What the Hell Happened to Christian Slater?

Christian Slater

Christian Slater

When Christian Slater came onto the scene, he was compared to a young Jack Nicholson.  In the late 80’s and early 90’s he was one of Hollywood’s most talked-about actors.  While he never really headlined any massive box office hits, he sure seemed like a big time movie star.  Slater also made headlines with his frequent run-ins with the law.  By 2011, the internet was buzzing with rumors that he was dead.

What the hell happened?

Christian Slater - The Music Man - 1980

Christian Slater – The Music Man – 1980

Christian Slater’s father was a soap star and his mother was a casting agent.  At age seven, Slater’s mom gave him a bit part on the soap, One Life to Live.  When Slater was 8, he made an unscheduled appearance on The Joe Franklin Show.  Slater’s mother was a guest on the show and when the host spotted her son waiting in the wings, he called Slater on to the set.

Director Michael Kidd happened to be watching the show when Slater came on and ended up casting him in the 1980 Broadway revival of The Music Man starring Dick Van Dyke.

At first I had no idea what I was doing,  I was up on stage and I’d be waving at my mother in the audience. But as the tour went on, I started to grasp the idea that I had to be a whole different character and not myself when I was on stage.

Christian Slater - Standing Room Only: Sherlock Holmes - 1981

Christian Slater – Standing Room Only: Sherlock Holmes – 1981

In 1981 Slater appeared on the HBO series Standing Room Only.  In the early days of premium cable, Standing Room Only presented various stage acts on TV.  Slater appeared very briefly in a televised performance of Sherlock Holmes starring Frank Langella as the famous detective.

Christian Slater - CBS Library - Robbers, Rooftops and Witches - 1982

Christian Slater – CBS Library – Robbers, Rooftops and Witches – 1982

The following year, Slater appeared in an episode of the anthology show, CBS Library.  His segment adapted the Ray Bradbury story, The Invisible Boy.  Slater played a young boy whose parents are away.  In their absence, he is being cared for by an old woman in the woods who claims to be a witch.  He asks her to share her magic with him so she makes a potion which she claims has turned him invisible.  Slater spends the rest of the episode trying to determine whether or not the magic is real.  While filming the TV show, the young actor broke down crying on the set because the script called for him to take off his clothes.

Christian Slater - ABC Weekend Specials: The Haunted Mansion Mystery - 1983

Christian Slater – ABC Weekend Specials: The Haunted Mansion Mystery – 1983

In 1983, Slater starred in an ABC Weekend Special based on Virginia Masterman-Smith’s novel, The Haunted Mansion Mystery.  Slater played a neighborhood kid who tells the new girl in town that her new home is haunted by a creepy old miser.  According to legend, the miser hid a million dollars in cash in a secret room in the mansion’s basement.  The kids go on a treasure hunt but are trapped in a cave-in beneath the house.

Christian Slater - Living Proof: The Hank Williams, Jr. Story - 1983

Christian Slater – Living Proof: The Hank Williams, Jr. Story – 1983

Slater also appeared in the TV movie, Living Proof: The Hank Williams, Jr. Story.  Richard Thomas, aka John-Boy from The Waltons, played the country singer who struggled to get out from his father’s shadows.  The movie depicted Williams’ bouts with alcoholism and a near-fatal mountain climbing accident.  Jay O. Sanders played rancher Dick Willey who accompanied Williams on the climb.  Slater played Willey’s son who stayed with Williams’ while his dad went for help.

Christian Slater - Tales from the Darkside - 1984

Christian Slater – Tales from the Darkside – 1984

In 1984, Slater appeared in an episode of the horror anthology series, Tales From the Darkside.  In A Case of the Stubborns, Slater played a teen whose grandfather is too stubborn to admit he’s dead.  Slater tries to prod his granddad on to the great beyond.  When that fails, he enlists the help of a reverend played by a pre-Star Trek Brent Spiner.

slater - the-legend-of-billie-jean

Christian Slater – The Legend of Billie Jean – 1985

Slater’s first role on the big screen was opposite 80’s superbabe (and Supergirl) Helen Slater in the teen rebellion comedy/drama, The Legend of Billie Jean.

The two Slaters (who are not related) played Texas siblings in the movie.  Billie Jean (Helen Slater) is harassed by a group of teenage boys.  Her brother Binx (Christian Slater) humiliates the boys.  As revenge, the boys steal Binx’s precious scooter.  When Binx goes to reclaim his scooter from the bullies, they beat him up and trash the scooter.  Billie Jean and Binx go to the head bully’s father and ask him for $608 dollars to fix the broken scooter.  Instead, he attempts to rape Billie Jean.  Binx pulls a gun on the would-be rapist and accidentally shoots him in the shoulder.  They escape and become fugitives.  Eventually, they take a willing hostage played by Keith Gordon and issue a demand for their money with the rally cry “fair is fair”.  The media coverage of the event makes Billie Jean into a teen icon.

Leadin up to 1984’s Supergirl, it was assumed that Helen Slater would become a movie star like Christopher Reeve.  Unfortunately, that movie tanked.   The next year, many assumed that Billie Jean would make Helen Slater a household name.  But that didn’t happen either.  Reportedly, Helen Slater was already something of a prima donna on the set despite not yet being a star.  Here are some stories from people who worked on the film:

During the scene when she was chasing the ambulance with Binx inside, the driver drove way too fast and she couldn’t keep up so she just stopped short right in the middle of the street stamping her feet in disgust.  The crowd of extras running full speed right behind her couldn’t stop in time and plowed into her knocking her over.  Everybody started to laugh and she stormed off to her tent.

I was an extra in The Legend of Billie Jean and I remember it took quite a few takes for the scene when they were going up the escalator in the Sunrise Mall.  The one take I remember the most is when Helen Slater overshot the rail and ended up in the waterfall.  She promptly got up and stomped off the scene mumbling to herself.  It took another two hours before we shot again.

Next: More Legend of Billie Jean and The Name of the Rose


Posted on September 20, 2012, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actor and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 104 Comments.

  1. Wow. Finally, I get Slater here (I’ve been waiting a decade for you to get to him)….only to realize his career has sucked. Sad, too, ’cause he’s a likable, funny actor.


  2. I didn’t know True Romance or Kuffs tanked. So, his only real hit was Broken Arrow – which I hated.


    • Even Broken Arrow was really only a hit overseas. Domestically it was a base hit at best. Slater’s only real smash was Robin Hood. And his part in that was really small.


      • Hmmm. You were right then. He never got to Kilmer level. I didn’t realize that until this article. You are ruining all of my childhood heros…thanks. BTW, I liked that show Breaking In…but never saw the others.


    • True Romance (1993)

      Post by agent817 on 9 hours ago
      What are your thoughts on this film? I remember I first watched this movie in 2001 after buying a VHS of it (Oh man, the moments when I buy a movie without having seen it first), but what led me to watch this was that I remember looking at the Kids-in-Mind website and noticing the ratings of how profane and violent it was. I wondered to myself just how high is the violence rate in the film, so I bought it and watched it that same day. I remember I greatly enjoyed it and sometime later I bought the two-disc DVD set. I also know that this one of Quentin Tarantino’s very few films that he ONLY WROTE but not directed (The other was “From Dusk Till Dawn,” but I have read that he only co-wrote the script for that and other parts were done by Robert Rodriguez). I had told my dad about this film and tried to get him to watch it, and we finally watched it together yesterday. He also liked the movie.

      Sometimes I wonder how different the film would have been if QT had directed it. Now don’t get me wrong, Tony Scott (RIP) did a great job at directing it and I am glad that Scott had it end the way it did as opposed to Tarantino’s original ending idea.

      I remember asking people if they were familiar with it, and they weren’t. On the surface, the name sounds like it could be romantic comedy or romantic drama, when the movie itself couldn’t be farther away from those genres. It was dramatic in some ways, and also comical, but this movie is still no Rom-Com or romantic drama.


  3. My wife and I were visiting my folks and we decided to rent a movie. At the video store, we ran across “The Name of the Rose.” Lynn said she’d seen it and it was pretty good. It had Sean Connery and F Murray Abraham and it was historical. That seemed to make it reasonably safe.

    My folks were using a VCR that did not have an operating remote, but we tend not to pause too much when we’re there, anyway.

    The bigger problem was that it turned out that Lynn had seen an ‘edited for TV’ version of the film.

