The Goonies Set Was A Hang Out Spot For Some Of The Biggest Stars In Hollywood

While working on "The Color Purple," Steven Spielberg had yet another million-dollar idea: a movie about childhood adventure on a rainy day. Of course, this is Spielberg, so the adventure had to include more than puddle jumping and catching frogs. The famed director gave the idea to screenwriter Christopher Columbus and director Richard Donner, who created a film about a goofy group of kids searching for long-lost pirate treasure.

The movie's blend of childhood nostalgia, imaginative adventure, and pirate treasure was already a winning recipe, but the inclusion of upcoming Hollywood stars like Josh Brolin, Sean Astin, and Corey Feldman cemented the film's success. On top of the film's cast, the set of "The Goonies" was a popular hangout for Hollywood heavyweights. 

Cast tensions

The talented cast of kids that helped make the film a hit had massive chemistry on-screen, but there was some tension behind the scenes. Back in 2015, Martha Plimpton, who portrayed Stef, told Empire about one tense moment between herself and Feldman that got violent:

"I was sitting at the typewriter doing my homework and he came over and started annoying me. I got up from the typewriter and got [him] on the floor and started smashing [his] head on it, shouting, 'Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!'"

From Plimpton's description, it seems like that incident could have ended really badly, but Feldman seems to shrug it off. "It was the first time a woman had ever gotten on top of me," he revealed.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Plimpton admitted that putting a group of temperamental, know-it-all teenagers together wasn't a great idea:

"Teenage girls and teenage boys — no. You know? It's not a good mix. I was, like, 13, 14. I was listening to Prince and Mozart on my headphones. I mean, I thought I was like — I was from New York. I thought I was smarter than everybody. You know? I think I just might have been just kind of an a**hole. Do you know what I mean? And I know for sure that Corey Feldman was an asshole. I mean, he won't mind me saying it: He was. A f*cking a**hole. We were children! And children are a**holes. When they're that age."

Although some days were tense due to the young cast's egos and precociousness, others were filled with once-in-a-lifetime meetings with Hollywood's biggest stars.

Celebrity encounters

Whether it was the pull of youthful energy or the epic pirate ship, "The Goonies" set was a magnet for who is who of Hollywood in the '80s. "Pee-Wee's big adventure" was filming at the same time, so Tim Burton and Pee Wee himself (Paul Reubens) came to hang out on the set. Although Pee Wee was pretty big back then, Feldman told Empire that he was the least famous of the set visitors:

"'Pee-Wee's Big Adventure' was shooting across the lot, so Tim Burton and Paul Reubens would come over. Dan Aykroyd too. Harrison Ford actually came and climbed around the caves with us at one point. Michael Jackson and his whole family were there quite a bit. It was the happening, you know? One downside was, I became friends with Michael and was wearing a Prince T-shirt every day."

Meeting such massive celebrities on a Spielberg film set is probably cool, but hanging out with famous adults can have huge consequences for child actors. Many child stars, including Feldman, are introduced to drugs and alcohol at a young age, which often lead to a lifelong struggle with addiction. Plimpton also experienced the devastating effects of drugs in young Hollywood when her boyfriend, River Phoenix, died from an overdose in front of her. Sadly, addiction isn't the only life-changing experience young actors might face.

Downsides of childhood fame

Feldman mentioned his relationship with Michael Jackson in the Empire article, which began on "The Goonies" set. For years, Jackson was accused of grooming and abusing children, but Feldman and fellow child star Macaulay Culkin defended him against the allegations for years, insisting that he was never inappropriate with them. However, in recent years, Feldman has begun to question his friendship with the pop star:

"He bought me gifts, a Watchman TV, a gold watch from Disneyland [...] "So was he grooming me and I just never ended up being his pick? Or was that just who he was? 'That's the f***ing thing. We'll never know."

In hindsight, Feldman sees the potential risks within the relationship that he didn't have the capacity to understand as a child. The same naivety leads young stars to dabble in drugs and other high-risk behaviors, which makes children extremely vulnerable to the famous and powerful within the entertainment industry.  

Having the chance to hang out with superstars on a Spielberg set might sound like a dream come true. However, young, wealthy, famous actors may seem really lucky from the outside, but Fame has had massive consequences for Feldman, Plimpton, and many other child actors.