Site Staff Manager
Haley Joel Osment held an Ask Me Anything session today at Reddit at 2:00 PM EST, answering various questions about himself and his works, as well as offering his opinions regarding several topics of discussion. Of course, it goes without saying that quite a few of the questions were about the Kingdom Hearts series.
We've compiled the questions and answers from his AMA for you to read below. The one's relevant to the Kingdom Hearts series are underlined.
Artvandelay1: Have you started working on Kingdom Hearts 3 yet? What do you know about it that you can legally share with us?
HJO: Wow, lots of Kingdom Hearts questions! I am a fan of the series too, so I am excited to see what they do with KH3. I only have about as much information as you all do at the moment; they are still making the game, and my part is one of the last steps in the process. I won't be involved until later in the year at the earliest. But I will let you all know if I hear anything more!
swim_to_survive: Hey Haley, I just want to prepare you for what is bound to come later today. Like many, I loved Secondhand Lions and Pay It Forward. How was working with Michael Caine? I always dreamt he would've made the coolest grandfather. Also, sorry about my bad GIF making ability.. I'm just not that talented.
HJO: Michael Caine is a is a gifted storyteller and hugely generous actor. He would regale all of us on the set with his many stories going back decades in his career. He wrote a very good book in the 80s about acting technique that gives you a good idea of what he's like in person. He is never afraid to share his experience and technique with a younger actor and I appreciated that very much.
SpecialOpsCynic: The speech Duvall gave to you in Second Hand Lions is one of my favorite sceens ever. Was that really unscripted and if so did he off screen ever add on to it?
HJO: it was unscripted....one of the many remarkable things about Duvall is his absolute dedication to the integrity of not only his own, but his costars' performances; he refused to get out of the lake and wear a coat when we did my coverage of that climactic scene and it was freezing and he is in hiseighties. You can always count on him to give it his all, on camera and off camera.
Cocochica33: What was your strategy for avoiding the child star meltdown that so many young actors and actresses seem to experience today?
HJO: I think the biggest determining factor was my parents. They made an enormous effort to keep me grounded and to make sure that I didn't slack off on school or the other aspects of my life that would be important whether or not my career went anywhere. My dad is a theater actor so he was a big influence in the way I focused on the work rather than the other "Hollywood" aspects of the business, and my mom, a sixth grade teacher, was adamant that I finish my education. I did graduate from NYU in 2011 and I'm glad she steered me that way!
I was also very lucky to work with directors and producers who treated young actors with respect and protected their welfare on set. Spielberg is very well known for caring about where his young actors end up. He sends personal holiday cards to my family to this day which is just mind boggling because his Rolodex must extend into the hundred thousands!
surakian: I wanted to know what it was like working with Jude Law in A.I.! He seems like a really cool guy to get to work with and A.I. was one of my favorite films as a child.
HJO: AI offered me the most in-depth preparatory experience of my career. Jude and I rehearsed with Steven extensively in the months leading up to filming. Jude also had the immense task of learning to dance expertly in a variety of styles; not only did he sit through three hours of makeup every morning, he was taking hours of lessons in Salsa, swing etc. (my makeup only took about 45 minutes...no prosthesis!)
suffynose: Any information on Tusk you could give us? And, have you seen the play-off cat play you off of Walker Texas Ranger?
HJO: We were excited to see (a semi-accurate) post about Tusk's wrapping in North Carolina go to #1 on Reddit last November! I think Kevin Smith has done an excellent job cultivating his fan base on social media and elsewhere (some of his talk backs go on for 8 hours!) and that was some evidence right there. We have a few more days of pick ups in February but Ive seen a cut and it's OUT OF CONTROL. I laughed and felt uncomfortable in the same proportion as when I watch David Lynch movies. Release will be second half of '14 I believe.
ragertes: How did you like working with Will Farrell? it seems everyone either loves him or hates... And What is your favorite breakfast cereal?
HJO: I'm in the former camp! I think that he and his longtime collaborators (Matt Piedmont and Andrew Steele, director and writer of Spoils, respectively) have an even more surreal sense of humor than what their work on SNL suggested. Matt has a directing style that works perfectly with Ferrell's sensibilities; it's almost a kind of performance art. I had a blast.
vanwyngarden: When you were filming the sixth sense did you suffer from nightmares? I am 26 now but I have had a reoccurring dream about the man in the shower since I was 10!
