The Man Without a Face
“I try to avoid the sweet-ass roles.” Nick Stahl
One of American child performer who has made successful transformation to become an engaging young adult lead and character actor, Nick Stahl received critical praise and became famous for playing the troubled little boy in director-actor Mel Gibson’s The Man Without a Face (1993). The attractive Stahl is also memorable in such films as the moderately successful Disturbing Behavior (1998) and The Thin Red Line (1998), the high-profile indies The Sleepy Time Gal (2001) and In the Bedroom (2001), as well as director Larry Clark’s Bully (2001), the highly anticipated Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) and Sin City (2005). Aside from a number of TV film appearances, Stahl is maybe best-known to TV viewers for his role as the escapee Ben Hawkins in the HBO series “Carnivale” (2003-2005).
Fans should not miss his impressive performance in the upcoming films The Night of the White Pants (2006), How to Rob a Bank (2006), Quid Pro Quo (2006) and A Cool Breeze on the Underground (2006).
Childhood and Family:
Nick Stahl was born Nicolas Kent Stahl on December 5, 1979, in Harlingen, Texas, and raised in Dallas. He is the son of William Kent Stahl and Donna Lynn Reed, and has two older sisters, Emily and Bonny. Nick knew he wanted to be an actor after seeing a local children’s play at the tender age of 4. He attended KD Studio TV Commercial Workshop, Melva Smith School of Dance, and Teen/Childrens Theater, in Dallas, Texas. Nick loves crossword puzzles, fishing and watching boxing, and now resides in Los Angeles.
A native of Texas, Nick Stahl began performing as a child in local plays and TV commercials. After being discovered by an agent, eleven-year-old Stahl made his professional acting debut with a small role in the CBS film Stranger at My Door, starring Robert Urich. He followed that up with an appearance in the Pamela Reed telefilm Woman with a Past (1992), but it was Stahl’s wide screen debut, The Man Without a Face (1993), starring and directed by Mel Gibson, that helped launch his acting career.
Portraying the coveted role of bothered teen Charles E. ‘Chuck’ Norstadt, Stahl received critical reviews for his work in the drama.
For much of his early teens, Stahl divided his time between TV and films. In television films Incident in a Small Town (1994, opposite Walter Matthau) and the Fox “Hallmark Hall of Fame” production Blue River (1995), he was a victim of abuse, and landed a more upbeat hero as a dreamer who gets to cooperate with famed figures of myth and legend in the adventure film Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of Pecos Bill (1995), starring Patrick Swayze and Oliver Platt. The young actor also teamed up with Mary Kay Place, Chris Freihofer, Martha Plimpton and Woody Watson in the acclaimed independent crime-drama Eye of God (1997).
Five years after his breakthrough role, Stahl’s career received boost when he landed roles in two major films: the ensemble of Terrence Malik’s lyrical remake of The Thin Red Line (1998, opposite Sean Penn and George Clooney) and the horror flick Disturbing Behavior (1998, starred with James Marsden and Katie Holmes). The later film saw the growing talent offer a strong portrayal of a defiant teenager named Gavin Strick, who suspects something weird is happening to his peers.
Stahl appeared in the Kirsten Dunst vehicle All Forgotten (2000) and took on the supporting turn of aspiring musician Zach in director Adam Collins’ comedy Sunset Strip (2000). The actor once again boosted up his movie career by having roles in two applauded Sundance-premiered independent films, The Sleepy Time Gal (2001, with Jacqueline Bisset and Martha Plimpton) and Todd Field’s In the Bedroom (2001, costarred Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek), and giving a memorable, alarming turn as the abusive and sexually voracious Bobby Kent in the Larry Clark-helmed Bully (2001, along side Bijou Phillips and Brad Renfro).
The 5’ 10” performer once more tasted the waters of independent movie by starring opposite Eddie Kaye Thomas in the horror Taboo (2002), and he worked with Summer Phoenix in the MTV movie Wasted, that same year. In 2003, Stahl won the costarring role of the now-adult John Connor, the future leader of the fight against the earth’s mechanical masters, in the much anticipated box office annihilator Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. The same year, he had a lead in the Sundance comedy Bookies and portrayed Dodge in the indie Twist, a surprising ‘Oliver Twist’ update set in the hustler district of modern-day Montreal. As for television, Stahl made his debut as a regular on the offbeat HBO series “Carnivale,” playing the fugitive Ben Hawkins for 2003-2005.
Returning to filmmaking, the big fan of actors Jack Lemmon and Vanessa Redgrave, Stahl portrayed the plum role of Junior Roarke/ The Yellow Bastard in Sin City (2005), director Robert Rodriguez and writer-artist Frank Miller’s visually stunning adaptation of Miller’s uber-noir series of grapic novels. The film cast the actor opposite such big names as Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Elijah Wood and Brittany Murphy. The 27-year-old player will soon star with Tom Wilkinson and Selma Blair in The Night of the White Pants (2006), a comedy written and directed by Amy Talkington. He also has three in production films: Andrews Jenkins’ How to Rob a Bank (2006, opposite Erika Christensen), Carlos Brooks’ thriller Quid Pro Quo (2006, with Vera Farmiga) and the drama-thriller A Cool Breeze on the Underground (2006), jointly directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber.