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Christian Slater Lives the Hollywood Dream


November 6, 2005

Christian Slater
Christian Slater used to be hot. And by hot, I mean that he was a teen-girl box office draw. He appeared shirtless as Happy Harry Hard On in Pump Up the Volume. He fucked Winona Ryder on the croquet green in Heathers. He gunned down all kinds of gangster ass in True Romance. Kuffs.  The best movie.  Ever. I admit it -- I flocked to the theater when Kuffs came out. You can make fun of me all you want. I can take it. You can't beat me up worse than I've already beaten myself.

What's happened to Christian Slater in the last ten years? Numerous arrests, rehab, an outspoken casting director mother and receding hairline have Mackenzie Astin all taken their toll. Some actors, like Balthazar Getty (who co-starred with Mr. Slater in Young Guns II), Mackenzie Astin (of Facts of Life and Brother-of-Sean fame) and that dude who played "Ben" on Growing Pains, go quietly when they know their time has come to do the big Fade Away. Not so with Christian Slater. He's got to go out with Tasers blazin' and rehab (again) eminent.


"My mistakes do happen on a grand scale and very public level. They're humiliating, embarrassing. But if nothing bad happens to you, you'll just continue to act ridiculous." -- Christian Slater, USA Today, December 14, 1997 Mary Jo Slater and Yesterday's News


[In 1996] the actor's mother, casting director Mary Jo Slater, talked to People about the pressure on young stars, stating, "These kids are afraid they're going to be yesterday's news."

Christian Slater's making sure this is not his own fate. In the past year he's appeared in several unflattering news stories.

Lindsay Lohan lookin' good. In April, he was rumored to be cavorting with actress/singer/sperm pillow, Lindsay Lohan. Again, Christian's mommy, casting director Mary Jo Slater, did not deny the reports, but said:

"Christian grew up in the public eye, which is exactly what Lindsay is doing. Perhaps Lindsay can benefit from Christian's experience. He can tell her, first hand, what will follow her for the rest of your life no matter how hard she may try to change her image if she messes up."

Indeed. He can give Lindsay some sound advice on which rehab clinics don't work.

In May, he was accused of, and arrested for, grabbing (or "forcibly touching" as they call it) a 52-year-old woman's ass as she was buying a soda at a corner deli in NYC. Christian, age 36, was arguing near the deli with his girlfriend (name withheld) and a cab driver prior to the forcible touch. The girlfriend allegedly yelled "Stop! What are you doing?" before the ass-grabbed matron flagged down a police car. As he was being cuffed, Slater screamed that "This is bullshit! I haven't done anything I'm going to sue everybody." He was later released on $1,000 bail.

Forcible Touch Arrest, May 2005 His alleged ass-grabbing drew both criticism and support. The lovely ladies of NYC's Scores strip club (which you know well if you tune in to Howard Stern in the morning) jumped to Slater's defense saying he always behaved like a "perfect gentleman" while enjoying their services at the club. It's probably better that you don't know how much these chicks rake in on any given evening... Of course they don't want to lose a customer like Christian Slater! The judge dismissed the charges, provided Mr. Happy Hands can keep to himself for six months.

Paris Hilton and Tom Sizemore:  the cream of the crop.
His latest scandal occurred this past week while attending Ms. Paris Hilton's Halloween party (a pillar of society in her own right). Mr. Slater climbed onto her neighbor's roof "to investigate people who had called to complain of noise." Then, drunk and flailing, he apparently lost his balance and fell one story from the roof into the bushes below. Whether or not he fell with the help of LAPD Taser guns seems to be the element in question. He was "not injured, not hurt, not arrested" according to a spokesperson. Slater's people are "confident" that the incident won't violate his six months "good behavior" mandate.

Why doesn't Christian Slater just go quietly into the annals of Hollywood has-been? BECAUSE SHOW BUSINESS IS IN HIS BLOOD.