HJO: It certainly was a disturbing subject matter but there is something desensitizing (not necessarily in a negative way) about seeing the whole process of making a horror movie that prevents you from being too scared going forward. I like horror movies but I have trouble getting really scared anymore! There is a deleted scene from the Sixth Sense where I look out the window of the hospital and see an entire wing with horribly disfigured and mutilated people standing in each of the dozens of windows. I saw every single one of these actors going through makeup and that kind of eased the shock of it. I think Night wisely cut that out because we end up having a movie that isn't too gory and your imagination (the most terrifying force at work) takes over.
For that reason, it's things like The Road, House of Leaves, and The Shining that have the most enduring hold on me because they question your own sanity and send your imagination spiralling out into the worst regions you're capable of imagining.
-- Continued --
hatchetboy: If we nag you enough, can you get that scene put on Youtube?
HJO: I'm actually not sure if it's even on the DVD....internet: find it
Toberoni: Do people still approach you as "former child star"? If so, how do you deal with that situation?
HJO: When you get lucky, as I did getting to work on a series of amazing films, one of the drawbacks career-wise is that the image of you at 10 or 12 or whatever is burned into people's minds for a long time. That said, I'm proud that those films are still so beloved and that they stand a good chance of being watched for many years going forward. For an actor, however, it's important to keep diversifying your work and trusting that eventually people will see the span rather than just that moment in time.
Staxcellence: Hey Haley, thanks for doing this AMA. As The Sixth Sense was a pretty dark movie and you were still a young kid, do you have any lighthearted memories from being on set? Also, do you feel like you hit puberty quicker after being exposed to Bruce Willis and his radiant manliness?
HJO: Hahaha i was still a few years away from puberty at that point but Bruce's radiant manliness certainly cannot be denied. He was great to work with, and I wish I had been a little older at the time because apparently there were some pretty great Willis-DJed crew parties on the weekends at the Philadelphia Convention center.
Side note: that building was the setting used for filming a lot of movies in the 90s (including 12 Monkeys). People like JFK and Billy Graham spoke there long ago and it has since been demolished. It's weird to go by there now and think of everything that took place in that space. A very Sixth Sense theme!
J0llly: Have you ever experienced a pay it forward moment in your own life?
HJO: I hear some amazing stories from strangers with surprising regularity....things like kidneys being donated and family members being flown to bed-sides (!)....it never ceases to amaze me that a movie can have such a lasting effect on the public consciousness. There are a lot of very serious problems in this country but one thing we have going for us is how people are so often willing to make sacrifices to help one another. I've seen this just on this site, from lost dogs being returned to homeless people being housed!
lord_leon: If you could, would you take it all back and have been a normal child (instead of a child star), and why?
HJO: I think I actually got to experience a "normal" childhood in ways most people don't expect. I went to a regular elementary school, high school, and went to university with only two work-related interruptions in those last four years. You are kind of thrust into the spotlight by being in projects like the ones we've mentioned at a young age but my parents made a tremendous effort to have a home life, education, and community that preserved the privacy and freedom kids need. It also delayed my involvement with social media until this very day (this reddit ama was my first ever tweet) and I think my desire to have almost absolute privacy protected me in my teens and early twenties (which may not have been the case if I didn't grow up that way). At 25 now I think I'm better prepared for public life in this industry.
So, short answer: no. :)
WaterLady28: Hi Haley! Do you ever re-watch the movies you were in when you were really young, and is it kind of a surreal experience? Like is it hard to believe it was really you or is it more of a "fond memories" kind of deal? Thanks for doing this AmA. :)
HJO: When big studio films come out you wind up seeing them like a dozen times in a very short period while you're doing publicity. For the Sixth Sense, we went to premiers in Japan, Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. So I don't usually return after that except by accident! I don't have a problem returning to my own work (sometimes the things you hate about a performance can inspire you to fix the issue next time around) . I had a crazy experience in Cuba in 2011 related to this. I went (legally!) with one of my NYU professors (an excellent teacher named Catherine Coray--If you're in NYC, you may know her from the theatre festivals and workshops she runs there) and did workshops at a university outside Havana. They asked me to do a talk back there and I saw the Sixth Sense for the first time in a decade. Didn't recognize myself! I remember the experience of shooting movies very clearly but it's strange to watch yourself as a kid.
alexzandra13: I went NYU when you were there. I think I saw you on campus once. Hi! How did you like your program there?
HJO: NYU is a gigantic school but the little part of it I attended was perfect for me. I was at the Experimental Theatre Wing in the Tisch School of the Arts and I loved every minute of it.
lanxner: The Kingdom Hearts plot is really hard to follow, but seeing as you’ve provided your voice for most of the games, can you understand most of it? Do you tend to play the games yourself?
