Tom Sizemore started his acting career right out of college at the age of 25. His first role was in Oliver Stone’s “Born on the Fourth of July.” Tom has since been in several blockbuster movies such as “Saving Private Ryan” and “Black Hawk Down”. Movie Mikes recently had a chance to talk with Tom about his career his recovery from drugs and alcohol and his new film “White Knight.”
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Adam Lawton: What made you want to get into acting?
Tom Sizemore: (Laughs) that’s a big one! I really loved movies when I was growing up. I had started in my teens trying to figure out how you actually went about acting. I went out for a play at my high school and I really enjoyed it. From there I went on to college as a theater major. I really was pretty good at it from the beginning. I think because I wanted to do it so badly and the fact that I worked at it very hard resulted in my success so early on. By the time I was 18 years old I was fully committed to becoming an actor. It’s funny because I never looked at acting as a career choice. As it got closer to my high school graduation and before leaving for college is when I started to investigate if I could actually become an actor. I had found that there were a few grad schools such as Temple University that had what were called League of Professional Actors Training Programs. In order to get into one of these schools you had to audition. I went and auditioned and was accepted to a few different schools. When everything was said and done I chose to attend Temple University due to it being close to New York. By the time I was 25, I was making my living as a professional actor.
AL: How was your experience on “VH1’s Celebrity Rehab/Sober House”?
TS: It ended up being a very good one. I didn’t really like it when it was happening but the end result has been great. I had worked with Dr. Drew previously, however things did not work and I returned to using each time. Prior to being asked to take part in the show, I was having a really tough time. I called Dr. Drew and told him I was in bad shape and needed help but I didn’t have any money for treatment. Dr. Drew and Bob Forrest came to my house and told me they would help me at no charge. They also asked if I would be interested in taking part in the show. They weren’t being manipulative by any means! I have known both Dr. Drew and Bob for quite some time and they truly wanted to help me. I agreed to do the show and it worked!
AL: Do you think having the cameras on you all the time during your recovery process helped or hurt?
TS: It must have helped mine because I had never completed treatment or remained clean. This time I have. I think either way with or without the cameras I would have remained successful in my recovery because I truly wanted to get clean this time. About mid-way through the recovery process I just ignored them because I was so focused on my recovery. I didn’t care what was going on around me. It was time for me to get myself together.
AL: For you which process was harder, the rehab portion or sober living?
TS: Sober living was much tougher. Even more so was that after the show was over, I went on to another sober living facility that was an additional 90 days. During those additional 90 days, I had no cameras or anyone following me around. I had total freedom. It was extremely hard! However I had to get back out into the world and reintroduce myself. This was very humbling and hard for me and there were times where I wanted to say “Fuck it…let’s get high!” But I didn’t as it was really time for me to put my best foot forward. If I was using Dr. Drew told me that I wouldn’t be putting my best foot forward.
AL: You have had the opportunity to be a part of some really great movies. Is there one that sticks out as a favorite?
TS: That’s a tossup. I was in some really great movies! “Natural Born Killers” because of its subject matter. At the time, I think it was a type of movie that had never been made. The way that movie was made was just totally unique. Probably the best time I ever had, was the series I did called “Robbery Homicide Division”. I had so much fun working with Michael Mann. I worked very closely with him on that show. I love all my roles and always have a good time.
AL: What was it like getting to be part of such a great cast in the movie “Heat”?
TS: The caliber of people involved in that movie was so high combined with Michael Mann being such a brilliant director. It really made working on that film a pleasure. The scenes were all great as well as the characters.
AL: You had the opportunity to work with Oliver Stone very early in your career. Do you think that opportunity had an effect on your career as a whole?
TS: I learned very quickly that films were a director’s domain. The director has pretty much the final say as to what is going to be on the screen. Oliver made a really great impression on me. Going into my first film I had no idea that shooting days could be 18 hours long. Nor did I realize all the work that went into a film after the shooting had wrapped. The way Oliver approached film making really had an effect on me.
AL: Did your previous work with Oliver kind of impact his decision about having you in “Natural Born Killers”?
TS: Yes. Oliver had been following my work after “Born on the Fourth of July.” I went in and met with him as there were a few other names being considered for the role such as James Woods and Gary Oldman. They weren’t really looking for a white trash guy or an all American guy. They just wanted a normal everyday mid western type.
AL: Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects?
TS: “White Knight” is a really great movie that I just completed with Stacey Keach and Kevin P. Farley. It’s a comedy based around the character I play being imprisoned. I also have some other things in the works but I can’t say too much about those at this time.
AL: Was ‘White Knight” your first film after rehab?
TS: Yes it was. It was about 5 or 6 months after I finished sober living.
AL: How was that experience?
TS: It was very hard however it went very well. I wasn’t used to being clean. My confidence was somewhat shaken but after just a few hours on set I started to have fun again. Act 2 is going to be even better than Act 1!
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One Reply to “Interview with Tom Sizemore”
Great job! Sizemore has always been a favorite of mine (love him in “True Romance”) and I’m glad he’s finally beat his demons!