in: People Weekly, vol. 32, 1/1989, p. 55 - 56
Der kurze Artikel gibt ein paar biographische Informationen
über Josh Charles aus Baltimore, der im Film den Knox Overstreet
spielt. Auch wenn der Text inhaltlich an der Oberfläche bleibt, dürfte
es für SchülerInnen interessant sein, etwas aus dem Leben eines
ihrer Filmhelden zu erfahren.
Sunglasses strapped to his temples, reggae blasting from the car stereo,
Josh Charles is tearing through the streets of his native Baltimore in
his dad's Jeep convertible. Behind the wheel, the 17-year-old actor seems
more like a standard-issue teenager than Knox Overstreet, the uppercrust
student he plays in the new film Dead Poets Society. He gawks at pretty
girls like a teenager. He speaks in superlatives like a teenager. He even
drives like a teenager - trying to carry on a conversation, despite the
roar of the wind, about his favorite movie, Diner, which was filmed in
his beloved Baltimore.
"My father knew some of the guys who hung around that diner,"
says Charles. "My godfather is the guy the Mickey Rourke character
is based on in the movie. We call him Boogie. Remember the pop corn scene?
That really happened." Perhaps only a l7-year-old could look upon
a 1982 film as a classic, but what really grabbed hold of Charles's imagination
was the Diner performance of Kevin Bacon. "When I saw him on the
screen, I said, 'Now, that guy is cool!'"
Kids may someday say the same of Charles. Although Robin Williams gets
top billing in Dead Poets, playing an eccentric English teacher at fictional
Welton Academy, it's Josh and his fellow pupils who steal the movie with
ingratiating performances. Charles won some of the critics' highest praise.
"Josh was the one to beat in auditions," says the film's director,
Peter Weir. "No one came close to him in terms of charm and acting
In Dead Poets, Charles falls in love from afar with a perky blond cheerleader
who's dating the captain of the football team. Inspired by Williams's
love of poetry, Charles composes an ode to his first true love and tries
to woo her away. Josh claims some experience in such affairs. "I
fall in love with a girl right off the bat, then totally blow it off,
saying, 'Naah, she won't go out with me.' The film was fun because I really
had the chance to get her."
Josh is the youngest child of Allan, 42, a commercial director, and Laura,
37, a gossip columnist for the Baltimore Sun, who were divorced in 1982.
A first baseman in Little League, he sometimes regrets not pursuing the
sport. "There's still a side of me that says, 'You wimp!' when I
think about choosing acting over baseball." Actually, he chose comedy
first. Always the class clown - because, he admits, "I needed attention"
- Josh visited a local comedy club at age 10 and began heckling one of
the comedians. His insults got more laughs than the bombing comic. A copywriter
friend of Josh's father then wrote some jokes for the little Rodney Dangerfield,
as in: "School is so tough these days they're making Quaaludes out
of Flintstones vitamins." Not a major gut-buster, perhaps, but Charles
did get a few yuks performing in local clubs for a few months.
Later that year, enjoying his taste of the ham's life, he decided to attend
Stagedoor Manor, a theater camp in the Catskills. He loved it so much
he spent the next four summers at the camp, where such actors as Robert
Downey Jr., Jon Cryer and Helen Slater learned their trade. In 1987, a
year after leaving Stagedoor, he got his first professional acting role
from another Baltimorean, John Waters, playing a dancer named Iggy - a
"disgusting pig," says Charles - in last year's Hairspray. As
he waits to hear about post-Dead Poets roles, Josh worries about his "longevity.
I wonder if I'll ever be as good as some of the older actors like De Niro,"
But first he has got to finish high school, which he's almost about to
do. Although he often heads back to Baltimore, home base for the past
year has been Manhattan, where Josh lives with his brother Jeff, 21, a
commercialjingle writer. Charles says he's "madly in love"
with an actress, and after one date he's eager to know her better. He's
so smitten he might even screw up the courage to try his Dead Poets romantic
ploy. "I've never written a poem to anybody," he says, "but
I might now."
Reprinted from the July 3, 1989 issue (No. 1) of PEOPLE Weekly Magazine
by special permission;
© 1989, Time Inc.