HJO: I will never forget walking in for the first session of KH2 and seeing that the producers had set up a bulletin board with a flow chart explaining the sequence of events in different universes and watching them almost struggle to sort it out. It wasn't that they weren't knowledgeable, they just were still unraveling the story for themselves and dealing with the huge amount of information Nomura-San puts out. That was when I personally realized how video games had reached the level of art.
Or maybe when I beat the Spirit Temple for the first time on N64....
hiperbad: I liked you as Mac in It's Always Sunny.
HJO: thank you! I loved that show from season 1...I did not pick-up on the McIlhenny/Osment doppelganger situation until I read an interview where Charlie Day described Rob's being accosted on an airplane by a lady who refused to believe he wasn't me. I was thrilled to be asked to do even a promo. I thought about doing a cursory Ancestry.com search after talking to Rob and Kaitlin because both Rob and I have very very Irish ancestry.....but that probably would have been a bit creepy.
It was surreal sitting at the bar in Paddy's Pub after watching that show for years and years and years. The cast is the opposite of their characters, I might add. Such nice people.
KMA10k: With regards to Kingdom Hearts, how does it feel to have played the character of Sora for essentially half your life now? Is it an honor, a burden, or something else entirely?
HJO: It is weird to think that this is the character I've been with the longest! It's a great series though and I hope it goes on and on and on.....I did a play in Philadelphia a few years ago ( "Red" by John Logan) and we had a talkback after one Student Matinee....every single question was "WHEN IS THE NEXT ONE COMING OUT?" I enjoyed that.
turtle_jetpack: What's your favorite flavor of pie?
HJO: Pumpkin. My mom makes a killer pumpkin pie.
DEDson: Imdb says you like to hunt lizards. Why lizards, and what kind of traps/spells do you use?
HJO: I used to catch fence lizards growing up in California with a bamboo pole and humane snare (only catch-and-release!) . Then I got serious at about age 8 and got a leopard gecko. They are great pets if you're into reptiles. This is true: I still have that same lizard (Pete). He's 18 years old and they live even longer.
Wyrme: Where do your music interests lie?
HJO: This is something I look forward to digging into now that I'm on twitter. Here are some of the things I'm listening to right now: (I'll add throughout this AMA)
My Bloody Valentine - mbv Arthur Verocai - Arthur Verocai Little Dragon - Ritual Union Thundercat - Golden Age of Apocalypse Suburban Lawns - (good luck finding this one, I almost couldn't!) Joey Bada$$ - (lots, probably 1999 most frequently), anything by Flying Lotus
tame impala, longtime radiohead fan, broadcast ( I want to underline this band in particular because I so often find that folks havent heard them. Tragically, trish keenan passed away a few years ago)
stereolab, ultraista, Altitude Sickness
i'll surely be pestering the world with my playlist recs on twitter in the times to come...
Cparsonslv: Are you a robot? I've been convinced that you were a robot.
HJO: Stanley Kubrick actually wanted a robot! but technology couldn't get to his level so they had to make do with me...
marshmallowhugs: Hi Haley, I have to say that Pay it Forward is one of my favorite movies of all times. You had some good WWF moves in addition to the acting! Between Helen Hunt, Kevin Spacey, and Kevin Bacon (for the parts of the movie he was in) who did you look up to most?
HJO: Kevin and Helen were equally inspiring and kind on that project---I've met Kevin Bacon and worked with his wife (Keira Knightley) but we've never had scenes together. He's great too though, obviously. And a good guitarist. Does that put me one degree away from him or two?
ChezySpam: What is your most recent or most significant feeling of buyer's remorse?
HJO: HD-DVD player...
detrickswan: Hey Haley! How was it working on TUSK? Is it as messed up as I hope it's going to be? Thanks for doing this AMA!
HJO: It is. I saw a rough cut two days ago. Immediately knew my Mom and my girlfriend will both not be able to sit through it!
sleepyhouse: What's the last album you bought?
HJO: The Orwells - Remember When
ContinuumGuy: Just a random question: Have you always gone by "Haley Joel", or were called just Haley Osment or just Joel Osment before you went into acting?
HJO: I'm actually not sure how this came to be --It's all three of my real, birth certificate names.....in my personal life I'm just called "Haley"
XXX-Rx_RnR: Hey Haley,
I just popped by to say that we've met a couple of times at a Deli I used to manage right next to NYU, don't know if you recall that though. I wanted to pop by and say that I am a huge fan of your work and you are a very awesome chill dude! Awesome to see you doing an AMA ! Cheers!
