David Dastmalchian is nothing but thankful to be twenty years sober.
The “Ant-Man” star, who struggled with heroin addiction for five years before he became an actor, says that his sobriety informs his work.
“For nothing else, the endless pool of gratitude that I feel for the past two decades of this journey, living without drugs and alcohol, absolutely informs all the work that I do as an actor and think about the characters I want to bring to life,” he told Page Six exclusively Tuesday at the New York premiere of his latest film, “Boston Strangler.”
Dastmalchian, 47, first began using drugs in high school, but his addiction spiraled while he was studying theater at DePaul University in Chicago.
After graduating, he became homeless and lived in his car for two years. The “Teacher” actor later began the road to recovery when his family helped him into a psychiatric facility, followed by rehab and then a sober house.
Dastmalchian wrote about his heroin addiction in the 2014 film “Animals,” in which he also starred.
In “Boston Strangler,” he plays the infamous serial killer Albert DeSalvo, who purportedly confessed to the murder of 13 women in the Boston area from 1962 to 1964.
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The movie tells the true story of reporter Loretta McLaughlin (played by Keira Knightley), who was the first person to connect the series of murders.
It also delves into whether DeSalvo, who was killed in prison in 1973 at age 42, was actually responsible for all 13 murders.
Dastmalchian says he dug deep into DeSalvo’s life in order to prepare to take on this role.
“There’s an incredible series of books and research that exists, so I just dove in as soon as I found out I was going to be bringing this character to life — and please believe me, this was no small undertaking on my part,” he told us.
“I don’t take it lightly for a second the importance of bringing to life someone who inflicted pain on so many people — and who was a real person who had a great deal of pain inflicted on himself.”
Dastmalchian said he also tracked down audio of DeSalvo being interviewed by investigators and “would just sit with and live with and think about his childhood.”
He added, “This man who was driving around Boston — this dark, tormented soul who harmed women.”
Dastmalchian says filming the dark role “was not a fun job, but I was so grateful to do it.”
Other celebs at the Cinema Society screening included Knightley, Carrie Coon and Chris Cooper. They were joined at the party that followed at Le Rock by Casey Affleck, David Burtka, Sarita Choudhury and Chris Henchy.