Emanating from the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel in Iselin, NJ; the New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival welcomed several film reunions. Over the weekend stars from The People Under the Stairs, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, and Night of the Demons (1988) all met up for group panels and Q&As. Perhaps the most eagerly attended panel though was for The Goonies. NJ Horror Con welcomed Mikey and Andy, Sean Astin and Kerri Green and the room was packed upstairs with fans of all ages, many wearing Goonies-themed shirts.
Moderated by Chris Stiles, Astin and Green took the stage to a loud applause. Stiles open by asking about their audition process back in 1984-85, and Astin jokes about being shocked he got the role since he couldn’t remember any of the lines. Kerri Green adds how embarrassed she felt about losing her shoes during her audition, later finding they were taken by director Richard Donner as a joke. It’s fascinating listening to these actors discuss day to day interactions with titans of Hollywood, Steven Spielberg and Richard Donner. Astin described Donner as scary but lovable. The two trade stories, mostly about Astin being a kid and the kids running wild on set, while Kerri and the older kids were much more relaxed. Chris Stiles asked about the competition for box office in those amazing middle 80s years with films like Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Commando, etc coming out and that lead to a panel-long gag between Stiles and Astin over Chris’s obsession with film competition.
They opened for Q&A and I jumped right in there:
Geeks of Doom: Two quick questions. Sean, was Kerri your first kiss? (Oooohs from the crowd). And did you guys get to keep any of the cool props from the set?
Astin tried to sway the conversation to props, but Kerri Green wanted answers:
Kerri Green: Was I your first kiss?
Sean Astin: Well, don’t tell (girl’s name), but SURE. It was funny, you asked about the auditions. I was offered a test deal to do Explorers. That’s when they bring three people in, make deals and only one gets the part. So I was offered Goonies guaranteed where I kiss a girl, or a chance to do Explorers with no kissing, so choosing Goonies was an easy decision for me. I want to hear you side of it.
Kerri Green: I remember, you were really little, and I felt very inappropriate. I remember it being very awkward, I used to be awkward… more so than now.
Sean Astin: This was the scene I was most looking forward to, I had three older brothers you know. I played it chill right?
Kerri Green: Did you know I was a nervous wreck?
Sean Astin: No, you were the girl, why would you be nervous?
On the prop question;
Sean Astin: I kept the map, but lost it.
Kerri Green: I have my sweater but they didn’t let keep the jewels or anything. When they first let us onto that set, our instincts were to grab everything.
Sean Astin: We stole tons of stuff, I had a bucket of doubloons in my house for years!
The two of them were really hilarious and played off each other wonderfully. They were asked about decades worth of sequel rumors, and Sean tells a funny story of him and Corey Feldman writing and pitching a story outline, only to have the producer nearly fall asleep listening. My favorite story was when Richard Donner went on a Hawaiian vacation to get away from the loud mouthed kids, and Spielberg flew the entire cast out to Hawaii to await Donner’s flight as a joke!
Another fan asked: “Did you guys realize at the time you were making a film that would hold up all these years later and become the classic it is?”
Astin said not immediately, considering after the movie came out, he lost an election for Student Body President, so “how popular could it have been?” Stiles followed that up by asking when later on did they realize the impact it had.
Kerri Green: (Quietly) Today…
Sean Astin: We’re starting her off slow, this is Kerri’s first domestic convention. For me, it was the 20th anniversary. People started saying it’s the 20th anniversary like that was a big deal. I remember I was campaigning for a Congressmen in Astoria and we were by The Goonies house, and everyone was wearing Goonies shirts, and now they’re ubiquitous. You’ll see people wearing Goonies shirts at the airport.
The Goonies is one of my favorite movies, I can honestly say I’ve seen it as much as any film ever. I recently played it for my 6.5 year old to introduce it to her. This was a huge fanboy moment for me, and I bit my tongue from screaming out all the quotable lines from the film. Kerri Green was shy at first, but got into the swing of it, and Sean Astin was the consummate pro. The panel and Q&A were really funny and interesting. Another major highlight of the weekend, and kudos to New Jersey Horror Con for setting it up.
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