If a challenge program launched the slogan of pronouncing the most remembered phrases of cinema, they would surely appear “To infinity and beyond”, from Toy storie, “May the Force be with you”, from Star Wars, “I’m king of the world”, from Titanic, and without hesitation, “I see dead people”, from Sixth Sense. In the latter, with just three words – and the readers who saw it will agree with me – a child managed to convey all the fear, terror and amazement of perceiving dead people since – let’s agree – visibility is not exactly one of the characteristics of the deceased.
The boy traumatized and that a little traumatized us with his “I see dead people” is Haley joel osment. He was 11 years old, although in the film he played a boy of 9, and his performance was so convincing that it was direct and nonstop for a nomination for the Oscar.
Osment was not a newcomer to the world of acting, but almost almost in the expert category. From the cradle, the cinema and the theater surrounded him. He was born in Los Angeles, where a large part of the population works or wants to work in Hollywood, but also his father, Michael, he was an actor. Haley was four years old when her mom had to do some shopping at a household goods chain and she took him with her. In the place a man observed that little blond with angelic eyes and, of course, since we are in Hollywood, it was not a simple neighbor gossip but a talent scout who suggested to him Mrs Osment take the boy to an audition for a commercial for a well-known pizza chain.
Theresa Seifert She was a teacher but maybe because she trusted her son’s genes or because she thought it was a good way to keep him entertained, she agreed to take him to the test. And there they went. On the day they introduced themselves, Haley was asked to describe what was the greatest thing she ever saw. He did not speak of a hot dog or a tower armed with cars, he did not even remember a tyrannosaurus rex from an encyclopedia. No. He told how big the IMAX screen was, got the part, and we guess a free pass to eat pizza for a year.
After appearing in that commercial, he participated in the sitcom Thunder alley and in the TV movie Lies of the Heart: The Story of Laurie Kellog. At the age of six, like 99.9% of boys, he had his debut in elementary school, but only about 0.1% he, moreover, had his debut on the big screen. And no messing around with little girls. Did it in Forrest Gump beside Tom Hanks, that if we were on the soccer planet and not in Hollywood, it would be like debuting in first-rate football playing with Messi, which on top of it makes you a pass that ends in a goal or, in the journalistic world, enter a newsroom and write a chronicle while Gay talese tells you a story and Rodolfo Walsh explains how to investigate.
Returning to Haley Joel Osment, the little boy continued to act and enjoy himself. And here his parents had great merit, who stressed to him: “You can quit if this stops being fun.”, instead of throwing a “Do not even think of giving up that we want to continue billing.” Thus Osment performed some roles in series, and in the film Bogus. He was still an ordinary boy, only in his after-school activities instead of going to baseball or French, he would go to a set.
Thus we come to 1999 and the call for Sixth Sense. Before the test and in order not to traumatize his son, Michael told him that it was not a horror film but a communication film. It is true that his character had to go around communicating with the dead who again – let’s agree – are not communicating on WhatsApp, but hey, maybe that’s why they needed the help of a child interpreter. The advice is seen to have worked because the director Night shymalan he was shocked with his hearing. “It was as if I had never heard the dialogue before,” recalled the filmmaker. “The scene ended and he was crying and I was crying. I could not believe it. I said, ‘Oh my God, who are you?’ ”.
If the test was good, the movie was much better. Osment directly “steals” the film and that he had to act alongside Bruce Willis Y Toni Colette, that going back to football comparisons, it would be like playing with Messi, Mbappé, dribbling them and, furthermore, becoming the figure of the match.
At the age of 11 Osment had already acted with Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, had received an Oscar nomination and cast a phrase into the world’s collective memory. But although it seems incredible, something was missing to sing “cardboard full!”. Steven spielberg summoned him to take the lead role in the film AI Artificial Intelligence. Ready, as we would say in the neighborhood: “Close eight.”
Osment continued filming although not always appearing on screen. So was the voice of Mowgli in The jungle book. He also ventured into other fields such as being the voice of Sora, the protagonist of the video game saga Kingdom hearts.
His last big role on the big screen was in Second hand lions, beside Robert Duvall Y Michael caine, in 2003. Later, one of the most famous faces of the beginning of the millennium began to move away from fame and the media.
One of his last appearances had not been in the entertainment section but in the police section. At age 18, he was arrested for driving drunk and under the influence of marijuana. This arrest, plus its evaporation of films, series, advertisements and covers, gave rise to multiple speculations. More than one must have thought that Osment was following the quasi-obligatory path from star child to starry adult, along the way. Macaulay Culkin. Some speculated that perhaps the child who on the screen looked adorable, as an adult gave common style Mara wilson, and that’s why the opportunities ran out.
The truth was much stranger than any fiction. With a first-class ticket on the train of fame + money + good projects, Osment decided to get off, and above all at a station that is not the favorite of many: the studio station.
After finishing high school, between 2006 and 2011 Osment studied at the Tisch School of the Arts of the New York University. He did it in a course as rigorous as it was new, convinced that the more traditional paths would not teach him anything that he had not already learned on the sets. “A movie like Sixth Sense create a permanent image of who you are in people’s minds “, he explained in the prestigious The New Yorker. “In the midst of all that, it’s hard to know who you are, or who you are becoming. College seemed like a manageable next step, a place where I could unravel all of that.”.
During his time in college, he was almost completely disconnected from his previous professional career and its collateral benefits such as quick money, fame, and flattery. He only lent his voice to the cartoon series IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix and continued to participate in the games of Kingdom hearts. The only movie he starred in in that interval was Home of the Giants in 2007, together with Ryan Merriman and Danielle Panabaker. “There is not much on my resume from that time, but it is the biggest investment I have made in acting to date. It gave me a radically different set of ideas, ”the actor told the New Yorker again. “I was working on my art, but not in a way that was visible to the public.”
The university would serve him to, as he said, “rediscover himself”, but without forgetting his essence and, above all, without losing his contacts. After graduation he was the clumsy sex ed teacher in the movie Sex ed, the hateful millionaire of Entourage and the neo-Nazi Adrien arcand in Yoga Hosers. All characters away from their once good boy image to embody that of villains. It is that, as most actors admit, being bad is much more fun when it comes to acting.
He also participated in series such as Silicon Valley, The Boys and that wonderful gem -a digression: please reader, if you did not see it, leave this article and go see it and then we continue- which is The Kominsky method. In his latest appearances, he is somewhat overweight, but he took it upon himself to clarify that as long as it is a healthy weight, the kilos do not concern him.
Nothing is known about his love life, except that the photographers caught him walking hand in hand with some young woman, but not an express wedding in Las Vegas, nor a fulminant courtship and much less a movie love.
Today Osmont is one of those blessed – or lucky ones – who affirms: “I can do something that I did from a young age and that continues to be my job and also my decision”. A normal adult who lives his life as he wants and not as he is told, who he prioritized studying to being famous. And that – studying before being famous – for some may be stranger than “seeing dead people, walking like normal people.”