Born into a family that had a strong film background, it was only natural for Christian Slater to follow suit. Following the footsteps of his father, Slater found his first acting role in the ABC soap opera ‘One Life to Live.’ He was just eight years old then.
He then made his Broadway debut as the lisping Winthrop Paroo opposite Dick Van Dyke in the 1980 revival of ‘The Music Man.’ The debut was soon followed by other Broadway stage shows including ‘Copperfield’, ‘Merlin’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Side Man’, and ‘The Glass Menagerie.’ In addition, he performed in London's West End in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest’ and ‘Swimming With Sharks.’
In 1985, Slater’s big breakthrough came in with the film ‘The Legend of Billie Jean.’ In it, he played the character of Billie Jean’s brother ‘Binx.’ Though the film was assumed to be a grand hit, it fell short of expectations. Nevertheless, it gained a cult following.
It was in the 1986 film ‘The Name of the Rose’ that Slater established his status as an actor. Starring alongside Sean Connery, he played the role of Connery's apprentice monk while they investigate a series of murders at a Benedictine abbey. Next, he was seen in a few films including ‘Tucker: The Man and His Dream’, ‘Beyond the Stars’ and ‘Gleaming the Cube’, the last one being his first film as a lead actor.
Though Slater was a few films old by the late 1980s, a major hit eluded him until 1989 when he starred in the dark comedy ‘Heathers’. In the film, he donned the dark character of JD, a rebellious teen, who alongside the character played by Winona Ryder, undermines their high school’s social hierarchy, dominated by several girls named Heather. ‘Heathers’ gained phenomenal success as a cult film and was billed as the top teen film of the 1980s.
Christian Slater’s performance in ‘Heathers’ was a standout from the others early in his career. He was noted for his brilliant performance both by the audience and the critics alike, thus giving him a strong foothold in the film industry. Some critics even compared him to the likes of Jack Nicholson. Following ‘Heathers’, Slater did similar roles of a troubled youth in a couple of films such as ‘Pump Up the Volume’, and ‘Young Guns II.’
In 1991, he scored his biggest box office hit till then with the Hollywood big budget production ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’. Starring alongside Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman and Alan Rickman, Slater played the character of Will Scarlet. The film was a commercial success, grossing US$390 million worldwide. The superlative success of the film had a major impact on Slater’s career as an actor as well, as he became enlisted as one of the major A-list stars of the 1990s.
His career continued to be on a roll as he starred in several hit films in the following years including ‘Mobsters’ and ‘Kuffs.’ Being a big Star Trek fan, Slater jumped at the opportunity to play a minor role in ‘Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.’
Fearing being typecast as an actor playing dark roles, Slater expanded his film genre and took a lead role in the romantic drama film ‘Untamed Heart’ in 1993 where he was cast opposite Marisa Tomei. Later the same year, he essayed the role of Clarence Worley in the Quentin Tarantino-penned cult classic ‘True Romance.’
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Towards of the end of the 1990s, he played versatile roles – as an interviewer in ‘Interview with the Vampire’, as Lewis in the romantic film ‘Bed of Roses’ and as Riley Hale in the big budget movie ‘Broken Arrow.’ Other films that he was a part of include ‘Hard Rain’ and ‘Very Bad Things.’
Since 2000, Slater has worked mainly in low budget films as a lead actor though he has also starred as a supporting actor in mainstream productions occasionally such as ‘Bobby’ and ‘3000 Miles to Graceland.’
In the 2000s he did television roles regularly, starring in the successful TV series ‘The West Wing’ and ‘Alias.’ Other television shows that he was a part of include ‘The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron’, ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ and ‘The Forgotten.’
Beginning from 2011, Christian Slater has been a part of several hit projects including ‘The River Murders’, ‘Soldiers of Fortune’, ‘Bullet to the Head’, ‘The Power of Few’, ‘Nymphomaniac’, ‘Ask Me Anything’, and ‘The Adderall Diaries.’ ‘King Cobra’ was his most recent appearance on the big screen as of January 2017.
Since 2015, he is playing a computer hacker, ‘Mr. Robot’, in the highly acclaimed television series called ‘Mr. Robot’. For his solid performance in his role as the titular character, the leader of an underground hacktivist group, Slater received the first Golden Globe nomination of his career and won the award the following year. The show is currently running in its third season.
Of late, Slater has given his voice to three television shows including ‘Jake and the Never Land Pirates’ as the Grim Buccaneer, ‘The Lion Guard’ as Ushari and ‘Milo Murphy's Law’ as Elliot Decker.
Personal Life & Legacy
Christian Slater has had romantic relationship with numerous personalities including actresses Winona Ryder and Samantha Mathis, and model Christy Turlington. He finally tied the nuptial knot with Ryan Haddon in 2000. The couple was blessed with two children, Jaden Christopher and Eliana Sophia. However, things deteriorated between the two as they headed for a split in 2005. Two years later, Slater and Haddon officially divorced.
In December 2013, Slater married Brittany Lopez. The two had dated for three years before getting married.
Slater has been arrested and held on several occasions for various reasons including drunk driving, trying to carry a gun on a commercial plane, sexually assaulting women, and drug addiction.