HJO: thank you! was it Delion? I went by recently and it looks like a whole new store? Weird how different all the spots are along 8th st and waverly etc just a few short years since I was at NYU! If it was Delion, I feel like I went in there at 11AM five days a week during my break. Often I would be waiting for a bialy next to Spike Lee. I think he was editing "When The Levees Broke" in our building. Very nice guy.
now that would be a great AMA....has he done one?
travisburnsred: Do people ever call you "Little Forrest"?
HJO: sometimes people think I am the little Forrest who wore the leg braces! So I guess there were 2 mini-forrests in that film.
Driz51: Who is your favorite Kingdom Hearts character besides Sora and what is your favorite line of Sora's?
HJO: the number of times i have screamed "RI KUUUUUU"... Kairi's great too....not playing favorite
HankSinatra: Can you please explain the context behind this keyboard cat video that features you and Walker Texas Ranger?
HJO: i think you'd have to ask Conan. I was at a press conference with Tobey Maguire last week and learned that he was also on Walker! a rite of passage... he got to be a "cigarette smoking tough in a leather jacket" however. I died of AIDS.
ToniToniToni: Hi Mr. Osment,
My wife and I are big fans of Alpha House and we are loving the storyline with the Senator you are reporting on. My question is, what was it like working with Amazon Prime on their first TV show, (did you predict it would be a hit or was it more of a risk?) and if you have plans to work with them on a second season of Alpha House, or any of their other original shows? (love Betas also) Thank you!
HJO: A college friend of mine named Maya Erskine is on Betas....she is quite an actress----I don't think we will ever know if we were a hit or not because Amazon doesn't have to reveal it! Gary Trudeau said that they will not even be telling him. I broke from my custom and actually looked at our Amazon reviews and stars and there were around 10 000 and most of them were very positive so I feel good about a second season. I absolutely love that cast: Goodman, Matt Malloy, Mark Consuelos, Clark Johnson, Yara Martinez and many more who deserve a mention ; we all get along and have a lot of fun too which is always nice!
to clarify: Amazon does not release the data on how many people downloaded the show, but my impression is that many, many did!
BobSacramanto: I have been seeing the previews for The Spoils of Babylon lately and was wondering, is it supposed to be serious or is it sort of making fun of the epic movie genre?
HJO: the idea is that a bunch of actors in the 1970s were hired by eric jonrosh to make a miniseries that would not only rival the greatest works of television, but put Shakespeare, Dante, and Milton to shame. Modern viewers can probably tell that Jonrosh failed mightily in his aims....so my work as an actor was : Haley Osment playing Marty Comanche who portrayed Winston Morehouse in: The Spoils of Babylon
relient23: Would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses, or one horse sized duck?
HuntFrig: Hi Haley, thanks for doing this AMA.
How was it working with Kevin Smith on the set of "Tusk"? Was he different than the other directors you worked with? Was it a fun time on the set?
HJO: Kevin loves movies so much....he is also one of the most easygoing and friendly guys you'll meet. I did an interview with him yesterday on his new show SPOILERS that was great fun--
HelenVonBiscuits: How do you feel about fame? Do you like being recognized or is it a nuisance?
HJO: In general I have a lot of mixed feelings about "FAME" and who we choose idolize and pick apart as a culture, but for me personally it's just one of the aspects of our industry and I don't mind people coming up and wanting to talk about a movie. People are almost always very nice about it. I saw a fellow young actor, Jack Gleeson from Game of Thrones, speak very eloquently about this at Oxford Union
Archulerus: As a mortician when people find out what I do for a living I get asked "Do you see dead people?". I don't know you but you have caused me some annoyances.
HJO: I'm sorry for that! Morticians get an unfair rap----just ask the Fishers...
I saw an interview with a mortician in LA Weekly or something years ago. His response to one question has stayed with me. They asked him if seeing all the ways people die made him afraid of accidents and the like. He said No, in fact it made him feel more at peace with his imminent death because it really can happen at any time--HOWEVER, one common accident that really upset him and changed his driving habits was seeing small children that had been run over in parking lots, since they were shorter than the mirrors. So look over your shoulder when backing out of that space!
PHogenson: I really loved A.I., and I thought your performance was phenomenal, but I think it's also a really misunderstood movie. How do you feel about the way that movie has been received and what are you feelings about it compared to your other works?