    About 40 minutes in, a young Christian Slater, playing a friar in training, glimpsed the nether regions of a comely village girl and was so aroused that he proceeded to >ahem< 'make love' to her. The scene happened kind of out of nowhere and was VERY explicit.

    My wife started elbowing me- "make it stop! fast foward it or something!" But there was no remote, and I'm not sure fast fowarding it would've made things better. So we had no choice but to wait it out. The scene seemed to last forever, though I'm sure it was only a couple of minutes.

    A couple of VERY UNCOMFORTABLE minutes.


  4. “Heathers” is one of the signature films of our generation. Very dark, but very funny. “Very Bad Things” only managed the former.

    A friend of mine actually claims to judge prospective friends or boyfriends based on whether they appreciate “Heathers.” I wouldn’t go that far, but you’d need a pretty good explanation for not liking it.

    5 great lines/moments:

    – “Grow up, Heather, bulimia’s so ’87.”

    – “Whether to kill yourself or not is one of the most important decisions a teenager can make.”

    – “I love my dead gay son!”

    “Wonder how he’d react if his son had a limp wrist with a pulse.”

    – in guilt, Veronica burns her own hand with the car’s pop-out cigarette lighter. JD lights his cigarette off Veronica’s hand.

    – JD: FUCK YOU!! (he flips her off)

    (Veronica shoots his middle finger off his hand)


    • Heathers is great and I think starring in it is a good enough claim to fame. But Slater also has roles in some other small, cult movies as well as small roles in a couple of hits. So, all in all, not a terrible career. Most actors would kill to be in Heathers and True Romance.

      Great quotes, but you didn’t include my favorite. “Fuck me gently with a chainsaw.”

      I wanted to watch Very Bad Things for years to see if it was really as bad as I had heard it was. I finally got a chance to watch it and I only got about half way through before I was interrupted. I never bothered wathcing the end.


  5. He was so big in the early 90s and I could never figure out why he was famous. It seemed like the only movie worth getting excited about was Heathers.


  6. As much as it helped Slater in “Heathers” & ” Pump Up the Volume,” I’d say that his Jack-schtick may have ended up being a double-edged sword because (consciously or not) Slater seemed to take that persona and run with it, without realizing that impersonating another legend can only take you so far before audiences remember there’s no subsitute for the real thing.
    I’ve heard Tom Hanks being compared to Jimmy Stewart, but Hanks never seemed to imitate Stewart the way Slater imitated Jack.


  7. I enjoyed The Name of the Rose and feel it was prob his best role. I haven’t seen most of these films you mention including Heathers so don’t know for sure. I’m sure he’s best known for Robin Hood and Broken Arrow neither of which was stellar. He’s an ok actor (B-/C+ territory at best) but should have stuck w/ light comedy or wise cracking side kick type roles.

    Wasn’t he the one they brought on Mon Night Football several years ago in an attempt to boost ratings by having HWood types on the show and he totally bombed? As in he knew nothing about the game of football at all. That was the beginning of the end of that experiment I think. That and Dennis Miller.


    • If you enjoy dark comedy, you need to see Heathers. So many movies have tried to copy it and failed. It is truly a one-of-a-kind movie. Definitely not for everyone. (Suicide plays a major part in the plot.) But for those who appreciate a smart movie with a dark soul, it’s hysterical.

      I have to admit, I forgot he was even in Robin Hood. But I spent most of the 90s trying to block Robin Hood from my memories.

      I actually think Slater is a talented actor who could do a variety of roles. But he was his own worst enemy (as one of his canceled TV shows reminded us).


  8. I actually liked Dennis Miller on MNF.

    When asked about all the people who were just hoping he would fail, Miller said:

    “I’ve got more folks waitin’ in the weeds for me than Atticus Finch’s kids.”
    “I’m goin’ tonight dressed as a ham.”

    freaking classic.


    • At some point between his Weekend Update segments and his reinvention as a conservative mouthpiece, I lost my taste for Miller. He doesn’t so much tell jokes as he finds the most obscure reference imaginable and then dare you not to get it. I find myself wondering if he lost his touch or if he was never really funny to begin with. Maybe he needs the SNL writers backing him up. I dunno. I didn’t watch MNF, but I can definitely see where his brand of humor (constant references to philosophy, history and literature) may not have been the best fit.


  9. Watching Rocknrolla tonight, while reviewing The Mummy.

    Two suggestions: Thandie Newton and Brendan Fraser. Newton is SO hot, and in 1999, Fraser was the next action hero….and we saw how that worked out.


    • Fraser is on the short list. For a while, he was everywhere alwways threatening to be A-list. Never quite making it. Although he came pretty freaking close.

      It will take me a long while to get to Newton, I imagine. She made a stir with MI2, but I don’t think most people have any idea who she is.

      I’ll have to read your Mummy review. Personally, I hated it. But I’m probably being unfair.


      • Fraser is a really interesting case. I almost feel like he wasted his matinee idol good looks by being such a goof. Watch some of his dramas, and it’s clear that he could’ve had a career as a modern American Cary Grant. Maybe he just never could find the right series of roles, but he just was unable to shake the dippy comedy stuff and at some point even when he attempted to be serious, you just kind of expected him to do a pratfall at any second. If you’ve seen his appearances on “Scrubs” you know that his humour could be smart and sad as well as crazy, but most of what we got was “George of the Jungle” and “Dudley Do Right.” I’ll stop now and pick up the conversation once you’ve actually written the article. Really looking forward to it!


        • That’s pretty much my pre-research impression to. Sometimes that changes when I dig in. We’ll have to see.

          Fraser was/is extremely versatile. But I felt like that versatlity worked against him. Once he got typecast as a goofball it was hard to see him as anything else.


  10. Actually, Fraser did indeed ruin his perception with some awful script choices. I think maybe he stepped into a persona with Airheads…and never stepped out. But he can act. I remember his performance in Blast from the Past as quite sweet and smart. Not the movie itself, bleck.

    What’s wrong with The Mummy?


    • Well, Fraser starred in Ensino Man with Pauley Shore. I think that was the beginning of the end.

      I have never seen Blast From the Past, but it is sitting on the DVR as research right now.

      I hated just about everything about The Mummy. It was big, dumb, loud and full of bad CGI. The stock characters really pushed my buttons. There wasn’t a single original idea in the entire movie. About the only thing I liked about it was Fraser’s performance. He almost had enough charm to hold it all together. I am really amazed that the movie was a hit. But I know I am an outlier on this one.


  11. Good Lord, I’d forgotten about Encino Man! I hated that movie.

    As for The Mummy, ha! Everything you hated is why some of us go see escapism popcorn flicks.

    But I will add your opinion to my review. As a side note, the film was a breakout for Vosloo and Djalili.


  12. Queen of the Damned (film) really was a mix of plot lines from both Queen of the Damned and The Vampire Lestat. Both books of course were highly butchered and the only good thing the film had was the soundtrack. As for Interview, it was the first thing I saw with Slater in it…

    Very Bad Things I remember played on TV during the time The Hangover went off. It kind of seems The Hangover took many ideas from Very Bad Things, but kept them far less… well dark. For me (and probably many others) it started off somewhat comedic/promising, but quickly just grew too disgusting with the turns it took.

    Anyways, beyond Very Bad Things I have loved Slater in everything I’ve seen him in (granted, that hasn’t been everything he’s done). He’s one of my more favored actors out there. Problem being while I enjoy him and just about everything I see him in, I often don’t enjoy the show he’s in. If he had gotten the right movie under his belt (which may have happened if not for the troubled personal life) I really think he could have actually made it big. Shame really, for I at least find him to be a really good actor.

    On a final note, I really loved My Own Worst Enemy, but to be honest it didn’t have much going for it outside of Slater and a good story idea. I may be wrong, but it seemed pretty low budget that the cast seemed pretty small and not much in special effects. Hard to push things through now without those things – especially the latter.


    • It’s funny that “Very Bad Things” and “Heathers” were in essence “darker & edgier” versions and forerunners to “The Hangover” and “Mean Girls” respectively. “The Hangover” can be considered a cross between “Very Bad Things” and “Dude, Where’s My Car?” if “Mean Girls” is more or less, a cross between “Heathers” and “Clueless”.


  13. “And Alone in the Dark is known as one of (Boll’s) lesser films.”

    That’s saying a lot. Just like saying “Threshold” is one of Star Trek: Voyager’s worst episodes.


