COMIC-BOOK MOVIES ARE WHERE MY CHILDHOOD FANTASIES MEET MY ADULTHOOD ACTING FANTASIES. I REALLY, TRULY STARTED ACTING BY PLAYING SUPERHEROES IN MY BACKYARD.
— DANE DEHAAN
Self-confessed theater geek Dane DeHaan left his hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania, while he was still in high school to study acting at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Television roles (on HBO’s In Treatment and True Blood, among others) came quickly, and soon DeHaan was racking up an impressive roster of film credits. In a matter of just four years, he has worked with John Sayles (in the 2010 war saga Amigo), with John Hillcoat (across from Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf in 2012’s Lawless), with Steven Spielberg (reciting the Gettysburg Address to the president in 2012’s Lincoln), and with Derek Cianfrance (in 2012’s The Place Beyond the Pines). In last year’s Kill Your Darlings, he played Lucien Carr, a college friend of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, who in 1944 murdered his admirer David Kammerer, and initially had his beatnik buddies help cover it up (Carr ultimately pled guilty to manslaughter and served 18 months at a reformatory).
Now 28, DeHaan again plays a real-life murder suspect (this time, Chris Morgan, a peripheral character in the West Memphis child murders), alongside Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth, in director Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot, about the West Memphis Three, out this month. He’ll also appear in the little drama The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as Peter Parker’s nemesis Harry Osborn—a playboy who morphs into the Green Goblin.
And for his next project, the young actor who has made a name playing troubled adolescents takes on his dream role, playing Mister Moody himself, James Dean, in Anton Corbijn’s forthcoming Life (opposite Robert Pattinson, who plays photographer Dennis Stock). If this series of roles sounds somewhat familiar, we thought it did too. And so we asked James Franco, who broke out in 2001 as the lead in the TNT movie James Dean and played Osborn in the Tobey Maguire-era Spideys (as well as Allen Ginsberg in Howl, 2010), to give DeHaan a call. Franco, who is presently doing Of Mice and Men on Broadway, rang from Brooklyn to discover that DeHaan, who’d recently flown to New York from Toronto, was only a few blocks away.