Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Cast of "The Goonies:" Then and Now

"The Goonies" for the periodical's 20th anniversary issue. It wasn't their first get-together since the movie's wrap -- they all reunited for a DVD commentary in 2001 -- but they gathered once more for a trip down memory lane. Everyone was there, and even producer Steven Spielberg and director Richard Donner joined in. During the interview Donner described the film as the "best experience I've ever had in my life." Coming from the dude who made "Superman" and "Lethal Weapon," that's pretty huge. But we're not surprised. And although we were saddened that the reunion was in no way an indication or announcement of an upcoming sequel (although rumors are flying about a Broadway musical version?!), it got us wondering what the Goonies, who never say die, are up to now.

Sean Astin: Then
Sean was born into Hollywood royalty. His mom was Patty Duke ("The Miracle Worker") and his stepdad was John Astin ("The Addams Family"). So it came as no surprise when the teenager embarked on his own acting career and was cast in "The Goonies," his first feature, as Mikey Walsh, an asthmatic kid who encourages his friends to join him on his quest for One-Eyed Willy and a hidden treasure to help save his coastal town.

Sean Astin: Now
Even though Sean built an impressive post-"Goonies" resume (including a memorable turn as the title character in 1993's "Rudy"), he was pretty much remembered for Mikey Walsh until 2001, when the first chapter in the massively successful "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy hit the big screen. Now he's remembered as Samwise Gamgee, Frodo Baggins' gardener and companion on a deadly quest even One-Eyed Willy would've declined. Most recently Sean appeared in "Stay Cool," a story about revisiting the past, with Winona Ryder and Jon Cryer.

Corey Feldman: Then
The 14-year-old Feldman was already a show biz vet by the time he brought Clark "Mouth" Devereaux to life, from his humble beginnings in a McDonald's commercial at age 3 to countless appearances on TV shows like "Mork & Mindy" and "Eight Is Enough," through the films "Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter" and "Gremlins." But this was just the beginning. After "The Goonies" came "The 'Burbs" with Tom Hanks, "Stand by Me" with Wil Wheaton and River Phoenix, and "The Lost Boys," which teamed him with the other Corey (Haim) for the first time.

Corey Feldman: Now
Corey started the '90s with a "Kowabunga!" bang as the voice of Donatello in the live-action "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." But the rest of the decade was something of a bummer. After a battle with drugs and some not-so-well received films, he turned to music, releasing a few albums with his band, Truth Movement, then went on to re-establish himself via the reality-TV circuit with old pal Haim ("The Two Coreys"). Last year Feldman starred in the straight-to-DVD sequel "Lost Boys: The Tribe"; Haim surfaced in the end credits. Despite bad reviews and worse sales, a rumored "Lost Boys 3" is due next year.

Josh Brolin: Then
Brand Walsh, Mikey's older and overbearing brother (who nonetheless joins the quest), was the first major gig for Josh Brolin. Like his onscreen sibling, Josh too had stardom in his veins, as the son of TV and film veteran James Brolin (and future stepson to Barbra Streisand). The prominent role jump-started the young actor's career, leading to a three-season run on "The Young Riders" with Stephen Baldwin. Brolin played Wild Bill Hickok, who would've never let his little brother tie him up in exercise equipment.

Josh Brolin: Now
Although Brolin's worked consistently since "The Goonies," he pretty much flew under the radar from 1992 to 2007. Then came "No Country for Old Men," and his blip was active again. Since then Mr. Diane Lane has gone on to "American Gangster," "W.," and "Milk," garnering an Oscar nomination and numerous awards.

Martha Plimpton: Then
If you thought Josh Brolin and Sean Astin had impressive bloodlines, Martha Plimpton's Hollywood pedigree goes back nearly 80 years. She's the daughter of Keith Carradine, which makes her niece to David Carradine and granddaughter to John Carradine, who made his film debut in 1930. Obviously, acting was in Martha's blood, as was a tomboy persona. So she was typecast for many years as the tough girl, from Calvin Klein jean ads to her "Goonies" turn as Stef Steinbrenner, the smart-aleck skeptic who falls for "Mouth." This breakthrough performance led to roles in "Mosquito Coast" and "Running on Empty" (both starring her then-boyfriend, River Phoenix), as well as Steve Martin's "Parenthood."

