Actor Christian Slater has worked plenty of life experience into his 29 years. CBS This Morning Contributor Eleanor Mondale sat down with him to talk about his new movie, his role in a Broadway play, and the hard times he hopes he has left behind.
In his latest film, Very Bad Things, a bachelor party careens out of control. Before you know it, murder crashes the party, and Slater's character is the leader of the pack.
"He's pretty demented," Slater says of his character. "He doesn't have a huge value on human life. He looks at people as pounds of flesh, really, which is very scary."
The "personal experience" he refers to is a night of binging and fighting that led to a prison sentence. Slater is serving three years' probation in connection with his arrest in August 1997. Police said the actor punched his girlfriend, assaulted a man who tried to help her, and resisted arrest.
"With my situation, I had a particularly horrendous evening and have paid the consequences and taken responsibility for that and certainly learned a great deal," says the actor. "And I have a disease [alcoholism], and that's what I'm dealing with on a daily basis. It pretty much wants to kill me."
For the last 15 months, Slater says, he has been working on his recovery, learning more about how to deal with his addiction, and, he adds, "getting honest about it."
Part of what helps keep Slater honest is his role in Side Man, a Broadway play about a trumpet player and his son. His return to the stage was something of a homecoming for Slater, who was a child theater star. At the age of nine, he was starring with Dick Van Dyke in a touring production of The Music Man.
"I started out in theater," says the actor. "That's been my foundation in this business. It feels good to kind of come full circle and go back to doing that."
He especially likes the unpredictability of live theater.
"You can tell from the first beat of the play what kind of night we're going to have," Slater says. "But then, sometimes audiences surprise you, too. You end up getting a standing ovation and you end up [saying], 'My God, I didn't see this coming'."