    • Voyager pretty much did me in for Star Trek. I came back and tried to watch Enterprise, but I was burned out. I’m not sure if I have seen Threshold or not. It was just a bad show. Which is a shame because it had a great premise.


  14. I wonder if part of Christian Slater’s problems is that he just never really appealed (or had “mass-market appeal”) to a wide-range of audiences (and thus, was never really a big box office draw). When he was younger (like around the time he did “Heathers” and shortly there afterward), it was mostly teenage girls. Plus, he starred in some back-to-back flops in the early ’90s, (some of which are now considered cult classics like “Pump Up The Volume” and “True Romance”).

    You can also argue that Christian was partially shunned by Hollywood due to his various run-ins w/ the law. That kind of stuff not only limits an actor’s marketability, but can make one unavailable at times.

    Also, maybe because of the frequent comparisons to Jack Nicholson (especially when he was up and coming), Christian was never really taken that seriously as an actor. Starring in Uwe Boll directed movies certainly doesn’t help.


    • I think he did have a limited appeal. Most guys I knew at the time liked him. But his biggest fan base was young girls. His legal problems definitely hurt too. I actually think Hollywood gave him more chances than they should have based on the perception that he was a cool, young guy. His track record was horrid.



      Opening with the world’s longest crawl, but still requiring lengthy exposition and numerous flashbacks

      Creating a scenario so daft that the casting of glassy-eyed party girl Tara Reid as a brainiac museum employee seems sensible

      Inexplicably hiring two lead actors (Christian Slater and Stephen Dorff) whose Jack Nicholson-as-callow-Brat-Packer routines essentially cancel each other out


    • Re: Actors whose careers you would have thought would have been bigger

      Christian Slater would have been a bigger star if he didn’t get blacklisted from Hollywood for several years. He was a big coke dealer to the younger (at the time) Hollywood crowd and supposedly got a lot of them hooked. Just about all of the Brat Pack bought from him.


      • I don’t completely agree with that comment; It highly likely Christian Slater scored coke for young actors, but that Brat Pack group was older than him, so I don’t think it was those guys/gals.


  15. FRC’s Fallen Icon #5 – Christian Slater:

    What went wrong?

    It was the success of Slater’s career that led to his downward spiral, the excesses of his growing fame caused a number of run-ins with the law and whilst his acting career continued to thrive up until the mid nineties the film offers eventually began to dry up. His first serious encounter with the police took place in 1989 when he drunkenly tried to outrun them in his car, hit a lamp-post and ended up kicking an officer. Nice work Slater.

    Future events in the mid nineties led him to spending time in jail with his offences including boarding a plane with a gun in his luggage, attacking his girlfriend whilst under the influence of cocaine and biting a police officer on his stomach! This crazy behaviour coupled with his poor career decisions led to him taking on a number of unforgettable roles, with few of his post 1994 films being worth your time. Whilst he has eventually managed to move away from the bad-boy image that took over in his twenties, Slater has struggled to emulate his earlier successes.

    Where is he now?

    Now he has grown older and somewhat wiser, Slater keeps a seemingly low profile in the film world, choosing instead to dedicate the majority of his time to acting on the stage and has received critical acclaim for his performances in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Swimming with Sharks. Even though his youthful good looks may be fading, he’s certainly not the troublesome actor he used to be and is still capable of putting in a good film performance here and there. i just wish that directors would latch on to his talent and consider him for great roles that may lure him away from the stage


  16. Reading the stuff about Helen Slater and the ill-fated “Supergirl” movie, I can’t help but think that Faye Dunaway would make a good future “WTHTT” subject. As this video review of “Supergirl” would point out, there are two distinct periods in Faye’s career, BEFORE “Mommy Dearest” (i.e. “Bonnie & Clyde”, “Chinatown”, and “Network”) and AFTER “Mommy Dearest” (e.g. “Supergirl”, where she was pretty much playing a comic book variation of her hammy Joan Crawford portrayal and “Dunston Checks In”):


  17. 10 Actors Who Are Nowhere Near As Great As They Used To Be:

    5. Christian Slater

    Another late 80′s-early 90′s wonderkid, Christian Slater gained respectability co-starring with the legendary Sean Connery in The Name of the Rose. He followed that up with roles in rebellious youth fare movies as Heathers and Pump Up The Volume. He had the smarmy looks and demeanor of Jack Nicholson. He became the ‘Outsider’ of the Hollywood hunks of the day, captivated by his role as Arkansas Dave Rutabagh in Young Guns 2 and Clarence in True Romance. He even shared billing with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise in Interview With the Vampire, giving him the bronze medal for hunkiness in 1994.

    So what happened?

    For me, the beginning of the end came when he hosted Saturday Night Live in either one of the best or worst episodes in SNL history, depending on if you think spending the week partying with Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider helped or hindered his future acting career. He has since gone down in cult comedy culture with the infamous Saturday Night Live skit ‘You Put Your Weed In There’, one of the few non-turds pooped out by Rob Schneider. Still being blocked on the internet by Lorne Michaels, SNL changed the image we had of Slater. Since the mid-nineties, Slater has been steadily popping out turds as quick as the editing room can deliver them, most going straight to video with a few returns to form such as in Very Bad Things or the short-lived TV series Breaking In 10 years later.


    • 10 Movie Stars Who Could Really, Really Use A Hit Right Now:

      Christian Slater
      Christian Slater is creepy. There’s also a bizarre rhythm to the way he speaks, and he’s always excited about playing weirdos. For all those reasons and dozens more, he was never going to be the type to turn his breakout success in Heathers into a George Clooney-type career. That being said, I think we can all agree Slater is a hell of a lot better than the lead role in an animated Chinese family comedy called Back To The Sea or fourth billing on a straight-to-DVD Wes Bentley thriller called Rites Of Passage.

      I don’t understand why Slater isn’t appearing in two moderately successful films a year, once as a loose canon villain with mental health problems and plenty of unchecked aggression and once more as a weirdo blue collar professional who is enlisted to help a team either a) steal something, b) execute an elaborate revenge plan or c) assistant coach a youth sporting team.


  18. You forgot to mention the 2007 movie “He Was a Quiet Man”, which was very good. And he did an amazing job there. I don’t know how well it did at the box office, though.


  19. ‘The Wizard’ is obviously far from perfect, but it’s a film I’m willing to sit through if nothing better is on. I guess one reason being that I always thought Jenny Lewis was cute.


    • I was a too old for The Wizard. Never owned a Nintendo. Never saw the movie. But I know it has its fans. I can see where someone who was the right age at that time would remember it fondly.


  20. What happened to Thora Birch?–and other actors that seemed to disappear for no reason…:

    Regarding Telperion’s post, Slater’s sudden drop from the A-list had a lot to do with substance abuse and problems with the law.


  21. Whatever Happened To?:

    I had originally planned to focus on an actress who, as it so happens, worked with today’s selection at one point. I will save her for another week down the line. Seeing as I focused on Val Kilmer’s dissent into straight-to-DVD hell; it makes since to focus on the person who has fallen even further. Show of hands, who else besides yours truly saw Lies & Illusions?…anyone…Bueller? If I were to rank the current straight-to-DVD victims in order, Kilmer would be at number three while Slater would take the number two spot. The fact that Christian Slater still gets high profile work on television, albeit in bad shows, proves there is still interest in Slater amongst the Hollywood execs. If only he would find an agent that actually knows how to pick good scripts.

    Christian Slater

    Career Highlights: Pump Up The Volume (1990), Heathers (1988), Murder in the First (1995), Interview With A Vampire (1994), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), True Romance (1993), The Contender (2001), Gleaming the Cube (1988) The Wizard (1988) [yes, you read right. The Wizard is by far the best feature length advertisement ever made! – CS]

    Low Points: Alone in the Dark (2005), Mindhunters (2004), Young Guns II (1990), Hard Rain (1998), Bed of Roses (1996), Broken Arrow (1996), Kuffs (1992), Mobster (1991), 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001), Who is Cletus Tout (2001), Tales From The Darkside: The Movie.

    Last Seen On The Big Screen: Bobby (2006), Igor (2008)

    Where You Will See Him Again: Sacrifice with Cuba Gooding Jr.; Shadows of the White Nights with Cole Hauser. Odds are good they will both be at your local DVD store shortly.


