[UPDATE: People reports that Stahl sent friends an "unemotional and unapologetic e-mail" late Friday and indicated he was headed to rehab. His wife, who wasn't sent the email, is skeptical about the rehab plans.]
At 13, just off the metaphorical bus from small-town Texas, Nick Stahl held his own opposite a disfigured and ranting Mel Gibson in The Man Without a Face. After that, he was a promising young actor, in that way that can become a curse. Later, in interviews, he'd allude in the past tense to substance-abuse problems. But over the years he'd show up, still promising, in grown-up parts — in Todd Field's In the Bedroom, in a few frames of Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line, in Larry Clark's Bully alongside the similarly promising Brad Renfro. He fought the future as John Connor in Terminator 3.
On Monday, Stahl's estranged wife, Roseann Marie Stahl, reported him missing. This week, cops armed with his photograph are running down Stahl sightings on L.A.'s Skid Row. One of the ways L.A. remains improbably movielike, even though they make the movies in Vancouver or Budapest now: It still has a Skid Row for missing people to potentially turn up on, and they still call it Skid Row. Roseann Stahl told police he was no stranger to that part of town.