After disappearing from acting for 15 years, Jackie Earle Haley is the epitome of the Hollywood comeback, resurrecting his career and earning an Academy Award nomination in the process.
Haley’s remarkable resurgence began in October 2004, when Academy Award winner Steven Zaillian wanted Haley to audition for the part of “Sugar Boy” in his film “All The King’s Men.” Zaillian eventually tracked Haley down in France enjoying his honeymoon. Haley sent in an audition tape and won the part. After completing the movie, Haley was determined to continue working on projects that had meaning for him. After reading an early draft of Todd Field’s “Little Children,” Haley set his sights on playing “Ronald J. McGorvey,” a role that earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Haley’s next project kept him in the spotlight when he was cast as “Rorschach” in the feature film adaptation of “Watchmen,” based on the best-selling graphic novel.
This past spring, he starred as iconic killer “Freddy Krueger” in the re-imagining of the 1980s horror classic “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” and was featured opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in director Martin Scorsese’s mystery-thriller “Shutter Island.”
After coming to prominence in the 1970s as the cigarette-smoking, motorcycle-riding hellion “Kelly Leak” in the feature film comedy “Bad News Bears” and its two sequels, Haley went on to play the practical, laid back but short-tempered “Moocher” in the Academy Award-winning film “Breaking Away.” In 1983, he played the sex-obsessed “Dave” in Curtis Hanson’s “Losin’ It” opposite Tom Cruise, and on Broadway he performed with Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Val Kilmer in “Slab Boys.”
The successful transition from child actor to adult actor was elusive, and Haley was forced to rethink his career path. He turned his attention to directing, and tried his hand at various professions, including limousine driver and security officer, in an effort to pay the bills. Haley struggled for years until finally gaining some success directing industrial videos and television commercials.
Haley moved to San Antonio, TX, where he eventually started his own company, JEH Productions, Inc., making regional commercial spots for companies. He continues to reside in the Lone Star State when acting jobs don’t take him away from home.