  22. His “Star-Power” resides with his mothers connection as a casting agent. Is there another actor that has never stood out in any role of any film they appeared gotten so many roles? I can’t think of many. On the flip side, perhaps his mothers influence was not as strong as she believed and only bought him poor movies to be in. His personality and the nature of the run-ins with the police resemble someone that has been mothered his whole life..I mean what young adult with a firm father image fights police. Had he gone it on his own maybe he would have made it as he still seems likable even in his final decline.


    • He did stand out in Heathers. But then, he was basically doing a Jack Nicholson impression at a time when Nicholson was extremely popular. That carried him for a while.

      Whatever the cause, he definitely struggled with some personal demons. And that limited his career at a time when he should have been landing his biggest roles.


    • Christian Slater:

      He’s been in several movies that I like: Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Heathers, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, True Romance, and 3000 Miles to Graceland.

      I think he really “dropped the ball” in Broken Arrow. It was a big-budget action film with a legendary director. John Travolta was hot property after his comeback in Pulp Fiction. This movie could have made Slater an A-lister, but instead he gave one of the worst performances of his career.

      His poor judgment in choosing movies to make, his addictions, and his run-ins with the law killed his career. Its funny how he was labeled the next Nicholson at one point early in his career. Maybe we’ll see a Robert Downey Jr/Mickey Rourke type comeback in the future. I think he deserves a second chance.


      • 7 Actors Who Were Expected To Make It Big But Didn’t!

        Some actors seemed to show a lot of promise in the late 90′s and early 2000′s, but all that potential seems to have totally faded away with time. Hollywood is notorious for building actors up, only to tear them down and throw them away, and these seven actors are perfect evidence of that. At one point, they were on top of the world. They were getting great roles, making good money and getting recognition for their work. Then, something changed. Here are 7 actors who were expected to make it big but didn’t.

        1. Christian Slater

        When Christian Slater came onto the scene in the ‘80s, he was compared to a young Jack Nicholson; however, unlike the Oscar-winning actor, his career dried up pretty quickly. Despite showing a lot of potential in movies like “Heathers,” “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” and “Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles,” Slater’s star began to fade in the late ‘90s thanks to some highly publicized brushes with the law.


  23. I’ve been reading comments online about how Jonathan Taylor Thomas during his “Home Improvement” heyday, was in hindsight, sort of a Generation Y version of Christian Slater, who in turn was kind of a Gen X version of Jack Nicholson?,93940/


  24. The Mythology of Christian Slater>Christian Slater:

    There was a blink of an eye when Christian Slater could have been the next Jack Nicholson. He was a bad boy in a time when he was alone. This was after Judd Nelson, Rob Lowe and Charlie Sheen’s Brat Pack era and before Leo and Brad Pitt took over in the 90s. He was wild, charming and dangerous. Instead of Generation X’s James Dean, he was more the James Dean of 1989.

    Christian Slater got typecast as Christian Slater. He was great at being Christian Slater. By the time he tried to show a little diversity with some dramatic roles, he didn’t remind anyone of Jack Nicholson. Was it too late? Was his moment over? Sure he’d get the occasional TV show and once in a while a leading role in a film, but it’s usually to be the essence of Christian Slater. Very few have gotten that mixture right. Slater started out great.

    Slater was in “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” directed by Francis Ford Coppola. He was the big brother in “The Wizard” when people still cared about Fred Savage.

    I always liked his vulnerability in parts mixing with his edge. He was always a razor’s edge a few steps away from falling apart. His character’s suicide is the only one in a movie splattered with it. Hard Harry was a great alter ego to shy Mark Hunter in “Pump Up The Volume” who takes it to the edge but reevaluates things after a listener kills himself. Mark’s breakdown gave the film a little bit of depth that it sorely needed. “Pump Up The Volume” was great. In fact it’s so good, I don’t know why they haven’t remade it as a podcast instead of a radio DJ. They would make it PG-13 and more tween friendly ala “Disturbia”. Maybe Shia Labeouf could be in it.

    “Gleaming the Cube” was a fun skating movie that showed a sulking Slater over the death of his adopted brother. His brother was murdered but made to look like, suicide. Slater had made three films that hit upon suicide as a major or minor theme. Was this the issue in the early 90s? If an actor did this now he would be written off as the Emo Prince.

    He was in the brat pack western sequel “Young Guns II.” That movie might be terrible now as it has not been revisited but in 1990, Young Guns were cool and so was Christian Slater. In 1991 he starred alongside Kevin Costner in “Robin Hood.”

    Slater starred in “Mobsters” as Charlie Lucky Luciano. This would seem like a good move to be in a mobster film. He was a gangster, someone who probably never went to high school. He was with other regulars of Tiger Beat Magazine like Richard Grieco after his career peaked in “If Looks Could Kill” and between “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “Grey’s Anatomy” McDreamy Patrick Dempsey. Obviously if you are making this film for any other reason besides the hope of pulling teenage girls into a gangster film, it makes no sense. It’s not like Scorsese directed it.

    For a career in the early 90s, these looked like great moves. This was before Sundance and independent films could be used to flex acting street cred. Maybe if he had taken some bold independent films on, he would have cut his teeth with some great indie filmmakers.

    In “Kuffs” Slater grows up sorta by playing a guy who never graduated high school and inherits a patrol special district from his brother. “Kuffs” had moved on from suicide to brother’s revenge. Just like “Gleaming The Cube”, it is about a brother’s justice with Benny from L.A. Law as the villain. This movie was fun and had Milla Jovovich pre-Fifth Element.

    The legend of Christian Slater had far more reach than the man himself. It wasn’t him so much as his own mythology as dangerous teen heartthrob that elevated the mythology but not the man into pop culture.

    “All I want to do is graduate from high school, go to Europe, marry Christian Slater, and die.”-Buffy The Vampire Slayer

    The Kristy Swanson film starred Luke Perry. Was Luke Perry the new Christian Slater? Luke Perry had an even smaller film career than Slater. Buffy says she wants to marry Christian Slater before she becomes the vampire slayer. Her love for Christian Slater is when she is a self consumed cheerleader. Would the shallow Buffy like anything besides Slater’s looks? Would she find “Heathers” a downer? Would “Pump Up The Volume” had been a better fit for her? Maybe after she defeats Lothos, she would have seen “Kuffs.”

    The problem with Slater began to show when he left B-List stars and high school scripts. His best film is probably “True Romance”, a Tony Scott directed film written by Quentin Tarantino. Unfortunately Slater is outshined by everyone else in the film: Val Kilmer as Elvis, Brad Pitt as stoner Floyd, Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman, James Gandolfini prepping for Tony Soprano, Christopher Walken, Bronson Pinchot’s peak performance, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Rapaport. In a script written by Quentin Tarantino, Slater’s character, Clarence, is outgunned by more interesting characters. Against real talent, was Slater showing he couldn’t keep up?

    He co-starred with Joe Pesci in Barry Levinson directed “Joe Hollywood”, a film I saw but haven’t thought about since 1994. He was the interviewer in “Interview With The Vampire” overshadowed by still superstar Tom Cruise and an emerging Brad Pitt.

    “Let’s blow off seventh and eighth, go to the mall, have a calorie fest, and see the new Christian Slater.”-Cher, “Clueless”

    In 1995, the year “Clueless” was released, the only Christian Slater film on tap was “Murder in the First.” Was this something Cher would have seen at any point in the film, especially a movie to pick her up? Maybe “Clueless” was released in 1995 but set in 1989. That can’t be because Beavis and Butthead, flannel shirts and “Ren and Stimpy” are referenced along with “Rolling with the Homies” which was released in 1995. Cher is also saving herself for Luke Perry. But Luke Perry wouldn’t gain notoriety until “Beverly Hills 90210” in 1990. In 1995 Luke Perry is 30 years old. None of this makes sense unless we add flashbacks and flashforwards in a weird time paradox. The solution lies in the peak of the mythology of Christian Slater. By this time Slater was aging and not playing high school parts anymore. When he wasn’t able to play the outsider new to school, his career eased up. No more Nicholson comparisons.

    1996 would give us Christian Slater directed by John Woo and career resurrected John Travolta in “Broken Arrow” in an attempt to become an action star. This was fun at 15 years old but probably doesn’t hold up as a John Woo, John Travolta or Christian Slater film. He also did “Bed of Roses” with Mary Stuart Masterson. It grossed $19 million at the box office. I haven’t seen it nor have I heard anyone mention it ever.

