Christian Slater says it's high time the United States elects a female vice president. And the actor — who currently can be seen in the political drama The Contender, opposite

Joan Allen and Jeff Bridges — knows just the lady for the job.

"I've met Hillary Clinton, and I find her a great example of a woman who has been able to survive a lot," Slater tells TV Guide Online. "Surviving in the political area, or any public arena, is really difficult. You either sink or swim. I think Hillary is a beautiful example of a woman who has been able to rise to the occasion."

Well, Slater is well versed in the pressures of living in a fishbowl. The actor's earlier struggles with drugs and alcohol, not to mention his numerous arrests, made headlines and earned him a reputation as a bona fide Hollywood bad boy. But that was then...

"My life has changed in so many ways that it has been kind of miraculous," marvels the 31-year-old, who earlier this year married girlfriend Ryan Haddon, the mother of his year-and-a-half-old son, Jaden Zach. Slater was reminded of his dramatic turnaround while filming The Contender, for which he reunited with Allen and Bridges for the first time since 1988's Tucker: The Man and His Dream.

"I was a completely different person [back then, while we were making Tucker]. I was neurotic, full of angst and scared to death," Slater admits, acknowledging what his turbulent youth cost him as a professional. "It was great to be with [Joan Allen and Jeff Bridges] again — this time as a collaborator."

Might Slater's new attitude be the result of his rumored conversion to Born Again Christianity? "I wouldn't call myself a religious person," he clarifies. "I'm more of a spiritual person. I believe that something else is calling the shots, and I'm just going with the flow."