Jason Patric- He Ain't Afraid of No Vampires

By Dan Yakir

From WOW I'm not sure what issue.

Fast facts on Jason Patric? Well, he's 21. He fell in love and fought vampires in this past summer's hit movie The Lost Boys. He just finished filming The Beast, a movie that casts Jason as a Russian tank soldierlost in the desert. But just where did this handsome dude suddenly come from? How about some details on his early life?

That's easier said than discovered. Jason is very protective of his privacy and prefers ti avoid the subject. "It was just the average stuff," he says. Born in Flushing, New York, he grew up in New Jersy and was "brought up around the theater" because his father is thefamous actor-writer, Jason Miller (he was Father Damian in the Exorcist and also played Micheal J. Fox's father in Light of Day ). "I couldn't see myself doing anything else," he explains. "I had done acting in high school and it was fun, but it really wasn't until my junior year that I realizied I was serious about it".

His parents didn't object. "I was encouraged," he recalls. "It was a release, as if weight had been lifted off my chest, because I had been toying with it for so long... When you make a decision that would directly govern your life, it's a great feeling. You realize what power you have over your life."

But initially, things didn't go all that smoothly. "It was tough, because all my friends were going to college, and here I was, trying to be an actor, which they didn't fully understand. They would come back on vacations and talk about school and stuff asd I'd be talking about meetings and jobs. But when things started working out for me, I doscovered what an educational experience acting is: you meet incredible people in this business, from all over the world; you research your part by reading great works of literature; and you get to actually live in places like the Negev [ desert in Israel, where The Beast was shot] for months, which tourists never experience."

Jason, who sold "bumper stickers over the telephone" for a year during his days as a struggling actor, moved to Los Angeles at 16 to be "at the right place. I worked at McDonald's for three days and I quit. I went to the parking lot and fed the pigeons. It was a job I gave myself...I paid my own salary and everything ...low overhead..crumbs!" He chuckles. "And I went to auditions, but years went by before I got anything."

His first big break was the movie Solarbabies, which he despises ("I consider The Lost Boys my first movie") and didn't do well- although nobody said anything nasty about him personally. Since then, his vehicles have been well-choosen. Solarbabies, however, introduced him to Jami Gertz, who became a friend and co-starred with him in Lost Boys .

Lost Boys co-star Kiefer Sutherland also became a pal, although not from the word go. "We're adversaries in the movie," Jason explains, "so for the first couple of weeks we didn't really talk to each other. There was a definite tension between us. But later we became friends, especially after the movie was over. Kief is very honest and an interesting guy, probably one of the better actors I've worked with. We keep in touch."

He considers himself more akin to Sean Penn and Eric Roberts than to the charter mambers of the Brat Pack, but Jason insists he didn't take up acting "to break out of my shell of shyness...My friends probably wouldn't consider me shy, but around people I don't know, I definitely am. Still, when I'm acting, I'm not Jason Patric who's pouring a glass of orange juice in the morning in my underwear..You separate yourself from the character you're playing, as much as you can."

Jason also says he has no interest in fame and fortune- not to mention what he jokingly terms "the adulation of the masses." And if he emerges as a sex symbol? "It's definitely not something I want," he responds. Unlike many actors who demand photo approval and worry about about their looks, Jason had his hair cropped very short for The Beast, in which he also wears glasses. Not one to sport a big ego, he prefers ti be considered a character actor, "because most leading men parts are written blandly. I'm willing to take less money and fourth billing and do interesting roles," he aserts. "I hate putting Limitations on myself. I don't set out to sell popcorn or make money for the major studios. What I'd like is for my work to have meaning."

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