By Emily Feimster
The super hot, super talented Ben Foster may have started his career on the short-lived Disney series, "Flash Forward," but as he's gotten into his mid-twenties, he's quickly become one of Hollywood's more serious actors. In fact, he's more than willing to put himself in real-life vulnerable situations if it means having a better understanding of his characters.
One of Foster's most recent roles, as a crystal meth-addicted skinhead in "Alpha Dog," led him to discover a lifestyle that he had only heard about. He certainly went above and beyond the rest of his cast mates. "I know some people met some of the kids they are based on but that didn't really interest me," says Foster about playing Jake Mazursky in the movie based on the real-life kidnapping and killing of his character's younger brother. "The man that I'm based on has suffered an enormous amount. He lost his brother. The last thing he needs is an actor bothering him."
As a result, Foster took it upon himself to learn about what it's like to be addicted to drugs. "One of my friends is an ex crystal meth addict, so I asked him to introduce me to that lifestyle and he did. He brought me around the scene. I just ran with these kids, drinking a lot of coffee in the back of the car, and sitting in the corner of their apartment and just watching. It was a very sobering experience." Talk about being prepared.
The actor, who has starred in such flicks as "Hostage" with Bruce Willis
and "X-Men: The Last Stand" with Hugh Jackman
, tells us he was just glad to be a part of a project that actually said something. "It was one of those rare experiences where I think the entire cast knew we were doing something that was important in terms of our own generation, and very rarely do actors get to participate in something that can speak to the age you're living in. It's nice to be able to deal with some subject matters that are actually affecting people."
Though he enjoyed the intensity of the project, Foster was more than thrilled to move on to his next project, in which he got to fulfill some of his boyhood fantasies -- the upcoming vampire movie "30 Days of Night." "It was spectacular," he says of playing a Cajun drifter. "We filmed it in New Zealand. If you ever get bored and decide you need to go somewhere beautiful and quiet, I'd recommend people exploring the South Island. It's really a treasure."
If that wasn't cool enough, Foster then moved on to playing a cowboy alongside Russell Crowe and Christian Bale in the upcoming western, "3:10 to Yuma." "I went to cowboy camp," notes Foster, who had his first experience of riding a horse. "It's a boy's dream to be an outlaw. There's a lot of guns, a lot of horses, a lot of killing. It was a gift to be in that movie."
Now that the two movies are in the can, Foster says he's looking forward to some much needed R&R. "I just got home from filming the western not too long ago, so I'm taking a break - letting my a$% rest," he adds with a laugh. "I might go on a couple of road trips with my pals and my brother."
The 26-year-old, Boston-Massachusetts-born actor is the older of two brothers - younger sibling Jon is also an actor - who has described his parents as free-spirited hippie types. The family moved to Fairfield, Iowa when he was four. At 16, Ben left small town life, and school, behind, intending to find his future in Los Angeles. And so he did. Besides "Flash Forward," he landed guest roles on several TV series, racked up credits in such films as "11:14" and "The Punisher," and scored his recurring "Six Feet Under" role as Russell Corwin.
While he's enjoying his "It" status, he certainly doesn't intend to spend too much time getting caught up in the Hollywood scene. "You gotta dodge that," he notes.
After all, Foster says he much prefers being around people who take their jobs seriously. "There are some really wonderful people who work really hard and don't care what position you're in. They only care if you're putting in the time or not. It usually shows up on screen."
In the meantime, Foster says he's going to take his own career one script at a time until he finds the one that best fits. "You read what comes in, you see who's going to be making it, you go meet those people, and hopefully you feel like you're going after the same movie," he explains of his relaxed decision-making process. "I just want to be blessed enough to keep working with people who care about doing quality work. It's a lot easier when people care about what they're doing, no matter what job you do."