A Far Off Place is one of those movies that we all remember from our childhood, but never really realized how dark it was. The 1993 Disney movie featured a young Reese Witherspoon who ends up walking through the desert with another kid. Seems relatively harmless, right?
JUST KIDDING. The two kids, Reese Witherspoon and Ethan Embry, are left STRANDED in the desert after literally everyone else they know is murdered. Nonnie, played by Witherspoon, and Harry, played by Embry, had sneaked away from their home in the African desert to meet up with Nonnie’s friend, Xhabbo. They hear gunshots, return to the camp, and find their families murdered by a friend who had been running an ivory exporting scheme.
The duo, along with Xhabbo, then have to trek 2,000 miles across the Kalahari desert where they can reach a seaport town.
We’re all aware that Reese Witherspoon has stayed extremely relevant since that movie. The Oscar-winning actress is all over the Hollywood scene, and is starring in the upcoming A Wrinkle In Time with freakin’ OPRAH WINFREY. So ya, she’s doing just fine.
However Ethan Embry is not a name that we’ve heard a lot since the movie. He’s popped up here and there, and also had a leading role in Can’t Hardly Wait. But if we’re being honest, I definitely thought Embry would be making it big for a long time. He had that cute child actor thing going for him, and the movie itself had decent reviews.
So where did Ethan Embry end up?
Currently, Embry is starring as Coyote Bergstein in the hit Netflix show Grace and Frankie, and also had a role in the ABC show Once Upon A Time. But getting there was not an easy road.
Embry is a recovering addict, and has been open about his struggles. He even admitted he was high while filming Can’t Hardly Wait.
“At the time, when we were shooting, I was the world’s biggest stoner,” Embry told VH1. “I remember the director came up to me and asked if I was ‘altered.’ But other than that, nothing sticks out because I was so stoned the entire time.”
In a 2017 series of tweets, Embry opened up further.
“I was stuck in a cycle of running through a subutex script and smoking tar for about two straight years. 6 years ago today I started my kick,” he wrote. “If you are strung out on opiates and want to stop —but the fear of the kick is keeping you from it — I won’t lie it f—ing sucks.”
Embry then moved on to offer words of hope to those who are struggling, and also spoke out against Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s call for harsher penalties for drug offenders.
“Opiate OD is the leading cause of preventable death in America at 50k last year alone. It’s a health crises (sic) not a criminal one, Mr. Sessions,” Embry wrote. “For decades we have told addicts that their behavior deserves punishment. That they should be locked away for their addictions. All that accomplishes is multiplying the shame that us addicts experience. It forces us to hide our addictions until it’s too late for help.”
He continued, “Life won’t get any easier for us when we sober up. But I do promise you’ll be better at dealing with what comes at you clean.”
It’s always so wonderful to see stories of people rising from rock bottom to turn their lives around.