Born in New York, Christian Slater trained at the Professional Children's School and the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. His parents are the actor Michael Hawkins (also known as Michael Gainsborough), and the casting agent Mary Jo Slater.
Slater’s early roles included a part in the television series One Life to Live when he was eight years old. He made his Broadway debut in 1980, aged 11, in The Music Man alongside Dick Van Dyke. His film debut came in 1985 when he appeared in The Legend of Billie Jean, playing Billie Jean’s brother Binx. His early work led to big screen success in the 1990s, appearing with Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman and Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Other films he appeared in during the 1990s include Quentin Tatantino’s True Romance, Broken Arrow alongside John Travolta, and Very Bad Things with Cameron Diaz.
Slater’s stage career took a break for much of the 90s as he found on-screen success, appearing in one Broadway play (Side Man, 1999) over a 20-year period. His stage return was also his London theatre debut, when he played Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The 2004 production opened at the Gielgud Theatre to positive reviews, leading to a transfer to the Garrick Theatre in 2006. Read the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest review starring Christian Slater here.
Slater returned to the London stage to play Buddy in the stage adaptation Swimming with Sharks at the Vaudeville Theatre. Slater played Buddy Ackerman, a big-time American film producer and a role made famous by Kevin Spacey in the original 1994 film. Read a Swimming With Sharks review starring Christian Slater here. A decade later, he starred in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross at the Playhouse Theatre.