    In 1998 he played the Slatere edge to a tee in “Very Bad Things” a dark comedy with co-star Jon Favreau and Jeremy Piven. This seems like a movie that would’ve had Vince Vaughn in it. At this point Vaughn was remaking “Psycho” with Gus Van Sant so Christian Slater could just slip right in. “Very Bad Things” was Slater in overdrive. It didn’t work. What made his earlier roles so memorable was the volatility between danger and emotion. You felt there was a heart lurking there somewhere.

    It’s unfair to act like he dropped off the map because he has worked steadily the last twenty-two years. He has been in films and television, but teenage girls are no longer waiting for his proposal.

    According to Yahoo! Movies, Slater’s brushes with the law, guns, drugs and rehab were reasons why his star faded. Supposedly directors didn’t want to work with him because of that. Did that stop Robert Downey Jr., Charlie Sheen or the countless other Hollywood stars who have succumbed to the seduction of an “E True Hollywood Story.” Is he the greatest actor of his generation? Should he have to be? I think given the right script and a director wanting to tap what we loved about Christian Slater or show us something new, Slater could prevail. In 2010 Christian Slater may not be Buffy or Cher worthy, but he probably has something left in the chamber for the rest of us.


  25. Christian Slater: What Went Wrong with That Guy?

    When the new Sylvester Stallone action vehicle “Bullet to the Head” comes out this weekend, chances are you’ll be seeing a bunch of stories in the media about Sylvester Stallone’s recent career resurgence. “The Expendables,” “Rocky Balboa,” “Rambo” — after almost two decades of Hollywood irrelevancy, Stallone is once again back in business as an A-list star.

    But you know what you won’t be seeing much of? Stories like that about his co-star, Christian Slater.

    So, just what went wrong with that guy?

    For those under the age of 30, it might be hard to believe, but once upon a time, Slater wasn’t just hot, he was actually expected by many to become an international superstar. What Brad Pitt and George Clooney are today? That’s what everyone thought Slater was going to become.

    Sure, it may sound crazy now, but there was actually good reason to believe it at the time. Not only did he have movie star looks, but he had an edge to him that (along with his distinctive voice) led many to picture him as the second coming of Jack Nicholson. Between his darkly cynical turn in the jet black 1988 cult comedy “Heathers” and his roles in 1990′s “Young Guns II” and “Pump Up the Volume,” by the age of 21 Slater had already turned himself into a counter culture icon.

    And that’s actually when things started to go wrong for Slater. First, he began going mainstream, appearing in big budget flicks like “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” and “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.” He kept some indie cred by appearing in the Quentin Tarantino-penned ‘True Romance” in 1993, but by the time of 1995′s “Interview with a Vampire” and 1996′s “Broken Arrow,” it had become apparent that Slater was trying to go big time.

    In hindsight, that was a bad idea, of course. On the one hand, Slater alienated the fans who had made him popular in the first place. And on the other, his edgy, snarky persona may have been perfect for the underground scene, but it clashed with mainstream America, meaning he never really caught on with the new audience he was courting either.

    Which led to the second nail in his career coffin: a bruised ego. When you gain success as fast as Slater did, you tend to let it go to your head — and the same is true when you lose that success. The result was a string of run-ins with the law, including drunk driving and assault in 1989, trying to smuggle a gun onto an airplane in 1994 and assaulting both his girlfriend and a police office while wasted on drugs in 1997.

    That episode proved to be the last straw, in many ways, for Hollywood; with his box office power already on the wane, he was just too big a headache to deal with.

    Slater has been in plenty of movies and TV shows since, but he’s never come close to living up to his early promise. So will “Bullet in the Head” help spark a career renaissance for a man who, at 43, is finally showing signs of maturity? Who knows, stranger things have happened.

    Just ask that old wash-up himself, Sylvester Stallone.


  26. I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your WTHH? series. I stumble on your blog a few weeks ago and have read many of your articles. Thanks for all of the interesting info you post here 🙂

    On a side note, (since I am commenting on the Christian Slater page) I really am a fan of CS, even if he was a bit obnoxious, lol. I was born in the mid-eighties so I didn’t see ‘Heathers’ when it came out, but it has been a favorite of mine since i was 9 or 10. I also LOVED Winona Ryder growing up, so that might have added to its appeal to me.I may be the only one, but I actually watch almost every episode of ‘The Forgotten’ and really quite enjoyed it. It put a bit of an interesting spin on the usual crime procedural. I didn’t have cable at the time, so my TV choices were limited. This may have been the reason I watched it in the first place 🙂

    Anyway, I just thought I would add my praise and thanks to your very amusing and informative blog.



  27. I also wanted to add that I would really like to see you do a WTHH? for Liv Tyler and Adrien Brody. I already voted a few times for each of them (sorry if that’s against the rules), but I noticed they aren’t anywhere near the lead in votes. So, I just wanted to know if your poll is a list of people you’re eventually all going to get to and you just wanted votes to see which to do first or are the actors who don’t get many votes never going to get an article?

    Maybe its just because they were both popular during my adolescence, but I would really be interested to know what happened to both of them. I was a total fangirl of the LOTR trilogy and thought Liv was so beautiful. Actually, ‘Empire Records’ was a favorite of my sister’s and mine growing up, I don’t know how many times we watched that VHS :). And Brody was an Oscar winner and now he his doing commercials for razors!?! When I saw him in those ads I really did think to myself “What the hell happened to him?”, lol. I thought he totally deserved his Oscar for the ‘Pianist’ and I also really like him in ‘King Kong’ and ‘Hollywoodland’. Granted the new ‘King Kong’ was no where near as awesome as the 1933 version, but he was still very good in it. I even liked him in ‘The Village’ when I saw it in the theater, even though I thought MNS’s movies were wearing a bit thin at that point. 🙂

    Well, if you ever get around to writing about Liv and Brody I for one would definitely be interested in reading your articles on them. Thanks for all the good reads.
    Happy Holidays, ~Francesca


    • Hey Francesca, so glad you are enjoying the series. Always happy when someone discovers WTHH and comments.

      The poll is set up to allow multiple votes. So knock yourself out. For the most part, if someone gets put on the poll, I will write them up eventually. It’s just a matter of when. Every now and then, I will remove someone from the poll. The only one I can think of off the top of my head was Harrison Ford who was starring in Ender’s Game at the time. But even he will be added back to the mix eventually. Tyler and Brody are definitely people I will get to soon.

      Happy holidays as well.


  28. Don’t forget that Mind Games debuts tonight on ABC…..check local listings for time!!!!


  29. Movies which were Star vehicles and the star blew their chance at Superstardom:

    Original Desmond
    12-12-09, 04:55 AM
    Actors got a bit of a name from other projects, get a breakout role as a star and blow it so bad that they fade into averageness. (i.e. the flip side of Tom Cruise and Top Gun).

    These come immediately to mind

    Kuffs – Christian Slater

    Rollerball – Chris Klein

    Action Jackson – Carl Weathers

    12-12-09, 05:44 AM
    I think Christian Slater’s fall was Alone In The Dark. Though, he was starting to come back in his TV series My Own Worst Enemy. But sadly, that got cancelled

    One that really comes to mind is

    Angus – Charlie Talbert. He had a very, very strong first movie appearance and lead acting role there. Unfortunately that was it. After Angus he just went to the crapper.

    Casper Van Dien was very good in Starship Troopers. But it seems like any of his roles after that just didn’t match up.

    Party Girl – Parker Posey. That was her only good role. Her role in Scream 3 was too ditzy to take. Although her role in Josey And The Pussycats was slightly funny, as was her role in The House Of Yes. I’ve yet to see how she is in Personal Velocity though.

    Girl – Tara Reid. Very talented role there. Sadly, her ditzy on film roles seemed to have made her just as ditzy off film as well

    Another one from Girl and a year before that – Lolita is Dominique Swain. All her other performances after that have been forgettable.

    Trust – Adrienne Shelly. A great role in that movie. And I believe I read that her other great role was in her final film Waitress. May she rest in peace 😦

    That’s all I can think of off hand for now.


  30. you all need to watch pump up the volume, OR HEATHERS….. the reason U ALL FIND slater as a c grade actor, is wow he wasnt in for the money he was in FOR THE CHARACTER ,,, SO GET OUTTA UR HOLLY WOOD MINDS and SEE REAL TALENT !!!


    • Wow, sammi. That comment is really hard to read.

      I don’t think anyone is denying Slater’s talent. But as talented as he was, he certainly is not an A-list actor these days. I’m not sure he ever was. Post-Heathers through Broken Arrow, he was borderline A-list. But even if he was A-list for a little while, he hasn’t been near the A-list in a long, long time. We’re just talking about why that is.


