Woody Harrelson opens up about his acting career in interview with UI student orgs

‘You’ve gotta be focused and driven and okay to not let rejection cripple you’

Last week Hollywood star Woody Harrelson visited the University of Iowa to promote his new film Lost in London and interact with the Hawkeye community.

On Thursday, January 25, he screened Lost in London, which he directed, wrote and starred in, followed by a Q&A session with the audience. This was the first time an audience had seen it since its premiere nearly a year ago.

The next day, January 26, Harrelson met with The Daily Iowan and KRUI Radio to do an interview and opened up about how his career started.

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Woody Harrelson with KRUI staff

In high school, Harrelson had received Elvis' Golden Oldies in the mail and listened to it enough that he could do an Elvis impersonation. Harrelson was at the library when some of his friends wanted him to do "his Elvis". He protested a bit, but his friends were able to break him.

Everyone in the library gathered around and clapped for Harrelson, including the librarians. The Vice President of the Drama Club at the time sought him out to audition for their production, and thus began Woody Harrelson's acting career.

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Woody Harrelson with Daily Iowan staff

Harrelson got his start in comedy when he heard about an audition for Cheers at his school, Hanover College. He was cast for the part of character "Woody Boyd" before he even began speaking. Harrelson landed the part simply by blowing his nose.

The Daily Iowan asked him if he knew whether or not he would be this famous when he first started his career and he did think he would make it.

When asked if he ever thought he would make it this far at the start of his career, Harrelson responded, "I think there's probably almost nobody who makes it who doesn't think they're going to make it, and believe it wholeheartedly."

"Doubt doesn't factor into the equation. I really think if you doubt yourself and your talents or your future, then you're kind of already in a bad situation, and you're probably not going to succeed. You've gotta be focused and driven and okay to not let rejection cripple you."

Harrelson says it's hard for him to pick just one favorite movie that he's starred in. He admits starring in The Messenger "was fun," but in terms of "laughing all day during shooting," The Hunger Games, Now You See Me and Zombieland were most memorable.

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The Tab Iowa, KRUI and Daily Iowan staff pose for a group photo with Woody Harrelson

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