Martha Plimpton: Now
Martha's still a presence on screens big ("Stanley & Iris," "200 Cigarettes") and small ("ER," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"). But she's really found her place on the Broadway stage. In the last two years she's been nominated for three Tonys, for performances in "The Coast of Utopia" (2007), "Top Girls" (2008), and her just-announced nod for "Pal Joey" (2009). We're rooting for ya, Martha!

Jonathan Ke Quan: Then
Jonathan had the uncanny luck to score two successful back-to-back films as a fledgling child actor. His first-ever role was a doozy: Short Round, taxi driver and sidekick to Harrison Ford's adventurous archaeologist in the 1984 smash "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." He followed that with the James Bond-obsessed gadget-maker Richard "Data" Wang in "The Goonies." These two performances assured his pop-culture status, although he didn't do much more acting. Honestly, he didn't have to.

Jonathan Ke Quan: Now
Jonathan's done a little TV (the post-Howard Hesseman "Head of the Class") and a few Hong Kong movies ("Second Time Around") since retiring Data's Pinchers of Power, but today the USC School of Dramatic Arts graduate works mostly behind the scenes. Most recently Quan has served as fight choreographer for movies like "X-Men" and Jet Li's "The One."

Jeff Cohen: Then
By the time the preteen Cohen donned Lawrence "Chunk" Cohen's golfer pants/Hawaiian shirt ensemble, he was already a somewhat familiar figure from appearances on "The Facts of Life," "Webster," and "Tales from the Darkside." But Chunk was his breakthrough role... and most beloved by far. What's not to love about a kid who could determine an ice-cream flavor by its smell, amuse kidnappers with weepy tales of mass barfing, and recruit a man-child named Sloth to help him rescue his friends? And all this was after being forced to do the "Truffle Shuffle" (exposing and jiggling his chubby tum) to earn his way into a Goonies meeting. Now that's friendship!

Jeff Cohen: Now
Jeff didn't do much performing after "The Goonies." Late-career highlights include a "Family Ties" guest spot and an ABC after-school special, "No Greater Gift." Instead, he set his sights on the biz's business side, although he wasn't above using his childhood fame to connect with the people. While attending UC Berkeley in the '90s Cohen successfully campaigned for head of the Associated Students with posters reading "Chunk for President." From there he went on to the UCLA School of Law. He now runs a successful entertainment law firm, Cohen & Gardner, LLP. In 2008 he was named by the "Hollywood Reporter" as one of Hollywood's Top 35 Executives Under 35, which likely means he's not required to do the "Truffle Shuffle" before entering courtrooms or legal meetings.

Kerri Green: Then
Andrea "Andy" Carmichael was Kerri's first acting gig and every teenaged boy's dream. The popular cheerleader was too cool for the Goonies but too nice for her jerky jock boyfriend, so she eventually joined the adventure and found true love among the geeks, giving hope to every love-struck social outcast in '85. Green returned to the big screen later that summer as John Candy's daughter in "Summer Rental." But her biggest acclaim came with 1986's "Lucas," as the object of Corey Haim's nerdly affections. Sadly, his love went unrequited; she was more into Charlie Sheen's football player. Well, can you blame her?

Kerri Green: Now
Kerri briefly left acting in 1988 to study art at Vassar. She returned in 1993 for a role in the indie film "Blue Flame" and appeared in episodes of "Mad About You" and "ER." Later that decade she co-founded a production company called Independent Women Artists, where she co-wrote, directed, and produced the 1999 feature "Bellyfruit." These days "Goonies" fans are buzzing with the news of Kerri's potential comeback with the upcoming "Complacent," a drama about two sisters facing tragedy. The film also brings another retro star back to the big screen: Adrienne Barbeau. Now, that's a must-see!

Written by Amy & Nancy Harrington
Originally for

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