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C. Thomas Howell

  • American actor
  • Born December 7, 1966

Christopher Thomas Howell (born December 7, 1966), is an American actor and director. He has starred in the films Soul Man, The Hitcher, Grandview U.S.A., Red Dawn, Secret Admirer and The Outsiders. He has also appeared in Gettysburg as Thomas Chamberlain, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Amazing Spider-Man, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay.


I feel like actors, having spent a lot of time on movie sets, tend to make decent directors, because they've been there, they know what they're doing, they've seen it done right, they've seen it done wrong, and they feel comfortable. There's not a lot of chin-scratching and wondering what your next move is.




I didn't really make up my mind to be an actor until I did 'The Hitcher' with Rutger Hauer. I was about 17 or 18 when I did that, by which point I'd probably done a dozen or more movies or TV things, but 'The Hitcher' was the experience that made me want to study and commit and learn how to do this for my life.




I mean, I'm willing to do anything with Chris Chulack - he's one of my favorite directors I've ever worked with, and I just think he's a fantastic man, and a great creator, and a good friend.




My dad's a very shrewd, clever guy.




Going from a child actor to an adult actor is not an easy thing, and I was sort of lost in a no man's land for a while, trying to figure out who I was as a person, and going from a young actor to an adult actor.




I grew up as a child living 'Red Dawn.' I was leaping out of spider holes, mowing down Russkies at the age of eight.




To be a good director, you have to spend a lot of time on actual sets, but today, there's a lot of people who spend a lot of time in dark rooms writing a script, and they'll go in and tell the story to some suit at a studio who says, 'Okay, this is great, let's go.' But that doesn't necessarily mean you know what to do once you're on set.




My father got a phone call to bring me in to meet with Spielberg for 'E.T.,' partially because they knew I was a physical kid, and I was known in the business somewhat as a stunt kid, and I could do all the bicycle riding.




Once you really understand your role... that's why I think actors get lost in a series. Everybody wants to be the quarterback or the game-winning wide receiver. I've been around long enough and done enough stuff to where I don't feel that way. I just want to do what I do as well as possible.




I wasn't one of those kids who was chasing the dream and wanted to get to Hollywood because one day I was gonna get my chance and be a big star. I never felt like that.



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