Two years ago, Buddy Duress was poised to be a big star.
The Queens native received positive notices for his performance in the film “Good Time,” in which he held his own alongside A-lister Robert Pattinson. Weeks ago, IFC Center was showing the Jeff Goldblum film “The Mountain,” featuring Duress. Pete Davidson is such a fan that, a source told The Post, he reached out about casting the actor in his “Untitled Staten Island Project,” now being directed by Judd Apatow.
That’s unlikely to happen.
“Buddy couldn’t do it because he was in Rikers,” said Cameron Van Hoy, who directed Duress, 34, in the upcoming “Flinch.” He visited the actor at the jail, where Duress was sent after being arrested on charges of grand larceny in the third degree.
According to Van Hoy, Duress said: “I could have done the [Apatow] movie. But instead I am here in jail.
“He asked me if he could get another shot [in showbiz]. ‘If not,’ he said, ‘I could kill myself now.’ He is a wildly talented actor. But he needs to focus on acting instead of hustling on the streets.”
Duress’ first time in Rikers was a decade ago, for petty larceny. He’s been sent there some 10 times on charges ranging from heroin possession to identity theft. In fact, he was at Rikers when his big break, “Heaven Knows What,” premiered at the New York Film Festival in 2014.
A couple years later, director Dustin Guy Defa cast Duress in “Person To Person” after going to Rikers to audition him.
More recently, Duress was back at the jail in January after his mother, Jo-Anne, turned him in to police for allegedly stealing checks and forging her signature to the tune of more than $3,000.
“I couldn’t take it,” said Jo-Anne. “He would call in the middle of the night and ask [for] money. It was for drugs.” She has been divorced from Duress’ father for years, and the actor, who attended Robert Louis Stevenson High School in Manhattan, has said he is estranged from his dad.
A recent arrest report states that Duress threatened to burn his mom’s house down. She now has an order of protection against him.
“I don’t blame her,” Duress said, speaking via phone from Rikers. “I’m not easy to live with.”
Duress in the film “Flinch”
Van Hoy took it less well. He couldn’t complete his film “Flinch” without getting Buddy in the studio for overdubs. So the director convinced Jo-Anne to pay $650 for her son’s bail; Van Hoy paid the remaining $650. Jo-Anne even put up her Astoria home in the deal. A hearing is set for Sept. 19.
The actor was able to do the voiceover work for Van Hoy. But on Aug. 2, he was busted on charges of menacing and criminal possession of brass knuckles as well as of a controlled substance. He was sent back to Rikers.
Van Hoy admits he’s not sure if springing his star was a great idea, but said, “What was I going to do, not finish my movie?
“I want to think Buddy will get sober and focus on acting. But there is a chance he will end up dead or hustling on the streets.”
Duress said he’s now clean and ready to continue his Hollywood climb. “I’m done with the drugs, man,” he said. “I want to get the f–k out of [jail], get on with my life and keep acting.”