If you ask Scott Haze, putting his body on the line is just another part of his job.
Before playing a real-world soldier struggling post-traumatic stress in Thank You for Your Service (Oct. 27), the 37-year-old actor resided in a veterans’ hospital for several weeks; while filming he confined himself to a wheelchair. A few months later, he attended a grueling firefighter boot camp in preparation for Only the Brave (Oct. 20), a true-life drama about the Granite Mountain Hotshots, the group that lost 19 of its members fighting a 2013 wildfire outside Prescott, Arizona.
“I look at these roles like an athlete,” says the Dallas-born actor. “I ask myself, ‘Where canI take this physically?’”
The frequent collaborator with (and best friend of) actor-director James Franco, he previously won acclaim for his unhinged roles in Franco’s indie adaptations of Child of God, As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury. “We talk about everything,” he says of their tight-knit bond. “He’s my guy. He’s my road dog.”
Haze gained another bestie while filming Thank You for Your Service and Only the Brave, both co-starring Miles Teller. “We go to Lakers games and hang out,” he says of Teller. “We’ve become brothers. I can’t tell you how good he is and how proud I am of his work. He was all-in the way I was all-in.”
Despite his budding bromance with Teller, Haze still looks to Franco for guidance. He followed in Franco’s footsteps by taking a stab at directing with the documentary Mully, about rags-to-riches Kenyan philanthropist Charles Mully. Haze’s trio of films debut in October.
“It’s nuts,” says Haze. “This month is special because these three projects—out of all the stuff I’ve ever done—are the most important to me. They’re not just films. They have a purpose. They can make lives better at a time when there’s a lot of negative stuff in the world.”
Thank You for Your Service
Michael Adam Emory
“I spent a lot of time with Adam and his daughter. He still struggles. I think we can change the narrative about what PTSD is in this country, so when people say the words, ‘Thank you for your service,’ they know what that really means.”
Only the Brave
“I was in Arizona to play a charity softball tournament with the families [of the Granite Mountain Hotshots]. Clayton’s father hugged me and said, ‘I never thought I’d get to hug Clayton again.’ Those moments are the only things that matter.”
“I admire any man who serves a greater good beyond himself. This guy that I was fortunate enough to document has adopted over 12,000 children. Mully and his wife are literally changing the face of Kenya and the world.”