Stephen Dorff on how he’s stayed grounded in Hollywood amid early fame and success

Stephen Dorff has been acting since he was just a child and hasn’t slowed down since.

The now 47-year-old entertainer’s first roles were guest appearances on TV shows such as “Roseanne,” “Diff’rent Strokes,” and “Married… With Children” but Dorff’s big movie break occurred in 1992 when he starred opposite Morgan Freeman in “The Power of One.”

“I got famous early, you know, in my 20s,” Dorff told Fox News while promoting his latest movie “Embattled.” “I was kind of all over the place, but always was focused on my work. I always found that when I was working, I was in a better headspace.”

Dorff credits his family for keeping him so grounded and responsible despite growing up on Hollywood sets. “I was very blessed with a very loving, supportive family around me,” he said. “I have a great relationship with my dad. My dad’s very sensitive.”

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“I think I’m getting better with age. I think in my 20s, I probably scared some people off. I wasn’t perfect, but luckily I’ve always been kind of open and I credit my family for that. I’ve never gone off the deep end into hard drugs. I’ve never been arrested…. a lot of times in movies, but never in real life,” Dorff joked. 

Stephen Dorff as Cash Boykins in 'Embattled.'

Stephen Dorff as Cash Boykins in ‘Embattled.’ (IFC Films)

Even in tragedy, the “Deputy” star turned to acting. His younger brother, Andrew, died in 2016, and the following year Dorff was offered the co-lead role on “True Detective” opposite Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali.

“That year of my life was incredibly rewarding and a beautifully creative experience,” he described. 

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“I thank God that in my darkest times I’ve never [gotten into trouble] and I think that was probably that little voice… My mom always because I had, you know, not strict parents, but my mom was very intense on me and my brother’s upbringing, especially in a town like L.A., which can be very misleading for a kid,” Dorff added. 

In his latest film, “Embattled,” Dorff plays an MMA (mixed martial arts) superstar, Cash Boykins, whose relationship with his eldest son is abusive. 

The now 47-year-old entertainer's first roles were guest appearances on TV shows such as 'Roseanne,' 'Diff'rent Strokes,' and 'Married... With Children.' (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

The now 47-year-old entertainer’s first roles were guest appearances on TV shows such as ‘Roseanne,’ ‘Diff’rent Strokes,’ and ‘Married… With Children.’ (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

“This is not just a fight movie. It’s a family story about a very dysfunctional father-son where there is a lot of love, but it’s hidden behind a lot of old school beliefs that my character has,” explained Dorff. 

“When I read this [script], I knew I had a very difficult character to play, a very unlikeable character to play, ultimately, but one that was a great character in the end for a film,” he said. 

Dorff described how it was hard to get into the right headspace for the role. Cash’s ego is enormous as he’s surrounded by sycophants, money, and his name in lights. 

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“Cash is one of these guys that loses a lot of great things around him by his choices,” Dorff insisted. “But at the same time [the role] was probably one of the most challenging roles physically and mentally I’ve ever had to play because of how different he was from me as a human.”

He added, “It was an uncomfortable few months for me playing him so when I walked away from that, it was just nice to get back to me.”

“Embattled” hits theaters and VOD on November 20. 

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