×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

10 Things You Didn't Know About Christian Slater

Christian Slater has seemingly been around forever. He first made a name for himself in a very big way in the 1980s and 1990s, playing a wide variety of cool, tough, and sketchy characters in favorites of the era like Heathers, Pump Up the Volume, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, True Romance, and Kuffs. And after some years in the relative wilderness of smaller roles and a string of short-lived TV series, Slater experienced one of the biggest comebacks in recent Hollywood history in 2015, landing a role on USA's acclaimed hacking thriller, Mr. Robot

So yeah, Slater has been popping up on the big and small screen alike for decades, and millions of fans are familiar with his instantly recognizable voice and on-screen presence. However, just because Slater seems to be everywhere, that doesn't mean the public knows everything about his impressive achievements and wild lifestyle. As it turns out, Christian Slater is a man of many secrets, and today, we're diving deep into his biography and exploring his adventures in the entertainment industry. From family drama to workplace crushes, here's the untold truth of Christian Slater.

The whole Jack Nicholson thing is on purpose

He's a famous actor with a very distinctive style, delivering lines in a slow, deliberate, almost sarcastic sounding drawl, complete with a cocksure, mischievous smile and a hint of danger behind the eyes. We're speaking, of course, of three-time Academy Award-winning actor Jack Nicholson. Oh, and Christian Slater, it would seem. Slater is well aware of the criticisms and comparisons between himself and the legendary star of Batman and Terms of Endearment. And he doesn't really mind them, because doing a career-long Jack Nicholson impression is something that Slater has actively fostered. 

Slater deliberately paid homage to Nicholson with his performance as dark teen J.D. in Heathers. As far as he's concerned, Nicholson is "the best actor around," Slater told Rolling Stone. "I don't care. I did it. F*** it. I had fun doing it." He added that were he to ever come face-to-face with Nicholson, "I don't know what the hell I would do. I would probably die." Slater later explained to Yahoo! Movies that when he filmed Heathers, he'd just watched Easy Rider, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and The Witches of Eastwick, and so "there was a great deal of Jack Nicholson in my brain," which he says gave way to "a very conscious channeling."

He could've been in some iconic '90s movies

Christian Slater has appeared in all kinds of movies and TV shows, and his acting resumé definitely doesn't lack cult classics. After all, he's starred in a number of enduring, off-kilter films, such as Heathers, True Romance, Pump Up the Volume, and Interview with the Vampire. There's only so much time in an actor's schedule, however, and they can't land every role for which they're considered, but it's interesting to imagine a world where Slater also starred in two other pillars of '90s cinema.

In 1994, Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction was bookended with a young couple — known by their pet names for each other, Pumpkin and Honey Bunny — robbing a diner at gunpoint. According to Jerome Charyn's Raised by Wolves: The Turbulent Art and Times of Quentin Tarantino, the filmmaker wrote the male role specifically for Tim Roth, who'd starred in his previous film, Reservoir Dogs, but studio bosses didn't want the then-little-known actor in the pivotal part. So they urged Tarantino to instead cast one of his back-up options, Christian Slater. But obviously, that didn't work out.

The people who wrote the checks for The Crow similarly wanted Slater to play the film's title role of Eric Draven, a murdered rock star-turned-avenging dark angel. The actor was reportedly very interested but asked for too big of a salary. Newcomer Brandon Lee got the gig instead, and tragically, he died during filming.

The tragic reason Christian Slater appeared in Interview with the Vampire

Christian Slater was among a group of young actors who lit up Hollywood in the late 1980s and early '90s. These were brooding, intense, and handsome guys like Johnny Depp and the late River Phoenix. "I thought we'd be in this business forever, and we'd be competing for the same roles and doing all these things, and instead, that tragedy happened," Slater told Yahoo! Movies, referring to Phoenix's death from a drug overdose outside of a Los Angeles nightclub on Halloween 1993. 

At the time of his passing, Phoenix was days away from beginning work on Interview with the Vampire, a major adaptation of Anne Rice's supernatural bestseller. Phoenix's role was that of Daniel Molloy, the reporter who interviews a 200-year-old vampire (Brad Pitt). Rather than have the studio cancel or greatly delay the film, Slater took on the role of the interviewer with very little prep time. "It was awkward. It was uncomfortable. It was hard," Slater told Yahoo! Movies. "How to replace somebody that died in that way, and somebody that I admired greatly." Slater ultimately made peace with it by donating his entire salary for the film to some of Phoenix's favorite causes and charities. 

He's still in love with Winona Ryder

Plenty of actors fall in love with their co-stars. Honestly, it's surprising that actors don't always fall in love with other actors on movie sets because there's so much romance-creating machinery in place there, such as spending lots of time together, accessing deep feelings as part of the acting process, and pretending to be on-screen-lovers. The lines between fictional and real love has blurred a couple of times for Christian Slater, and more than 30 years after two notable made-for-the-movies love affairs, he still harbors some special feelings. 

Slater's first film was the 1985 teen drama The Legend of Billie Jean. He played the brother of the title character portrayed by Helen Slater (no relation), and he fell hard for the actress. "At the time, she was Supergirl. So when you talk about mad crush, I had a mad crush on her. That was a hard one to get through. I was madly in love with her," Slater told Yahoo! Movies. "I thought because we had the same last names we should've been married, ya know?"

As for his second big crush, well, that was his co-star in the 1988 dark comedy Heathers, Winona Ryder. Countless kids fell for Ryder, including Slater. Two decades later, Slater told PR Inside (via Vulture) that she still held a special place in his heart. "We don't speak on a regular basis, but I love her. I've never gotten over the crush I had on her then," Slater said. "She is still the woman of my dreams."

He's been in trouble with the law ... a lot

In the '80s and '90s, Christian Slater enjoyed a "Hollywood bad boy" reputation. Not only did he play dangerous types on-screen in films like Heathers, Mobsters, and True Romance, but he acted out that role off-screen, too, compiling a long police record. In 1990, he was sentenced to ten days in jail over a drunk driving arrest the previous year. He fled from police, and the chase ended when Slater hit a utility pole and reportedly kicked a police officer when he exited his vehicle. Five years later, Slater was arrested at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on an illegal gun charge. He'd packed a weapon in his suitcase, which is a big no-no. (He later made a bargain with prosecutors, and as a result, he spent time working with less fortunate kids to avoid prison.) 

In the summer of 1997, some people at a party in Los Angeles summoned police to calm down Slater after he got into a fight with a man who tried to prevent the actor from striking his girlfriend. Reportedly swinging his arms and screaming, Slater also allegedly lashed out at a police officer. After later admitting that he was under the influence of cocaine, heroin, alcohol, and a lack of sleep, he was sentenced to three months in prison. Then in 2005, New York police arrested Slater on a third-degree abuse charge over an incident in which the actor, reportedly intoxicated, grabbed the rear end of a woman on the street.

Christian Slater was a Broadway baby

Christian Slater is a quintessentially cinematic actor. He's all subtle facial expressions, eyebrow movements, and voice modulation. That, coupled with his appearances in so many artsy and edgy movies, makes it a little surprising (or maybe it's a testament to his versatility) that he got his start on the New York stage. And while for most theatrical actors, it's a dream and a goal to get to Broadway eventually, Slater first hit the Great White Way before he was old enough to drive. 

