One of the cast members of The Boogeyman, directed by Rob Savage, is David Dastmalchian, who initially turned down the chance to star in the movie multiple times due to personal reasons. In the film, Dastmalchian plays Lester Billings, who alters the lives of his psychiatrist and the doctor’s two kids by bringing them into contact with the eponymous monster.
The film is based on the short story of the same name by Stephen King, who Dastmalchian is a big fan of. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Dastmalchian revealed that he has the original story dog earned on his shelf. However, he repeatedly turned the role down because the prospect of getting inside Lester’s headspace frightened him.
“I’m someone who nearly took my life a number of times, and that’s a theme which this story plays with. So, I actually said, ‘I don’t think I can do this,’ the first couple of times they came round. Then I thought a lot about what Stephen King means to me, and I thought about this director, Rob, and what his vision meant because we met and talked. And then I said, ‘Okay, let’s see what happens.’ And it was hard, man. It was really hard.”
In the past, Dastmalchian’s struggles with depression led to him using drugs in high school to self-medicate. Then, after moving to Chicago for DePaul University’s theatre program, ended up succumbing to an addiction to heroin and wound up homeless. After attending a psychiatric facility and rehab, Dastmalchian worked as a telemarketer and did free theatre shows when he auditioned for Christopher Nolan’s second Batman film.
“One of the greatest filmmakers of all time looked at me and said, ‘Yeah, you. Come be a part of this. On my last day of filming The Dark Knight, I remember I walked past the alley where I used to sleep when I was homeless and struggling with my addiction. That experience, my very first time being on the set of a movie, changed my life in every way you can possibly imagine.”
David Dastmalchian Has Taken on Many Different Roles
Following his brief but memorial appearance as Thomas Schiff in The Dark Knight, Dastmalchian appeared in several noticeable projects, such as Bob Taylor in Prisoners, Kurt in Ant-Man, and Polka-Dot Man in The Suicide Squad. Besides that, Dastmalchian also does a bit of writing, such as the Count Crowley comics that explores addiction and mental wellness, which are issues that matter to him.
“There’s so much stigma around that stuff. I’m just a character actor; I’m not some movie star, and I don’t have some massive platform with billions of fans. But whenever I get the opportunity, [I say that] the reality [is] we have to get rid of these f—ing stigmas; we have to talk to each other about this stuff. We’re not allowed to be as vulnerable as we need to be, to be healthy, to live the lives that we’re capable of living. I think we’re getting somewhere, but there’s so far to go.”
Dastmalchian is someone who believes in the old adage “there are no small parts” and is delighted at how he’s been able to work in the horror genre. Besides The Boogeyman, another upcoming horror project for the actor is Late Night with the Devil. King himself has seen both movies and given them his seal of approval.
“Stephen King sent a personal email to our director telling him how much he loved The Boogeyman, which is such a badge of honor for me. Then, he tweeted that he had gotten to see a secret cut of Late Night with the Devil, and he wrote this glowing review of that. So, at the moment, I have a surreal horror-hound transcendence. Stephen King seems to have liked two of the things that I helped make this year, and that right there feels like the kind of thing that makes me go, ‘Oh! Okay, I can retire.’ Although, I’ll never retire.”
This story originally appeared on Movieweb