To promote his part in the IFC miniseries The Spoils of Babylon, The Sixth Sense star Haley Joel Osment stopped by Reddit Thursday evening to take part in one of the site’s Ask Me Anything sessions. The result was many, many "I see dead people" references, but also an inside look at the life of a child actor who’s flown further under the radar than some of his contemporaries.
Below, the most important things we learned about Osment’s post-child star life from the AMA session.
1. The Sixth Sense was a lot less scary to make than it was to watch
The slow process of production took a lot of the fright out of the macabre thriller, Osment revealed. “There is something desensitizing (not necessarily in a negative way) about seeing the whole process of making a horror movie that prevents you from being too scared going forward,” he wrote. Even now, he finds it hard to get scared by a horror movie.
2. He credits his parents for helping him lead a relatively normal life
Despite his Oscar nomination, Osment doesn’t feel like his childhood was much different from other kids. “My parents made a tremendous effort to have a home life, education, and community that preserved the privacy and freedom kids need,” he wrote. “I went to a regular elementary school, high school, and went to university with only two work-related interruptions in those last four years.”
3. He is full of good things to know about nearly everyone he worked with
Not a surprise, really – HJO doesn’t really seem like a bridge-burning type – but it’s still worthwhile to hear the heaps of praise the former child star dishes on his adult coworkers. Michael Caine is “a gifted storyteller and hugely generous actor,” while Robert Duvall has an “absolute dedication to not only his own, but his costars’ performances.” Jude Law, meanwhile, took hours of dance lessons for his part in A.I., and Steven Spielberg continues to send holiday cards to the Osment family after directing Haley in the film. He rounds out the compliments with these words about Sense costar Willis: “Bruce’s radiant manliness certainly cannot be denied. He was great to work with, and I wish I had been a little older at the time because apparently there were some pretty great Willis-DJed crew parties on the weekends at the Philadelphia Convention center.”
4. He loved NYU
Osment followed in the footsteps of fellow child stars Mara Wilson and the Olsen twins when he matriculated at NYU in 2006. He says it was one of the best decisions of his life: “NYU is a gigantic school, but the little part of it I attended was perfect for me. I was at the Experimental Theater Wing in the Tisch School of the Arts and I loved every minute of it.”
5. He hunts lizards and then keeps them as pets
According to IMDb, Haley Joel Osment is “a big-time lover of lizards,” and the actor confirmed his lifelong fascination with the creatures during his AMA. “I used to catch fence lizards (growing up in California) with a bamboo pole and humanely snare (only catch-and-release!) [them],” he wrote. “Then I got serious at age 8 and got a leopard gecko. They are great pets if you’re into reptiles.” Amazingly, he still has the gecko. Its name is Pete.
Although Osment declined to talk about this viral video, he did reveal that his favorite kind of pie is pumpkin.
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