At age ten, Slater co-starred in the 1980 revival of The Music Man as Winthrop Paroo (the lisping kid portrayed by Ron Howard in the film version). A year later, he had a supporting role and understudied for a lead in the 1981 musical Copperfield. In 1982, Slater portrayed Macduff's son in a production of Macbeth, and he followed that by playing Young Merlin and Arthur in the musical/magic show Merlin. After he found fame as a movie star, Slater returned to Broadway in 1998 to star in Side Man, which won the Tony Award for Best Play

Chris Farley was obsessed with him

Not counting his career's second act with a Golden Globe-winning turn as a mysterious hacking collective leader on USA's Mr. Robot, Christian Slater's career reached its highest levels in the early '90s. The man was so popular and famous that he was asked to host Saturday Night Livetwice. It was quite an SNL era to be a part of, and Slater was lucky enough to appear in a classic sketch that will live on forever in compilations and video sharing sites: "Matt Foley: Motivational Speaker," one of Chris Farley's first appearances as the abrasive character who tries to scare wayward teens out of choices that will make them end up like him, a guy who "lives in a van down by the river!"

While viewers loved Farley as Foley, Farley gave his love to Slater. According to the documentary I Am Chris Farley (via Esquire), Farley became transfixed by Slater after working together on SNL. During the actor's hosting stint, Farley told co-star David Spade, "Christian Slater is cool." A day later, Slater wasn't the only guy in the studio with hip, slicked-back hair — Chris Farley was, too.

His father sued him

Christian Slater isn't one of those actors with the romantic story of riding a bus from his Midwestern hometown to Hollywood. He's got show business in his blood, and he grew up around the entertainment industry. His mother is casting director Mary Jo Slater, and his father is Michael Hawkins, also known as Tom Slater, a stage and soap actor probably best known for the title role on Ryan's Hope. 

Mary Jo and Tom Slater split up long ago, but in February 2016, the elder male Slater filed a $20 million lawsuit against his son. He claimed that Christian and Mary Jo Slater had defamed him and ruined his acting career after they told the public that he suffered from schizophrenia. Christian Slater moved for a dismissal, filing a declaration that his father had been diagnosed with the mental illness in 1972, following his admission to a hospital in a straitjacket after threatening to kill his family. Just five months after the lawsuit was filed, Los Angeles area Judge Suzanne Bruguera threw out Tom Slater's lawsuit, citing the case's lack of "significant legal grounding." 

Christian Slater is a hardcore Trekkie

Christian Slater is a man of many passions, but the biggest of them all just might be Star Trek. He's a hardcore fan, and as an actor with Hollywood connections, he was able to wrangle a small part as "Excelsior Communications Officer" in the 1991 film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. After all, the casting director on that movie was Slater's mother, Mary Jo Slater. "I'm not even going to kid around. I had an in, and that was it," Slater said on Graham Norton's BBC Radio 2 show (via Comicbook.com). 

Slater's costume for his part happened to be the same one William Shatner — Captain James T. Kirk — wore for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. That became a souvenir for Slater. "I stole the costume, by the way," the actor said. Beyond pants worn by the William Shatner, Slater is in possession of another piece of one-of-a-kind Trek memorabilia. "A buddy of mine did get me the Captain Kirk chair," Slater said on Conan in 2012, meaning the actual captain's seat from the original 1960s TV series. "You can push the buttons and the lights go on. I love it!"

He's still trying to get his passion project off the ground

For any kind of Hollywood luminary to get a dream movie into production — a "pet" or "passion project," as they're often called — circumstances have to be just right. That writer, director, or actor has to have the clout and connections to get a studio involved, and they've also got to have the time to make the thing. In other words, it's no walk in the park, even if you're somebody like Christian Slater.

Back in 1995, small publisher Wild Card Press released its one and only title: Will Viharo's Love Stores Are Too Violent For Me, a gritty detective thriller about an investigator named Vic Valentine. Christian Slater discovered this very obscure, then-out-of-print book in a Los Angeles store in 2001, and he loved it so much that he secured the film rights, adapted it into a screenplay, and made plans to star and direct the resulting movie. That saga began nearly 20 years ago, and the project went into limbo in 2015, when Slater got too busy with his work on Mr. Robot. With that series airing its final season in late 2019, Slater may finally be able to get this long-simmering movie going.