    • Pump Up the Volume captivated my interest way back then. I should check it out again.


      • I saw it a few times in my 20’s. But I don’t think I want to watch it in my 40’s. I have my doubts it will hold up. But I did like it way back when.


        • you have a point – a lot of that won’t hold up for me either. I’d watch it for the nostalgia of Slater really being perfect for that role, and for the messages of challenging groupthink, that will always hold up for me.


        • Yeah, there’s definitely elements that would hold up well. I remember enjoying the music from the movie and Samantha Mathis as well. I’m just afraid that what I once thought was kind of profound will seem silly to my adult eyes. If I want a pure nostalgia trip from the glory days of Slater’s early career, it’s Heathers all the way. That movie has the advantage of being hysterically funny and featuring career-best performances from Slater and Winona Ryder. Prime Winona is a bigger draw for me than Slater as you can probably imagine.


  31. Christian Slater to play “Mr. Robot” on USA:

    Slater has signed on for a USA pilot in which he’ll play a mysterious anarchist known as Mr. Robot who recruits Rami Malek into an underground hacker group.


  32. oBYTuary: Christian Slater

    No “celebrities” were harmed in the writing of this column. Its purpose is to mourn the loss of their careers, status, and in all likelihood bank accounts. This is an homage to their life’s work, both well-received and utterly humiliating. I have the utmost respect for all of them, even if they no longer have respect for themselves.

    Remember Christian Slater’s hairline? Always teetering on the Piven edge of going bald and actually bald…you know almost to the point where we can actually gleam his cube? I didn’t even mind it and I’m a sucker for a good head of hair. Now, remember Christian Slater’s career?

    Slater made his professional acting debut on Broadway opposite Dick Van Dyke in the 1980 revival of The Music Man. Here’s a neat fact, the sister of a guy I used to date just married Dick Van Dyke. I made several shoddy “Mary Poppins,” jokes and you can too if you’re up for it. Christ he also appeared in Copperfield, Merlin, Macbeth, Side Man, The Glass Menagerie and performed in London’s West End in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Swimming With Sharks. Well now I’m really dying to know what happened, as is Christian Slater I imagine.

    In 1985 (oh the same year as a little film called “Back to the Future,” was released) Slater starred in “The Legend of Billie Jean,” which does not in fact have anything to do with Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean who was just some chick who got knocked up by one of the Jackson 5. Apparently a legitimate paternity test is looking at your baby’s eyes to see if they look like yours, but I digress. “The Legend of Billie Jean,” stars Helen Slater (NO RELATION) as Billie Jean, a sweet teenage girl turned Joan of Arc icon with Christian Slater playing her brother. Along with a group of misfit teenagers they go on an accidental “crime spree” all in the name of justice. This film gave us two things, one of the first onscreen lady haircuts (sorry Demi Moore and Natalie Portman) and a fan-f***ing-tastic catchphrase: “Fair is Fair.”

    Sadly “The Legend of Billie Jean,” only gained a cult following but the show must go on. In 1986 Slater’s career took a leap when he starred alongside Sean Connery in “The Name of a Rose.” Slater plays an apprentice monk who is investigating a series of murders at a Benedictine Abbey. No really, a monk.

    Then in 1989 “Gleaming the Cube,” happened. I don’t know a single person who even understands what gleaming the cube means but it’s a film about skateboarding and it features a young Tony Hawke and a young Christian Jacobs (of The Aquabats). Christian Slater hates adults in this film and the best way to spit in the face of authority is to skate or die, also wearing an earring helps.

    That same year one of the best high school films of all-time was made, “Heathers.” Looking back on “Heathers,” it’s kind of an eerie prophecy about schools today. Christian Slater plays J.D. the new bad boy in town who tries to earn the love and respect of his father by attempting to blow up the high school with his emo “Bonnie” girlfriend played by Winona Ryder. The two can’t seem to get it right as the more fake/accidental suicides they plan to get back at the cool kids…the more martyrs they create. Hey, teenage suicide…don’t do it.

    In 1990 Hollywood must have been gagging (with a spoon) for an ensemble cast because someone dug up a sequel to “Young Guns,” in the form of “Young Guns II,” or as I call it “Jung Guns: II” and the whole thing happens in Kiefer Sutherland’s head (probably). Christian Slater plays a boring character in a laughable film based on nothing in history. Next.

    I guess the rebel persona is hard to shake because Slater slipped back into it for “Pump up the Volume,” when he played Mark Hunter the DJ behind an FM Pirate Radio Station. The station eventually becomes an outlet for teen angst until MORE teenage suicide happens. I thought we said don’t do it?

    Finally in 1993 things took a romantic turn for the better when Slater landed the role of Adam, the boy with the baboon heart in “Untamed Heart.” Yes, I cried a lot. Then that seem year Quentin Tarantino gifted us with “True Romance.” It’s typical Tarantino writing and the thing people seem to remember the most is a stoned Brad Pitt on the couch. Like, really stoned.

    Things are going well, right? He then plays a minor role in one of my favorite books turned movies “Interview With the Vampire,” landed a big budget film also starring Scientologist extraordinaire John Travolta (“Hard Rain”), starred in the delightfully dark comedy “Very Bad Things” (also starring Jeremy Piven, both hairlines in one movie?!?!)

    Sadly Slater had a few run-ins with Johnny Law. In 1989 he was arrested for drunk driving and assault, in 1994 he tried to board a commercial plane with a gun in his luggage (why not?), in 1997 he was convicted of assaulting his then girlfriend, and finally in 2005 he was arrested after allegedly sexually harassing a woman on the street. Slater denied the charge though the whole thing was caught on video. “He didn’t do anything,” you guys…”this is bull (bleep).”

    Unfortunately most of the work he gets today are roles where he plays himself. The acting kiss of death appears to be when you are asked to just play yourself. It’s as if the acting world is saying: “Well, we don’t really think you have any range…what do you normally do on a Sunday afternoon? Okay yeah…just do that.” Hopefully he’ll come back to us someday…if only to finally let us know exactly what gleaming the cube is.


  33. Slater on WatchMojo’s Top 10 Movie Stars Who Dropped Off the Map


  34. He did voice work on Dinosaur Planet – a discovery channel dvd as well – which my kids (and I) love.


  35. What Happened to Christian Slater? What is Christian Slater Up to?

    Eighties bad boy and heartthrob Christian Slater has had a tumultuous career. After gaining fame as a teen star in the moderately successful films Heathers, Gleaming the Cube, and Pump Up the Volume, he found work in several bigger budget movies. Yet, Slater was almost always either a sidekick in a hit film or the lead in a flop. Throughout his career, Slater struggled to find recognition. He also struggled with substance abuse and the law. Recently, he seems to have disappeared altogether. Many people have been left wondering what happened to that eighties teen idol.

    A New York City native from a Hollywood family, Slater got his start on daytime television and in theater. Slater took small roles in a handful of Broadway plays in his youth before landing a role as the younger brother to the unrelated Helen Slater in the, at the time, underrated Legend of Billie Jean. Called a modern take on Joan of Arc, the film tells the story of a girl who leads a brief youth rebellion after being sexually assaulted and then framed by a corrupt store owner in her small town. Slater would then go on to star opposite Sean Connery in The Name of the Rose, a murder mystery set in a medieval abbey. This lead to Slater’s run of successful teen flicks.

    In the final years of the 1980’s, Christian Slater appeared in almost a dozen teen movies as a brazen, willful, anti-hero, often leading or encouraging youth rebellions of his own. First, in Gleaming the Cube, Slater played a teenage skateboarder who uses his skate moves and wits to avenge the death of Vinh, his adopted Vietnamese brother. The film is just as notable for its insane plot involving a communist conspiracy as it is for the early film appearance of expert skater, Tony Hawk. Hawk and Slater remained friends for many years. Next, Slater would play a role against type in the 1989 drama, Beyond the Stars, appearing as the teenage friend of an aging astronaut played by Martin Sheen. In a third film the same year, Slater played a supporting character, this time the older brother to Fred Savage’s child wanderer in the Nintendo-focused road movie, The Wizard. During this same highly productive year, Slater had his first highly publicized run-in with the law, spending about two weeks in jail for assault and DUI. A fourth and final 1989 release, Heathers, would finally put Slater in the spotlight.

