Jackie Earle Haley (born Jack Earle Haley, July 14, 1961) is an American actor, perhaps best known for his roles as pedophile Ronnie McGorvey in Little Children, the vigilante Rorshach in Watchmen, and horror icon Freddy Krueger in the awful remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Haley was born and raised in Northridge, California, the son of Haven Earle “Bud” Haley, a radio show host/disc jockey and actor. Haley was a well known child actor and appeared in numerous films, including The Day of the Locust, The Bad News Bears (and 2 sequels), Damnation Alley, Breaking Away, and Losin’ It.
It has been rumored that in 1984, Haley’s friend Johnny Depp accompanied him to auditions for Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street; instead of Haley being chosen for a role, it was Depp who was spotted by director Craven, who asked him if he would like to read for a part. Whether true or not, Haley struggled to find many good roles throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, when he moved to San Antonio, Texas, and eventually turned to directing, finding success as a producer and director of television commercials.
With the recommendation of Sean Penn, Haley returned to acting in 2006, first appearing in Steven Zaillian’s All the King’s Men (2006) alongside Penn as Sugar Boy, his bodyguard, before giving a critically acclaimed performance as a recently paroled sex offender in Todd Field’s Little Children (2006). He stated that his preparation for the role was greatly influenced by the relationship shared between his mother and his brother True, who battled a heroin addiction before he died of an overdose. Haley was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for this portrayal.
In 2008, he appeared in Semi-Pro and starred in Winged Creatures with Kate Beckinsale, Guy Pearce and Dakota Fanning. He also co-starred in Zack Snyder’s 2009 adaptation of the Alan Moore graphic novel, Watchmen, as Rorshach, a masked vigilante working to find the identity of a costumed hero killer, a role which earned Haley praise from many reviewers. The film also reunited him with Little Children co-star Patrick Wilson who played Nite Owl II, former partner of Rorschach.
In 2010, Haley appeared in Shutter Island, directed by Martin Scorsese, playing a patient of a hospital for the criminally insane. That same year Haley played the role of Freddy Krueger in the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake. He has apparently signed on to play the role in three installments in the series.
He played Willie Loomis in the 2012 film adaptation of Dark Shadows, directed by Tim Burton, and will play Alexander H.. Stephens in the forthcoming Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg.