Before They Were Stars: Jackie Earle Haley in “The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training”

On the list of actors who’ve made the most surprising, unexpected comebacks from obscurity, Jackie Earle Haley definitely ranks right near the top. He was a former child star who found his greatest fame playing the rebellious Kelly Leak in The Bad News Bears and continued to appear in films until the early 1990s when he decided to quit acting and focus on directing and producing television commercials. After staying off-screen for nearly fifteen years, Haley shocked everyone by coming back out of nowhere to deliver an Oscar-nominated performance as a child molester in Little Children and would go on to garner such major roles as Rorschach in Watchmen and Freddy Krueger in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Anyway, Tatum O’Neal was obviously the focal point of the first Bad News Bears, but when she opted not to return for The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training and The Bad News Bears Go to Japan, Jackie got to take the main spotlight. Unfortunately, the sequels were highly inferior, but Breaking Training is at least still watchable, and you do get to see William Devane of Rolling Thunder fame play Jackie’s father.

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