Helen Slater to the rescue.
Christian Slater was born Christian Michael Leonard Gainsborough on August 18, 1969. As already mentioned, mom is casting director Mary Jo Slater. Dad is Michael Hawkins, a British stage actor. Actor Edward Norton shares Christian's exact birthday. Patrick Swayze, albeit a teensy bit, um, older, also shares this blessed day of birth. Christian has a younger half brother, actor Ryan Slater, whose biggest credit is The Amazing Panda Adventure. For the longest time Dan kept telling me that Christian was the brother to actress Helen Slater, who appeared in Supergirl. Although she and Christian did both appear in The Legend of Billie Jean (1985), Helen "Slater" was actually born Helen Schlacter. No relation. Dan lost the bet.

Christian made his acting debut when Mommy Slater cast him in One Live to Live when he was eight years old. He made numerous TV and movie-of-the-week appearances. However, his big break came in 1989.

Heathers Slater arrived on the scene as Jason Dean, aka J.D., the bad boy, gun-toting, psychopath in Heathers. Given the scared-of-the-religious-right backlash / PC nature of today's films, you won't be seeing offerings like Heathers in a theater near you anytime soon. The scene where J.D. shoots up the Westerburg High cafeteria will never appear in a contemporary teen movie. Likewise, given that most teen sex is also a movie no-no; the impromptu romp under the stars amidst the croquet wickets won't happen either. Heathers poo poos proverbial back stabbing and heads straight Mean Girls toward the good stuff: gun violence, date rape, bulimia, murder and "great pate." Today, you'll have to be content with the Lindsay Lohan vehicle, Mean Girls, to give you the next closest thing. Mean Girls does capture some of the abject bitchiness inherent to high school girl cliques, but otherwise doesn't come close to touching Heathers. Plus, Lohan doesn't die in Mean Girls -- something I wouldn't have minded seeing.

The Heathers and Veronica If you haven't seen Heathers, here's a quickie recap. The three Heathers (Chandler, Duke and McNamara) and Veronica Sawyer comprise the most exclusive clique at Westerburg High in Sherwood, OH. Heather Chandler (Kim Walker) heads the pack as mega-bitch extraordinaire. Everyone "wants her as a friend or a fuck" and the two other Heathers (Shannen Doherty as Bulimic Heather and Lisanne Falk as Cheerleader Heather) follow her lead. Veronica (Winona Ryder), as the only non-Heather, is already at odds with the group. During one of the daily Heather lunch time polls, Jason Dean Veronica locks eyes with the mysterious new loner staring at her from the back corner of the caf. JD later runs into Veronica at 7-11 as she picking up a package of corn nuts ("BQ!") for Heather Chandler prior to attending a Remington party.

Veronica: "No, my life isn't perfect. I don't really like my friends."

J.D.: "I don't really like your friends either."

After Veronica returns from the party (where she puked her guts out, set fire to a garbage can) JD later presents himself at her second story window and invites her out for a "match" of croquet.

While lying on the grass, clothes strewn about, he tells Veronica that, "Heather Chandler is one bitch who deserves to die."

Big Blue The next morning Veronica and J.D. decide to serve Heather C. a big cup of "big blue" drain cleaner as a hangover cure. Given that drano and the human throat aren't the most compatible, Heather plunges face first through her glass coffee table. Veronica and J.D. leave a forged suicide note, thinking that the end of the Heather reign of terror had ended.

I just killed my best friend...  And your worst enemy. Despite her relationship with JD, Cheerleader Heather convinces Veronica to go on a double date with her Ram and Kurt, the homophobe jock date rapists, after the funeral. Veronica leaves Heather pinned under Ram in a pasture full of cowshit. JD convinces his assassin protege that they have to get back at the jocks by using "Ich luge" bullets that "just break the skin to cause a little blood." Trivia Time: "Ich luge" is German for "I'm lying." They arrange an elaborate set up that will make it look as though Ram and Kurt killed each other in a homoerotic double suicide. The boys meet Veronica in the clearing behind the school thinking that they are going to get to "rip her clothes off." Instead, she and JD open fire with the "Ich luge" bullets and kill them both.

I love my dead gay son.
Kurt and Ram have a double funeral, each dressed in football helmets. Unlike Heather Chandler, who didn't appear to have parents at her funeral, Kurt's father, bless his heart, is still willing to admit that:

"My son is gay... I love my dead gay son!"

Martha Dumptruck:  Don't do it.

The Westerberg High "suicides" create a chain effect: the band Big Fun pens an anthem Suicide (Don't Do it), Cheerleader Heather tries to swallow a bottle of pills in the school bathroom and Martha Dumptruck, the outcast fatty, "bellyflops" in front of traffic wearing a suicide note pinned to her shirt.

Light my fire.
Veronica eventually becomes unenchanted with J.D.'s leanings toward murder and mayhem. The film culminates in a struggle between the two in the boiler room under the gym where a pep rally is underway. J.D.'s master plan is to blow up the school and take everyone with it. He ends up only blowing up himself on the steps of the school as Veronica watches, an unlit cigarette hanging from her lip, waiting for the spark. In actuality, the director was forced to back down from Goodbye cruel world. his original ending of J.D. going through with blowing up the school. A "prom in hell" was scheduled to follow. This ending was viewed as a little "too much" and they changed it so he would be the only one to go.



Jack Nicholson.  Just doesn't give a fuck.

Heathers was the film that got everyone talking about how Christian Slater was a "young Jack Nicholson." Slater seemed to embrace this and applied the smirky, drawling delivery to most of his performances. This past year, Slater appeared as McMurphy in the London stage version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, a role for which Nicholson won the 1975 Best Actor Oscar.

In tandem with the 1989 release of Heathers, Christian Slater's first brush with The Law went down. He was arrested for drunk driving after crashing his car into a phone poll, leading LAPD cops on a West Hollywood car chase and kicking said cops with his cowboy boots.

Christian Slater, 1994 mugshot


In 1994 he was arrested for bringing a loaded gun into New York's JFK airport.

In 1995, a former lover, Nina Huang, sued Slater for palimony after their 1995 break-up. They had lived together for five years, and she alleged that she gave up her career to support him. She reportedly collected only $100,000.

In 1997 he was arrested for beating up his then girlfriend, Michelle Jonas, at a party. High on coke, heroin and booze, Slater bit the man who tried to come to his girlfriend's aid. Police were called and found Slater hiding in a stairwell where he was reportedly shouting, "the Germans are coming and they will kill us!" The cops had to wrestle him down and apply a choke hold that caused him to lose consciousness for several seconds. They later strapped on leg irons in order to get him down to the station without further Diana Ross promises not to drink again. incident. He was sent to 90 days at Promises, a rehab in-patient clinic that has also hosted the likes of Danny Bonaduce, Winona Ryder, Diana Ross and Yasmine Bleeth. Following his stint at Promises, he served 59 days in an LA County jail. He was also ordered to pay $1,300 in restitution, keep away from the victims of his outburst, take an AIDS test and mandatory AIDS education classes and attend yearlong treatment for batterers.

Stringfellows strippers don't like Dick. In 2003, Slater was evicted from Stringfellows, a London strip joint because he refused to remove the Richard Nixon mask he was wearing. A bouncer told reporters:

"It was a bit disconcerting for the girls to be dancing for someone who looked like a weirdo. So one of the promoters asked him to remove the mask. He just wouldn't take it off, so the decision was taken to ask him to leave."

Ryan Haddon Slater, 2003 mugshot Also in 2003, Slater was involved in another law scuffle, this time after his then-wife, Ryan Haddon, attacked him with a bottle in a Las Vegas casino. The pair was in Sin City to see a Limp Bizkit concert. That should probably tell you all that you need to know. Charges were dropped against Haddon and Slater received nine stitches to close up the gash in his head where the bottle had struck. The pair divorced in February of 2005. Which brings us full circle to his ass grabbing and roof-tumbling exploits.

Mickey Rourke:  what the hell happened to this guy?

What's next for Slater? I'm hoping for a post op tranny-hooker scandal ala Eddie Murphy. The victim of bad plastic surgery like Mickey Rourke? Or maybe he'll just become a Scientologist.

Slater was quoted in 1998:

"I have a particular beast inside of me I've had to deal with...I tested the envelope there a little bit. I've been testing the envelope for a while, and God, I'm just tired of it."

Not tired enough, apparently. Keep on keepin' on, Christian.

-lisa
 
Copyright 2014 Daniel S. Fettinger and Lisa Warner, all rights reserved.