During a lull in his filming schedule, he penned his children’s book, How Roland Rolls, and the story was far from the fairytale template most children’s books follow.
“One of the things I’ve always wanted to talk about or deal with is the fact that kids have profound feelings and profound questions that people don’t give them credit for. They think about life and death and ‘What happens when something happens to Mom? What happens when something happens to me?'” he told The Hollywood Reporter. The plot of his book was rooted in the actor’s own fears growing up with two parents who were “heavy smokers.”
“I remember locking myself in the bathroom and crying because I thought they were going to die. They banged on the door, telling me to come out. I don’t know if I got over that fear at that time; it was just kind of with me,” he said.
His fears heightened as his mom freely talked about her own mortality. “I remember being seven years old and my mother at the dinner table saying things like, ‘My brain is deteriorating at an incredible rate!’ or ‘My angina’s acting up; I could go at any time!'” he recalled. “Things like that would just shake me to the core.”
He later came to grips with his mom’s outspoken banter, realizing it was her way of “getting attention and getting love,” — but it was at the cost of scaring the bejesus out of him.