    A black comedy also starring Winona Ryder and Shannen Doherty, Heathers was a movie about fitting in, getting ahead, and teenage suicide. Ryder played Veronica Sawyer, a student who gets in over her head after a mysterious dark horse (Slater) rides into town, falls for her, and starts killing off her social rivals, staging the deaths as suicides. Consistently rated both one of the greatest films of the eighties and one of the greatest high school films, Heathers became a surprise success only in the years after its initial release. It was the pop culture progenitor for many terms and ideas that would blow up in the nineties. Unfortunately, it struggled at the box office, and it only managed to lock Slater into the typecast of the cynical, troubled teen rebel. In Pump Up the Volume, he played a pirate radio DJ who has issues making real world friends at his high school, while all of those same kids worship his anonymous radio persona. In this way, it anticipated the similar situation many teens would face on the internet a decade later. Slater also joined Emilio Estevez’s Billy the Kid gang in Wild West sequel Young Guns II.

    Slater continued to struggle to find a successful lead role in the following years, even as he was cast in more mainstream films. In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, his role as Will Scarlett took a back seat to Kevin Costner’s title role, even needing to be saved by Costner in the film’s climax. Both actors were nominated for worst actor in the Golden Raspberry Awards. The film was a box office hit though. As lead in the action comedy sleeper hit, Kuffs, Slater played a high school dropout who becomes a civilian volunteer police officer. Quentin Tarantino’s cult classic True Romance saw Slater starred as the Elvis-obsessed aimless, wild man, Clarence Worley, who rescues a kindly prostitute from her killer pimp, also robbing him as the two go on the lamb together. This was another film that did not find its audience for many years. He then went on to star in the frame story for the Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise smash thriller, Interview with the Vampire. Several big budget flops followed, including Broken Arrow, Hard Rain, Very Bad Things, and 3000 Miles to Graceland. In the latter, Slater again portrayed an Elvis devotee and, again, teamed up with Kevin Costner. At least, in this case, only Costner and costar Kurt Russell were nominated for worst actor awards. The film was a spectacular failure, losing the studio almost $50 million dollars. From there, things were mostly downhill.christian-slater-now

    Slater struggled to find roles after starring in 2005’s universally hated, box office bomb, Alone in the Dark. An adaptation of a horror video game series, Alone in the Dark featured Slater as a paranormal detective battling alien forces. Several direct-to-video roles followed, including The Confessor, The Deal, Hollow Man 2, Love Lies Bleeding, and Mindhunters. Mindhunters was notable for starring similar Hollywood washout Val Kilmer. It took over a year from its initial release for the film to find a distributor in the United States.

    Slater has not given up, however, continuing his high rate of productivity, even as the films are generally poorly regarded. Slater appeared in 10 films in 2012 alone, for example, most of them direct-to-video or video-on-demand. Throughout his career Slater has been convicted for assault charges, drunk driving, and sexual harassment. While the bad boy thing was cute when he was young, these incidents have not helped the adult Slater. Finally getting the hint, Slater has recently stated that he now considers staying sober his full-time job. Despite a hoax regarding rumors of Slater’s death in 2015, the actor is reportedly preparing for a supporting role with stoner paragon James Franco.


  36. Nostalgia Critic Real Thoughts On: The Wizard

    Oooooh, this one is gonna be fun!


  37. Reblogged this on lebeau's le Blog and commented:

    Today, Slater has found some degree of success on the small screen in the critically acclaimed TV show, Mr. Robot. That success comes after four previous TV shows were canceled due to low ratings. Slater has spent the last several years starring in a seemingly endless parade of direct-to-video movies alongside the likes of Val Kilmer and Cuba Gooding Jr. In this updated WTHH entry, I have added coverage of Slater’s early work as a child actor which was surprisingly traumatic. There’s additional details about Slater’s crushes on his co-stars and his chronic legal problems.


  38. Not seen his TV work, glad to know he is in fact still working. This fleshed-out article was of keen interest to the Slater fan that I was in the 80s. I went to see almost all of his projects from the time: Heathers, Pump up the Volume, Untamed Heart, True Romance. “Volume” was especially endearing. Quirky, kind of a niche/cult project. Original yet reflective of some undercurrent culture then.
    Never knew about the casting director Mom but no problem with it either, he had his own unique screen persona, to go with his fair share of talent.


    • I have been trying to think about which Christian Slater movies I saw in the theater and which ones I saw on video. I can’t clearly recall whether or not I got to Heathers at the theater. I very vividly remember the calendar from our local art house that had Heathers listed. And I had two female friends who were huge fans of the film and wanted me to see it. But I don’t recall whether or not I did. Which leads me to believe I probably saw it on video like everyone else.

      Tales From the Darkside was probably the first time I saw Slater on the big screen. A guy friend dragged me to it and it wasn’t bad as horror anthologies go. And I saw Kuffs on the big screen because one of my little brothers really wanted to see it. I dragged someone else to see True Romance and I’m pretty sure I was the only one who liked it. I remember seeing Broken Arrow and being disappointed because somehow I had it in my head that it was supposed to be good.

      Pump Up the Volume I saw on video and I liked it quite a bit. I also bought the soundtrack which was not something I did a lot.Untamed Heart was a bitter disappointment. I had heard decent things about it, missed it in the theaters and then stalked the local Blockbuster for weeks to get a copy. When I finally got to see it, I couldn’t believe how cheesy it was.

      Heathers and True Romance stand out for me. I don’t know if I can say I was ever a Christian Slater fan, but generally I viewed his involvement in a movie as a positive.


  39. I’ve always been a fan of Christian Slater, including his early films like “The Legend of Billie Jean”, “In The Name of The Rose”, and “Gleaming the Cube”. But “Pump Up the Volume” will always be awesome to me (yes, I own both the DVD and film soundtrack). The last film I viewed him in was “Who is Cletus Tout?”, which I think is okay, but I really liked “He Was a Quiet Man”. I still still think he’s a good actor, and that he was always more than a Tiger Beat pinup or a bad boy.


  40. Re: Actors whose careers you would have thought would have been bigger

    I think people ITT are overestimating Christian Slater’s ceiling. He’s not much of an actor. He basically plays the exact same guy in every movie (and unlike Jimmy Stewart, it’s an annoying guy) and he has a grating voice. Maybe he didn’t have the career people assumed he would after his early success, but I think he way overachieved based on talent, likability, etc.


  41. ICYMI: Our chat with @ChristianSlater about when he knew #MrRobot was special:


  42. Congrats to Slater for winning last night’s Golden Globe for Best TV Supporting Actor for his role on USA’s Mr. Robot!


  43. I’m going to say the ending needs to give Slater and Mr Robot a fairer shake. Guy won a Golden Globe. A major role on a prestige TV show in 2016 isn’t just a way out of direct-to-landfill shit for a while — it’s an accomplishment any serious actor would kill for, especially with the dismal state of the Hollywood studios. It’s still not the A-list, but it’s perhaps closer to it than he was even when he was a ‘movie star’, given he never really had a successful film.


    • Agreed. Updates are on my list of things to do. I have been otherwise occupied with real life concerns (we are moving). But rest assured when things settle down a bit, Slater’s Golden Globe will be acknowledged.


  44. 12 “Important” Movies That Are Actually Terrible

    Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (1991)

    There might not be too many calls for Kevin Reynolds’ take on the mythic hero to be classed as one of the greatest films ever made. Even so, it was a huge hit on release, and remains well-regarded as a family-friendly blockbuster that has stood the test of time. However, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves really isn’t any of those things.

    Quite apart from being an absurd Americanization of an English legend, it’s also a grimy, sadistic, mean-spirited piece of work that should never have been shown to children.
    It’s bad enough that Kevin Costner doesn’t even attempt to speak in an English accent (whilst Christian Slater seems to keep changing his mind every few lines as to whether he will or not), and that the film takes ridiculous geographical liberties (walk from Dover to Nottingham in a single day, by way of Hadrian’s Wall? If you say so). Suspension of disbelief means we can forgive such matters.

    Rather harder to forgive is just how po-faced and nasty it all is. Costner takes himself and the material far too seriously, whilst Reynolds often shoots it like an episode of NYPD Blue with a constantly roving camera, as if to push how ‘real’ and ‘edgy’ it all is; hardly the appropriate tone for what should be a good-natured swashbuckler.

