SCOTT HAZE IN NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 2013. STYLING: ANDREAS KOKKINO. JACKET AND PANTS: DIOR HOMME. T-SHIRT: ALEXANDER WANG.
As a teenager, Scott Haze would reenact disquieting moments from his favorite movies in public—like the time he delivered Al Pacino’s “I’m reloaded” poolroom shoot-out tirade from Carlito’s Way (1993) in a Texas supermarket. “I was a rebellious kid, always getting into trouble,” explains the 33-year-old Haze, who stars in a new James Franco-directed adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s 1973 novel Child of God. “Acting is what I dreamed about when I was doing those impressions as a kid. Even if I didn’t know it yet.” In Child of God, Haze plays Lester Ballard, a violent, tortured wanderer living far outside of the social order in backwoods Tennessee, a character widely considered to be a take on real-life 1950s serial killer Ed Gein. As Ballard, Haze graphically defecates on screen, nearly bites the head of a live quail, and uses a dead woman’s body for sex while the large plush toys that are his only friends silently look on. While Child of God may not be the date movie of the year, it is certainly a platinum opportunity for a rigorous, infinitely curious performer like Haze to deliver the kind of extremes that he would have imitated during his high-school years. “I initially read the script and said, ‘Oh my god, I’m going to do that?’ ” Haze recalls. “And that’s when the kid in me kicked in—‘I’m going to get to do that!’ It’s one of the greatest roles I’ve ever read.” Haze prepared for the role by spending three and a half months in self-imposed isolation in Tennessee without any tether to the outside world save for an iPod loaded with Eminem. He lost 45 pounds subsisting on apples and fish, and learned the hard way that a campfire in a cave needs adequate ventilation or the smoke will agitate the bats. “It’s all about discipline,” Haze says, citing the work ethic of his favorite athlete, Kobe Bryant. “Do I want to be wasting any moment? It’s like the clock is ticking on everything.” To this end, Haze appears in three other Franco-helmed projects—the two have been friends for 12 years—including adaptations of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury, and an upcoming Charles Bukowski biopic. Haze also wrote and directed the 2014 documentary Ghost & Goblins about wrestling legend Lee Kemp and the American boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. He’s in the midst of production on a documentary about the Bruce Wayne of Nairobi, Kenyan businessman turned humanitarian Charles Mulli. Meanwhile, he continues to support young actors and directors at the Sherry Theater in North Hollywood, the performance space he created in 2006. “I never want to look back on any moment and say I could have done more,” he says. “So I go all in.”
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