"As I'm getting older, you start to care less about yourself and more about other people."
C. Thomas Howell wants to help others during the coronavirus pandemic with a special nod to his role in "The Outsiders."
During an exclusive interview with TooFab, the actor revealed that his time reflecting on the state of the world in quarantine led him and a few friends to create face masks inspired by the iconic 1983 film.
"We came up with this concept to help support mask awareness and try to make it fun for the kids who have to go to school and wear a mask," he began. "I mean, it's one thing as an adult -- you're dealing with it -- but these kids, you know, they need support and they didn't ask for this."
"And so I just felt like, well, how cool." he continued. "What if we could come up with something for them."
"We're really making no money," Howell explained. "We've stripped everything down just to sort of give back. In fact, until I can get some help, I've been stuffing masks and envelopes and sending them out."
"I'm sure if I had management, they would hate me because I just give away stickers and things," he added with a laugh. "I'm like, well, let's just give them some more stuff."
"As I'm getting older, you start to care less about yourself and more about other people," he mused. "I think it's just an evolutionary process. It was important to me to give back."
The "E.T." veteran reiterated that the mission is to "help somebody have a good time wearing these masks or help somebody just kind of get through what we're all dealing with."
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And the response so far, he revealed, has been "fantastic" -- especially as a new fan base pops up whenever they discover the S.E. Hinton source material.
"What happens is every year a new batch of seventh and eighth graders read 'The Outsiders.' It's basically required reading in 75% of the schools across America. And the level it affects them is deep."
"Every year I'm greeted with some sobbing 13 year olds over Pony Boy or Johnny dying," he explained, before joking, "Then they cry even harder when they realize I'm 53."
Check out more information on the "The Outsiders"-inspired masks here.