In 1988, two up and coming child actors were starring in the movie Clownhouse, directed by Victor Salva. Today, one of those actors is up for a best-supporting Oscar. The other is trying to alert the world that Hollywood has a pedophile problem. Sam Rockwell and Nathan Forrest Winters both starred in Salva’s film Clownhouse that was produced by Francis Ford Coppola’s Commercial Pictures. It was a first for many involved.
Clownhouse was Salva’s first feature film after directing the 1986 short Something in the Basement. That short film would ensure that Victor Salva was on his way to a successful and lucrative career, one that has lasted more than three decades.
The 27-minute short film starred three people: Brian McHugh, John Downey, and Nathan Forrest Winters who was a mere 10-years-old at the time of the movie’s release. Something in the Basement was Victor Salva’s film and his alone. It won several awards including the Bronze Plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival as well as the Sony/AFI Home Video Competition.
It also won Salva a long-term relationship with Coppola that would survive many things, including Victor Salva’s conviction for possessing child pornography and lewd and lascivious misconduct for the sexual abuse he heaped on Nathan Forrest Winters.
By the time Salva had secured his footing with Coppola, he would cast Nathan Forrest Winters and McHugh a second time for Clownhouse. This time a third actor would join the cast and make his debut: Vice best supporting actor nominee Sam Rockwell. Sam Rockwell won his first Oscar in 2018 for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Shortly before Clownhouse was finished, Nathan Forrest Winters had revealed a dark secret to his mother: Victor Salva, a trusted family friend who often babysat Nathan in addition to casting him in two of his movies, had been sexually abusing him.
— Nathan Forrest Winters (@NathanForrestW1) December 7, 2018
A trial ensued, Victor Salva was convicted and to this day remains a registered sex offender. He also remains an award-winning, working Hollywood director, writer, and producer.
For some, the idea that a new director, just on the scene with his first feature film was convicted for the sexual abuse and misconduct of a child might mean the end for his career. It wasn’t.
It was the end of Nathan Forrest Winters’ dreams of being a Hollywood star. It was the end of Nathan Forrest Winters’ career.
Victor Salva went on to make many more movies, including the Jeepers Creepers series and Powder. Sam Rockwell has become a household name appearing in movies and television series alike.
For Nathan Forrest-Winters, his acting career ended. There are no Oscar nominations for Nathan. No accolades were given and not even an invite to any ceremonies by people who insist that the sexual abuse of children will no longer be tolerated and accepted in Hollywood.
No #MeToo movement or #TimesUp people have called.
Nathan Forrest-Winters stands alone while Victor Salva continues to make movies. In 2017, he released Jeepers Creepers III and has two films currently in the works.
Nathan Forrest Winters continues to speak out against the hypocrisy he sees occurring in Hollywood today. He has been vocal about Rose McGowan’s willingness to work with Salva in the film Rosewood Lane without issuing so much as a public apology to Nathan Forrest Winters for calling the convicted pedophile who abused him a “nice man.”
Sam Rockwell’s career is at a pinnacle. One Oscar nomination ensures an actor only the best offers will come through. Rockwell could very well win his second Oscar on February 24, 2019.
Not everyone is so quick to forget where his acting career began, however; or how quickly Nathan Forrest Winters’ career ended due to Victor Salva’s prolonged sexual abuse.