HJO: I saw the excellent Kubrick exhibit at LACMA last year and they had one room dedicated to AI---it featured a bunch of drawings Kubrick had commissioned in the early 1990s and it was thrilling to see that Steven had perfectly captured what Stanley had envisioned 20 years ago. Kubrick was never going to direct it; he told steven it should be "A Stanley Kubrick Production of a Steven Spielberg Film," and I think Steven was absolutely true to everything he had planned with Stanley, even if some aspects (like the robots at the end) exposed him to criticism that it was "sentimental" or that the designs recalled Close Encounters. I think people would be surprised if they knew the details of who-added-what during the development process because Stanley was becoming a (little) bit more hopeful and Steven was exploring darker territory than people were used to. Usually the children don't get buried under a glacier for 2000 years in Steven's films!
LostInLightRotation: Hi Haley, thanks for doing this. My partner (weirdly last night) told me you were once linked with the Harry Potter role but dismissed the rumours saying they would diminish the magic of the books. Was my girlfriend correct in this? How do you feel now the the films have been completed? Are you a fan and do you think they've affected the books?
HJO: There were rumors at the time that I was connected but they were untrue. Rowling was (rightly) adamant about the actor being British from the beginning, and I was already shooting AI. Side note: Dan Radcliffe is a terrific guy. Great on stage too.
AMA_requester: Being one of the rare child actors to be nominated for an Academy Award, what was that feeling like? Sitting at the Oscars and being acclaimed amongst the likes of Michael Caine and Tom Cruise?
HJO: Having Michael Caine say what he said was one of the great honors of my life. That category was pretty special that year, as I worked with Law and Caine in the years following the nomination. Tom Cruise was also very kind to me and my family throughout that award season, as was Michael Clarke Duncan. RIP: he was a lovely guy and great actor.
Agent4nderson: D'you like sports? What are your teams?
HJO: Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Lakers, LA Kings, New York Football Giants (since before those super bowls! just beat the bandwagon) Glad to see Kershaw will be around for a good while!
WIGGLE_DINOSAUR: How did you enjoy being on the Adam Carolla podcast?
HJO: lots of fun---i'd definitely like to go back sometime----his fans probably already know this but he has some serious cars in the studio/garage...I recognized one from Seinfeld's great new show (same make, not the exact car)
RageagainsttheSons: Absolutely loved you on The Adam Carolla Show today. You were very eloquent and had great stuff to add to his rambling. What's your favorite pizza topping? Pineapple and Canadian Bacon?
HJO: Lot of very solid, basic Pizza places in my neighborhood in nyc....where I get creative is the sauces....banana ketchup, habanero, many obscure types of BBQ sauce. A homemade BBQ chicken pizza can be pretty great--
UKAndrew: What was it like after your popularity exploded after The Sixth Sense? Also did you know the twist ending while you were filming?
HJO: It was crazy, but being a little kid meant that I wasn't suddenly going to Hollywood functions etc....I was just going to school. That was probably a good thing.
I did understand the ending....we had something like 2 or 3 weeks of relaxed but thorough rehearsal before shooting and that can really make the difference. Some actors and some movies benefit from consciously avoiding rehearsal, so that the material is fresh ....but most movies would benefit from studios recognizing rehearsal as a worthwhile investment in the actors....another great book on movies was written by the wonderful Sidney Lumet.....he casually mentions a MONTH of rehearsals at the start of 12 Angry Men or a film like that. That doesn't happen very much these days. When people watch films from the 1970s (and other decades of course) and go "wow, why isn't acting that good in most movies today? (very generally speaking. a point to the contrary: 2013 was an outstanding year) I would argue that it is frequently because of the lack of rehearsals. Many of those extraordinary supporting actors in movies like Dog Day Afternoon had long careers in theater and were used to massive preparation before performing it onstage or onscreen. That's why even the smallest little parts are so full of life.
- Both you and your sister started acting early in your careers. Was acting introduced to you by your parents or was it something you sought out?
- When you saw the script for Tusk, what was your initial reaction?
- I host a podcast that has celebrity guests talk about hobbies and and things they nerd out about outside of their careers. Would you be interested in being a part of the show for an episode?
Thank you and look forward to your answers!
HJO: My parents moved from Birmingham AL to Los Angeles in the early 80s so my dad could run a theater on santa monica boulevard----it started there and once i was randomly put into a commercial and things sort of took off, my sister followed soon after with commercials and other things of her own. I don't think anyone planned it this way but it has worked out very well and Emily has done fantastic work in her own right! she is working in the Caribbean right now on a series for Sony/Crackle
DEDson: Imdb says you like to hunt lizards. Why lizards, and what kind of traps/spells do you use?
HJO: Din's Fire