    Thank goodness for Alan Rickman, who treats the whole enterprise with the respect and decorum it deserves: i.e., none whatsoever. (And Costner should count himself lucky this is the only one of his films listed here).


    • Films that have aged horribly


      Many ’90s kids grew up watching this adventure film. Unfortunately, Robin Hood is not as daring as you might remember. Chief among the movie’s problems was the filmmakers’ decision to cast Kevin Costner as Robin Hood. His accent is all over the map—ranging from none to sounding like a Renaissance Festival performer. Costner’s chemistry with Maid Marion (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) was nonexistent. Fortunately, the late Alan Rickman is still awesome as the Sheriff of Nottingham—his scenes are the highlight of the movie. If you had the misfortune of watching the extended cut, then you are treated to an odd subplot where the Sheriff wants to spread Satanism across England. Speaking of which, the movie’s tone is wildly uneven. It features both swashbuckling, humorous adventure scenes out of an Erroll Flynn movie combined with dark witchcraft that is better left in a horror film.


  45. Christian Slater — I Know My Dad’s Mentally Ill … He Almost Killed Me Before I Was Born


  46. Nostalgia Critic Real Thoughts On – FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)

    Find out why this environmental tale SHOULD be the last rainforest. Rob and Doug discuss the early 90s film, FernGully.


  47. The Violent White People in Hollywood that still have Careers

    Many of the alleged abusers in this thread are repeat offenders, however sometimes it’s been only a one time incident. However, due to the Hollywood machine many of the alleged victims were blasted by the media and thus may have been coerced to drop the charges on the accused.

    Christian Slater
    Slater was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend Michelle Jonas back in the 90s. He spent three months in jail and was sent to rehab.

    According to officers, Slater was found swinging his arms and yelling incoherently. He became involved in a fight after a man attempted to stop him from punching his girlfriend, Michelle Jonas. He later told police that he had been taking heroin, cocaine and had been drinking “for a couple days and had only a couple hours of sleep”.

    In 2005, he allegedly sexually harassed a woman in New York. He was charged with third degree sexual abuse but the charges were later dropped ‘on the condition that [he] would keep out of trouble for six months’. Slater has previously been in jail after a drink- driving conviction eight years ago, and in 1994 he was arrested at John F Kennedy airport in New York with a handgun, although it was not loaded.



    Rolling Stone, May 18, 1989

    And Slater has not always received such attention. He has, for instance, had the experience of standing next to teen star Brian Bloom (As the World Turns, Senior Prom) and giving his autograph to someone who wanted it only because he was there with Bloom. He’s overheard the autograph hound walking away asking, “Who’s that guy?”

    “And it’s like, oh, man, do I really have to explain?” says Slater. “It sounds so egotistical, and then they like you less. I can’t wait until they know who I am so I don’t have to sit there and politely tell them everything I’ve done.” Actually, Slater admits, he blew his top at one such unintended insult just last night. A couple of his friends from New York came to town, and they had just seen Tucker on the airplane. At dinner that night with Slater, they talked about the movie, having no idea that he was in it. Worse, with the friends was a young woman who said she hoped to become a director. “And I’m sitting right smack dab in front of her,” says Slater. “And I’m thinking, ‘You want to be a director, and you can’t even spot somebody you’ve just seen in a movie?’ They’re attending Vassar College, so they’re in a whole different world. But, of course, immediately I was offended. Naturally. A human thing. So I told her basically that she shouldn’t even consider becoming a director.” The young woman responded by jumping up from the table and leaving, climbing over another friend just to get away.


  49. slater career is a lot like kilmer huge fan base in the 90s hearthtrob status but neither ever really carried a box office hit. If you think about it where kilmer and slater ever huge stars in terms of box office like say hanks or cruise. Kilmer only had leading hit batman forever and no one saw that for him. As for slater all his hits where in supporting roles. Its funny if a person who grow up in the 90s would think slater and kilmer had a bunch of hits under their belt but looking at their resume their career where never that impressive


    • I’m all about Christian Slater, but no, he never headlined a film that took The Box Office by storm, not even when there was a Heavy Rain (“Pump Up the Volume” should have, but if if’s and but’s were candy and nuts, they would call me Mr. Butts).


  50. gluestry would you also agree kilmer never drew people to a movie with his name alone . He jumped on to an already successful franchise with batman forever and No one saw Prince of Egypt for him since it was animation kids did not know it was him. the rest of his other hits where in supporting roles such as heat top gun tombstone and Dejavu.


    • I don’t think Val Kilmer’s name alone sold any films to the public (he was great in “The Doors”, but it was The Doors, directed by Oliver Stone, which I think was the selling point). He disappeared into so many roles and appeared in various projects, so I’d have to say no. I think at one time Nic Cage’s involvement in a film may have swayed audiences, but I don’t think Val Kilmer was ever that guy.


  51. the doors was a flop anyways. Cage had severla box office hits on his own name. He was a draw at one point


  52. Actors accused of unforgivable crimes

    Christian Slater

    In 2005, Christian Slater was arrested and charged with “third-degree sexual abuse” after he allegedly “grabbed a woman’s behind on the street,” according to CNN (via People). The charges were later dismissed by a judge, but it was not the only time Slater saw the inside of a courtroom. He was previously accused of biting someone in the stomach and served a 3-month jail sentence in 1997 for allegedly assaulting his then-girlfriend, Michelle Jonas, and a police officer while under the influence of cocaine. In 1989, he was accused of leading police on a car chase and kicking an officer while attempting to flee. For that little legal rendezvous, the Mr. Robot actor had his license suspended and spent 10 days in jail.


  53. Actors in the most 0 percent Rotten Tomatoes movies

    Christian Slater

    Christian Slater was a teen actor in the ’80s, but while he’s remained consistently famous in the decades since, he’s also made some pretty questionable choices along the way. Run for the Money, for example, is a bomb of a crime thriller that’s also known as Hard Cash (a movie having two completely different titles is always a bad sign). Then there’s Basil, an unsuccessful costume drama in which Slater plays second banana to a young Jared Leto. In Assassin’s Bullet, Slater is an FBI agent who uncovers a nearly nonsensical assassination plot. And in the horror film Playback, he plays a lecherous cop who helps set the plot in motion without being central to it. More recently, Slater has found a home as the title character on the acclaimed TV series Mr. Robot, which is working out better for him than most of the movies he’s made in the past couple of decades

    Christian Slater’s 0 percent movies
    Basil (1997)

    Run for the Money (2002)

    Playback (2002)

    Assassin’s Bullet (2012)


  54. Christian Slater calls reporter a ‘c**t’ after being asked about past indiscretions – including beating a girlfriend – and says he ‘regrets nothing’ from his past



      Christian Slater is set to play fiery salesman Ricky Roma in a production of Glengarry Glen Ross in London, but an interview Slater gave to The Daily Beast about the show briefly took a fiery turn of its own when the interviewer, Nico Hines, referenced Slater’s troubled history. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail for drunk driving and assault in the ‘80s, and in 1997 he spent 100 days in a rehab facility and then three months in jail after assaulting his girlfriend and a police officer.

      Hines initially asked Slater if he had any regrets about his “wilder years,” given the play’s commentary on power and toxic masculinity, which prompted Slater to say, “I regret nothing.” He recognizes that “nobody gets through unscathed” when they grow up in show business, so everyone got to see his “highs and lows and ups and downs.” He also said that he’s happy that “women’s voices are being taken seriously and this age of secrecy and abuse of power era has come to an end.”

      Hoping for some more introspection from Slater about how his own past relates to what’s happening in the entertainment industry now, Hines asked Slater if he really had no regrets about going to jail for beating his girlfriend. In a “flash of anger,” Slater said, “what a salacious c*** this guy is” and a representative stepped in to take Slater to his next appointment. Slater later apologized, adding, “the question of regret is hard for me to reckon with,” but he didn’t expand on it at all.


      • After discussing the Harvey Weinstein controversy, Christian Slater refused to talk about his abusive past with women

        The Mr. Robot star called a Daily Beast reporter “a salacious c*nt” when his past run-ins with women — including beating his ex-girlfriend in 1997 and a 2005 arrest for groping a woman, which resulted in charges being dropped — were brought up after the actor tried to hit the right note regarding the Hollywood sexual misconduct scandals. Before using the C-word, Slater said, “I’m happy that women’s voices are being taken seriously and this age of secrecy and abuse of power era has to come to an end. I want women and all people to feel comfortable in the workplace, and I try to have that environment in my work.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: