Up-and-coming young actors can often gauge their heat in the industry by the grief other young actors give them. By that measure, Norman Reedus, who splashed big as one of Prada’s actor/models and won impressive reviews for his performances in the indies “Six Ways to Sunday” and “Floating”, should consider himself hot.
"I’ve caught bull from four out of five young actors with cool exceptions like Adrien Brody and Adam Goldberg," says 30-year-old Reeus. "But, hey, I think there’s enough jobs to go around. Besides, I don’t need to make $20 million a movie."
Maybe not, but Reedus, who’s currently house-hunting in L.A. with his girlfriend, model-turned-photographer Helena Christensen, reportedly stands out so spectacularly among such young lookers as James Marsden and Kate Hudson in the new Joel Shumacher-produced campus drama “Gossip” that he could soon have Hollywood paying big..
"Gossip turned out really good", he says, "even though it was weird for me coming from a world where I usually get one take, two if we’re lucky. On this film it was like, ‘Take 35! OK, hold the glass a little higher this time.’"
Reedus, who is also an accomplished painter, seems refreshingly clearheaded about the movie business. He was a contender for the cast of “Starship Troopers” until, upon reading a chunk of the script, he announced rather presciently, “This is going to suck.”
Right now the actor is hoping director Penny Marshall will pick him to star with Christina Ricci in a movie in which he’d play a tragic guy who descends into drug addiction and ages from his teens to his 60s.
"I haven’t taken acting lessons," he says,"but I’m grateful for life experience, because I left home at 12, lived in Japan and London, and, until a few years ago, was making, like, $7.50 a week in a motorcycle repair shop in Venice, California, where I mostly shoveled pit bull shit."
The actors Reedus most admires emit a similar been-there-and-back worldliness: “I love the chance to learn from really great people like Willem Dafoe, Debbie Harry, Isaac Hayes,” he declares. “They’re devoted professionals who’ve seen so much, yet they’ve remained punk in their stance. They don’t let the weight of it get to them. That is so cool”.
Movieline, September 1999