Take heart, Winona Ryder! After a career lull and some run-ins with the law, your fellow Heathers hellion Christian Slater has turned his life around. This week, he and co-star Nicolas Cage premiered their Windtalkers at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, then adjourned to a star-studded afterparty on the Sunset Strip.
Once a renowned bad boy, Slater's a family man with a refined bride — Ryan Haddon-Slater recently graced the cover of high-society mag Town & Country. How did he do it? "He brought it all into being himself," Mrs. Slater proudly said. "He never was reformed, I think it's just who he was and you have to go through all these different things [to get there]. He's matured amazingly in his life. I had my wild days, too — oh yeah, they were publicized! You go in front of the camera, it's gonna get out there. I think we all have it."
As the movie star's wife speaks, real live Marines distractingly mingle about the soiree in their full-dress blues. No, they're not security, they're lucky extras from Windtalkers — which recounts how the U.S. military used secret codes designed by Navajo Indians during World War II.
One handsome "jarhead" is Captain Matt Morgan, who served as Marine Corps. liaison to the production. Turns out, director John Woo asked him to teach Slater and 60 other cast members "how to be a Marine" — while Cage was off happily shooting Captain Corelli's Mandolin in Greece!
"We put them through seven days of boot-camp training in Hawaii," Morgan grinned mischievously. "Christian was excellent. He set the tone for all the other actors. Some of them were young, like Mark Ruffalo... The first 24 hours is the hardest. The drill instructors got them up at 4:30 in the morning, ragged 'em out, took 'em for runs and marched 'em on the beach, then taught them WWII-type weapons handling tactics."
Speaking of dangerous operatives, Thora Birch, Gina Gershon, Paris Hilton, Lisa Marie Presley and Mira Sorvino were among the Tinseltown sirens sipping martinis and chatting up Morgan's comrades. Still, he doubted the guys' chances of getting lucky — and not only because Presley is Cage's girlfriend.
"They say women like a man in uniform," Morgan smiled. "I think that only lasts until he opens his mouth. Beyond that, he's on his own!"