Actor Tom Sizemore has been speaking about his struggles with drug addiction, the violence he was exposed to in prison and how he was once knocked back for a $10 million loan by Jack Nicholson.
In an expansive interview with the Daily Mail, the ‘Saving Private Ryan’ star explained how he had it all, but then spectacularly lost it thanks to addictions to methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin.
“My life’s gotten a lot better, it’s been a real chronicle, but I’ve got a long history of substance abuse, I was in a really bad place,” he said.
“And I’m coming up on four years sober, it was really difficult, the first two years were miserable I thought I’d never smile again. But I am smiling again, you’ve got to stick around until you feel better.”
Sizemore denied the rumours that he was homeless when he was at his lowest, but admitted that he was living in his car for a brief period, and then a squat with no running water or electricity.
“I wasn’t homeless but I had to fast sell my $7 million house. This is how f***ed up I was, I could have bought something else, like a condo or something, but I wanted a house again,” he said.
“So I was driving around in my car for a couple of weeks, I mean I was on drugs, I was thinking I’m gonna get the money to buy a $5 million home and I’m asking certain people for money. I asked Jack Nicholson, ‘can you loan me $10 million’, and he said, ‘In a word, no.’
“I was living in a squat, in Sylmar, up in the woods, with no water, no electricity. I’m pretty handy though, so I stole some electricity from the telephone pole, redirected some water. That was not cool.”
“It was pretty quick from coming through adolescence to becoming a big star so I had nothing and then I had everything,” he went on.
“To have everything, a 24-hour cook, a 24-hour maid, the whole ball of wax. Several million dollars in the bank and job after job after job, then to have it so abruptly stop.”
As well as ‘Saving Private Ryan’, Sizemore made his name in movies like ‘Born on the Fourth of July’, ‘True Romance’, ‘Strange Days’, ‘Natural Born Killers’, ‘Heat’ and ‘Pearl Harbor’, working with many of the best directors and actors in Hollywood.
He likened his downfall to that of Robert Downey Jr, who was sent to prison on a number of occasions in the 90s, due to his own issues with substance abuse.
Sizemore, who visited Downey Jr at Corcoran prison in California, said: “I remember walking into that prison and thinking, how in the world did the finest actor of my generation end up like this.
“He’s the most inventive and creative actor I’ve ever met and now this guy is flat broke, hopelessly addicted to heroin and crack and he’s doing two years in California State Prison.
“And I walk in there and the sobering reality of what had happened to his life and I said to myself, I will never let this happen to me. And then lo and behold in 2005 I’m there too, I had a brief stay at Corcoran.”
Of his prison time, imposed for failing drug tests while on probation, he explains that he had 11 fights with other inmates, who targetted him in his very first week.
“I grew up in a tough area, I’m not afraid to fight, I don’t wanna fight, but I had to fight. I didn’t really win any fights but I didn’t back down,” he said.
“It was so scary, I was gonna get hurt. If somebody had killed me he would have gotten some kudos, ‘I killed Tom Sizemore, that actor,’ and he’s like a hero.”
However, now he’s clean he’s making his way back into the movie business, next up starring alongside Liam Neeson in Watergate thriller ‘Felt’ about the FBI boss Mark Felt who emerged as the infamous source known as Deep Throat, who tipped off Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein about the scandal.
He’s also playing a lead role in the new series of ‘Twin Peaks’ for David Lynch.