Truth is, I didn’t fall in love with L.A. as quickly as I thought I would. I drove out from Boise, Idaho, in a 1982 Toyota Corolla with chipped gold paint. Anytime it rained, the trunk would fill up with water, and you would have to skip from first to third gear because it would grind in second. But I love that car. And it got me to L.A., so I owe a lot to it.
I moved when I was 17 years old. My mom helped me into my first apartment—this little studio at Laurel Canyon and Burbank Boulevard. We were bringing in boxes, and you could hear gunshots down the street. I plugged in a radio, and they were talking about this Bank of America robbery that was happening blocks away from my apartment. Of course my mother got incredibly scared for her son, but then she got on a flight and went on her merry way.
I had $5,000 to my name. The rent was only $495 a month, and even though I was living on Top Ramen and water, I had to get a roommate. I’d sleep in the bed for a week—on a mattress I found on the balcony when I moved in—and then I’d sleep in the walk-in closet the following week. It was a tiny spot, but it was mine, and I loved it. My first job was as an usher at Universal City’s movie theater. Two weeks in, we did a premiere for the film Primary Colors, and the first celebrity I recognized was Steven Spielberg. I couldn’t believe it; I was this kid from Idaho taking Steven’s Spielberg’s ticket at a movie theater, and I thought, “I have made it into the business. This is so much easier than I thought it was going to be!” I didn’t see that guy again for another 15 years. My first meeting with him, I told him the story about how we almost met one time. He said, “Man, I wish you would’ve just told me you were an actor and wanted to work with me.”