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Premiere April 1994

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PREMIERE April 1994

Interviewer: Veronica Chambers

A decade-long, twenty-film career without a hit to call his own - and yet Slater still has a good chance of capturing the first-rank stardom that has been predicted for him since the Reagan administration. Since 1983's Risky Business unleashed Tom Cruise, Hollywood has been unable to find a fully bankable male star in his twenties. It wasn't from lack of trying, but even the most promising candidates couldn't - or wouldn't - fit the bill. Charlie Sheen foundered in the romance genre; Johnny Depp proudly resisted attempts to put him into formula action pictures; John Cusack doesn't work often enough. These days, Brad Pitt and Keanu Reeves are the young actors who can carry a gun, get the girl, and tell a joke, but Slater is definitely giving them a run for their money.

Part of Slater's staying power is his immense likability. Easygoing and earnest, decent and friendly, he's gained the respect of everyone he works with. Levinson compares him to Humphrey Bogart, saying there's something about Slater "that's sort of engaging and fascinating." Tony Scott, who directed Slater in True Romance, says, "He's charming, he's sexy, and that's the danger that comes from his past." Even crusty Sean Connery says of Slater, "I'm pleased to say that we've stayed very, very good friends."

His staunch fans may be a bit baffled at first by his Jimmy Hollywood turn, in which he plays William, a dim-witted Hollywood street kid-videotapehead who plays Robin to Joe Pesci's crazy Batman. But Slater points to "the quality of the project and the people that I'm making a strong attempt to work with and have relationships with." Levinson, for one, took careful note of Slater's earnestness. "For a younger guy who's gotten a certain degree of success," he says, "he seem to really want to be in there to work."

"With all the expectations I had of that film," he says, "it was one of the hugest letdowns I've ever had in my entire career. I still think it's a great movie." Christian Slater talking about True Romance

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