The Breakout: Scott Haze

The hardest-working play-wright-producer-documentarian you've never heard of steps into the spotlight as a movie actor—and goes mad for it.

Photograph b Michael Schmelling

Already a playwright, a director, a documentarian, and an impresario, 33-year-old Scott Haze—founder and creative director of North Hollywood's Sherry Theater—is now making a name for himself as an actor. His growing multi-hyphenate status makes Haze a bit like James Franco, his old friend (they met at Playhouse West) and frequent collaborator. When Franco tapped Haze to star as an unhinged, cave-dwelling necrophile in his film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's Child of God, out next month, he went Method. He traveled to Sevierville, Tennessee, studied the locals' hill-country accent, and holed up in a cave. A few months later, he arrived on set scraggly, twitchy, and bearded: unrecognizable. "I'll never forget the expression on James' face," he says. "He just stared at me." Haze delivers a feral, unfettered performance that first earned raves (and raised eyebrows) at 2013's Venice Film Festival. Yet his process draws not on De Niro's or Daniel Day-Lewis' but on Kobe Bryant's. "He takes an ice bath after every game," he says. "To submerge yourself in ice? All he does is focus."

Haze is already appearing in two other forthcoming Franco projects—the biopic Bukowski and The Sound and the Fury—and completing a pair of documentaries: on wrestler Lee Kemp, whose Olympic hopes were dashed by the 1980 Moscow boycott, and on African humanitarian Charles Mulli. Haze is frantically busy but wouldn't have it any other way. "I'm going to do everything I can, so that I don't look back and say I didn't do everything."

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