Get your inhalers ready, 'Goonies' fans: Sean Astin is bound for Toronto ComiCon
TORONTO - Twenty-eight years after starring as a pre-teen treasure hunter in "The Goonies," actor Sean Astin still meets ardent fans of the adventure-comedy film.
At pop-culture conventions such as this weekend's two-day Toronto ComiCon, which Astin is scheduled to attend, "'The Goonies' is always huge," he says.
"It's not a convention if two people at least don't show up and show me their 'Goonies' tattoo," Astin, 42, said in a recent telephone interview from Los Angeles.
"Some people have the pirate ship, some people have Sloth's face, other people will have the iconic images from the movie. It's a bit shocking to see how deeply that sweet movie from 1985 has embedded itself in the culture."
Astin said he also signs his autograph on a lot of asthma inhalers at conventions (his "Goonies" character had asthma).
"So apparently we made asthma cool for a generation," he said with a laugh.
Of course, Astin also sees many fans dressed as his "The Lord of the Rings" character Samwise Gamgee — with a knapsack, pots and pans — at such conventions.
At this weekend's event at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, he expects to field many questions about the recently released "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," the first in a trio of films that act as prequels to the "Lord of the Rings."
Astin anticipates fans will ask why he's not in "The Hobbit," and what he thinks of the film.
His answer to the first query is that "it wasn't meant to be," seeing as Samwise didn't appear in the original books and the filmmakers couldn't include everybody from "The Lord of the Rings."
"So my peace was made with it a while ago," said Astin. "And I'm in good company with a lot of other fantastic actors who can always look to the fact that we were a part of something really special."
As for his thoughts on "The Hobbit," Astin feels it's "an accomplishment."
"They've refined so many things and changed so many things, from the hobbit feet to the way the dragon moves, how Gollum looks," said Astin.
"They've really made a lot of advancements, so it's a little bittersweet that you don't get to be there for that, you're part of the kind of older thing now. But at the same time a lot of those people are the same people who we knew and worked with and enjoyed their company and marvelled at their expertise, and so good for them, it's exciting for them."
Astin's upcoming projects include the film "The Boys of Abu Ghraib," in which he plays a guard at the infamous prison that was the source of an abuse scandal in Iraq.
"It was a very painful experience to make that movie, doing the research for it, all the reading, the documentaries and studying about it," he said.
"It really is just an awful stain on human history and really a black eye for my country."
Astin is also training for his fourth marathon, and is working with a University of Notre Dame alumni group to organize a celebration for the 20th anniversary of his film "Rudy," in which he plays a student determined to overcome the odds and play college football.
"We're getting older, that's the moral of the story," said Astin.
"The 'Goonies' are almost 30 years old, 'Rudy' is 20 years old, 'Lord of the Rings' is over 10 years old — just getting older. And in case I didn't remember, I've got three daughters, the oldest of which is 16. So there's always some other reminder of just how old you're getting."
Other stars attending Toronto ComiCon, presented by Fan Expo Canada, include Patrick Stewart, Laura Vandervoort and Daniel Logan.