A comic adventure story about a group of children on a wild hunt for buried pirate treasure touched an entire generation of young moviegoers in the 1980s, and many of the most hardcore fans of Richard Donner’s The Goonies were in attendance Sunday for a panel and screening of the film at EW’s first-ever CapeTown Film Festival.
Present at the sell-out event’s panel were two Goonies — Corey Feldman and Jeff Cohen, who played Chunk — and Robert Davi, who played the singing Fratelli brother, Jake. Below are some of the highlights.
+ Davi can actually sing
Prison escapee Jake Fratelli may have been a killer, but he was a killer with a killer voice. But how did the character end up with such an interesting character trait? “That was my idea,” said Davi, who released an album in 2011 and frequently performs in Las Vegas. “I made Jake Fratelli a big kid — a guy who wanted to sing in the basement and would get slapped by his mother, to take some of the edge off him being the villain.”
+ Chunk’s tears in the blender scene were real!
Cohen and Davi disagree on how this came to be, but the fact is that during the scene where the Fratellis interrogate Chunk and threaten to shove his hand in a blender, Cohen was actually crying REAL tears! “Why was I crying? Why was I so good? Because this sadistic weirdo,” Cohen said, addressing Davi, “for the sake of the art, would reach over under my hair and pull the little hairs out of my head.” He added: “I’m grateful that he did it because the scene turned out well and I’m proud of it, but man, you’re a weird dude.” For the record, Davi claims it was Joe Pantoliano, and Cohen later relented, saying he had been wrong.
+ Cohen’s Truffle-Shuffle shame
The script called for Chunk to do a silly dance, but Cohen revealed there was a long road between “silly dance” and Truffle Shuffle. “The Truffle Shuffle for me was really hard because as a fat kid, the last thing you want to do is show your belly to everybody. So that’s horrifying to begin with,” he said. “Another reason I was afraid was because I had the chicken pox at the time … and I had them mostly on my belly. So I knew I would show my belly with chicken pox and it would be a mess.” Cohen claims you can pause the scene on video and see his pox scars.
+ Pee-Wee Herman and Michael Jackson visited the set
The Goonies set was apparently the hottest place in town. Pee-wee Herman, Dan Aykroyd, Harrison Ford, and Michael Jackson (“He was basically part of the cast,” Feldman said) were among the big stars to visit the set during filming. “It was like we had the coolest set on the lot,” remembered Feldman. “Harrison Ford came and walked the caves with us. We felt like we were in Indiana Jones.”
+The floor in the piano scene was actually removable
…and kind of scary. “In actuality, that set was about 30 feet off the ground and you had to take a spiral staircase around the outside of it to get inside the actual set,” Feldman said. While the kids would stand in front of the piano, [executive producer] Steven Spielberg would position a camera at the bottom of the pit to shoot upward toward the kids, who would then pretend to slip while being held by cables. “As a guy who is afraid of heights and 11 years old and I’m looking down and there’s a million people down there,” Feldman recalled. “You’re just kind of like, if this cable snaps, I’m done.”
Watch a video of the Q& A below!