full head of hair, over at The Atlantic.
Tags | The Atlantic | horror | slideshow | before they were famous | essay | 12 notes