Woody Harrelson has opened up about the night he was held up at gunpoint in the early days of his career.

Talking about his upcoming film Wilson at the Sundance Film Festival, the 55-year-old was asked about the first big purchase he made after scoring a major role.

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"I was 23 and I'd just got the role on Cheers but I hadn't started working yet," he told The Hollywood Reporter.

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"But just having that in my pocket, I was able to go and purchase this Porsche. And I'd never in my life looked like I had money before and I remember I was parking in a really not-so-great area out in east Hollywood.

"And a guy came up and robbed me. Put a gun to my head. That was really an uncomfortable night."

The actor said the man took his money before demanding the keys. When Harrelson couldn't find where he had put them, the man said he'd count to five.

"He got to four and I said, 'I'm gonna die now'," Harrelson recalled.

Thankfully, when someone stepped out of a nearby door, the gunman ran off.

"He probably wouldn't have shot me but when the gun's here and someone's counting, you don't know."