Every cult classic comes with its fair share of behind the scenes gems, and we, the good fans, frequently scrape the barrel for those delicious little tidbits of information. Like a good port after dinner (we all still drink port, right?) those tales from the cast, crew and creators help us feel more connected to the things we adore and enrich our viewings each time.
So who wants some dirt on The Goonies?
1.) Being the “Fat Kid” on Set Sucks
Jeff Cohen, the young actor who played Chunk in the film, has taken great pains to explain that being the “fat kid” of the gang was not all it was cracked up to be. Outside of being the butt of every joke in the script, Cohen made the point that kids in his position are often expected to eat throughout films, which was awful in practice. Citing the scene where Chunk sprays whipped cream into his mouth directly from the can as an example: “Say you do fifty takes, that’s fifty hits of the whipped cream.” Furthering the irony, it turns out that when Cohen hit high school, he started doing sports and slimmed down considerably. (Check out his headshot on his IMDb profile page — whoa.) He doesn’t act anymore, but he is an entertainment lawyer, a partner of a firm he founded himself.
2.) “Big Eyes” is the Key
The whole cast claims that director Richard Donner had one key direction for the kids in any scene where something dramatic took place. Apparently, Donner would call out “big eyes!” and the gang would do as told. Now go and watch the movie again, but this time, pick out the places where you think it was put to use!
3.) Always Invoke Michael Jackson
Of course, sometimes shouting “big eyes” didn’t do the trick. During the scene where the kids are banging on the pipes beneath the country club—which backfires when the plumbing explodes on them—Donner couldn’t get the reaction shot he wanted from Corey Feldman (Mouth) for “Reverse pressure!” Finally, Donner told the cast that Michael Jackson was coming to set right before Feldman’s line. He got the take.
4.) Kids Can’t Curse on Film!
Jonathan Ke Quan (billed then as Ke Huy-Quan in the film—he played Data as well as Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) made a promise to his mother than he wouldn’t swear on camera. Of course, there was a line in the script that called for Data to say “Holy shit!” and Quan desperately wanted to deliver it. He split the difference, which is why Data shouts “Holy S-H-I-T” instead. Adorable.
5.) Pirate Ship Secrets
One-Eyed Willie’s pirate ship was a real set that was built to look like Errol Flynn’s ship in The Sea Hawk. While it was being constructed, the kids were not allowed to see it; the ship was hidden on another set behind tarps. Donner was hoping to get a real reaction from the cast for their first take seeing Willie’s ship, but when he rolled the camera and revealed it, the whole gang was so shocked by the sight that they started cursing up a storm, and the scene had to be re-shot. Once production wrapped, the crew tried to find someone who would take the ship, but no one wanted it, and the entire set was scrapped.
6.) Sloth Was Not Throwing People Around Set
Football star John Matuszak was chosen for the role of Sloth, but his sports injuries actually made it difficult for him to perform a lot of Sloth’s more physical moments. Jeff Cohen recalled that Matuszak was in quite a bit of pain following the scene where he picked Chunk up while the kid was tied to a chair. In addition, the line that Chunk delivers in that scene is often misheard. It’s not “You smell like fish heads,” but rather, “You smell like Phys Ed!” (Both things are equally smelly, but the idea of Sloth reeking of a gym locker room paints a hilarious picture, if you ask me.)
7.) All That Kissing
Little Sean Astin (Mikey) was super excited to kiss the older Kerri Green (Andy), like any boy in his early teens would be. It turns out, Green was simultaneously horrified at the idea of scarring the poor kid and thought the whole thing was creepy. Kissing Josh Brolin… was a different story, naturally.
8.) Mom and Dad Can Come Along
During the finale, when the kids are reunited with their parents, a lot of the adults in the film are the actual parents of the Goonies crew. Take a look at Chunk’s mom — he looks just like her.
9.) Joey Pants and Opera Chops
Joe Pantoliano is a character actor who frequently turns up in mafia yarns, but to the cast of The Goonies, they knew him simply as “Joey Pants.” No really, that was their nickname for him. (And now every time you spot him in a film, your brain will cry “Joey Pants!” I swear.) His brother in the movie was played by Robert Davi, who happens to be a professionally trained opera singer. That rare and lovely talent was put to good use, and ended up as a character eccentricity.
10.) From Start to Finish
The film was shot almost entirely in sequence from beginning to end. There was also a scene with an octopus that traps the kids, but it ended up on the cutting room floor. There was an entire single devoted to it, titled “8 Arms to Hold You.” And in honor of that lost single, I present to you the better known single by Cyndi Lauper, “(The Goonies ’R’) Good Enough”:
Screencaps from livejournal user newsie__nympho.
Information sourced from The Goonies IMDb page and, primarily, The Goonies DVD cast commentary.