In the early 1990s, Woody Harrelson went on Jay Leno’s show and put out an all-points-bulletin for Frankie Hyman, a friend he’d spent a summer in the summer of 1983; while Mr. Harrelson was starring on Cheers, the private investigator he’d hired told him that Mr. Hyman was not using his Social Security Number.
“I was not using my Social Security Number and I was not to be found,” said Mr. Hyman, who’d struggled with drugs. “I was off the radar. I wasn’t working. I was living a street life–how’s that?” Mr. Hyman’s brother got in touch and connected the pair–who are about to put on Bullet for Adolf, a play they co-wrote, at New World Stages (opening August 8).
Said Mr. Harrelson: “We’ve been hanging out the whole time, but 1993 was the first time we got together after not hanging for ten years… He had written this journal in rehab, and there was really some great stuff in there. And I was like, Frankie, you should write, and we should write this together. I had wanted to write this play, but hunger really helps a writer, and I wasn’t hungry. Maybe a little flabby.”
The play is about their shared experience working construction in Houston for a summer. Said Mr. Hyman: “We kind of had the same experience, he had had one black friend and I had had one white friend my entire life.”
Mr. Harrelson is already planning ahead for the sequel, picking up the story ten years after the pair’s shared summer, “but that’s presumptuous, because if New York don’t go for this, there won’t be a sequel.”
How do they relate to one another? The Hunger Games star shrugged off the question. “Most of my friends are anonymous and poor. It’s not like I’m hanging out with the jet set.”