Haley Joel Osment Has Ikea to Thank for His Career; Didn’t Think ‘I See Dead People’ Line Would Be a Big Deal

Haley Joel Osment was 11 when he starred in The Sixth Sense, a movie that would grant him pop culture immortality based on four whispered words: “I see dead people.”

He’s now 29, and reflected on the impact of his famous line in an interview with Vulture. He said, “At one point I started seeing posters that quoted the line and it almost felt jarring, but then I was like, ‘Oh, it kind of makes sense.’”

But even as more and more people started quoting him, Osment says, he never thought the line would take on a life (pun intended) of its own: “People were saying the line that everybody knows from the movie, but nobody was like, ‘This is the tagline!’ We didn’t see it as the tagline.”

Osment is an avid golfer, and it took a golfing moment to really make the importance of the line sink in. He said, “It really hit me the year after [The Sixth Sense], when Tiger Woods did a Chrysler commercial where he rolled up in the car and rolled down the window and said the line and I was like, ‘Oh.’”

Osment’s performance in the hit movie earned him an Oscar nomination. These days, you can catch him on the HBO comedy Silicon Valley, playing a virtual reality guru/man-child. But no matter the project or level of success, Osment owes his success to an unlikely source … Ikea.

He recalled a childhood memory for Vulture: “I was at the Burbank Ikea, and it’s so weird that they’d do this because I think if you saw this now, you’d be like, ‘What?’ But they had a casting table with two women taking Polaroids of all the kids who would come into the store.”

Those Polaroids eventually led to commercial gigs for places like Pizza Hut — and eventually, The Sixth Sense.

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