At 33, Corey Feldman's (search) packed in more living than guys twice his age -- nearly 70 movies, drug abuse, arrest, recovery, sobriety, "Hollywood Squares (search)" and a reality show, "The Surreal Life (search)," on which he wed a co-star (they now have a 10-month-old son, Zen Scott Feldman).
What did we leave out? Oh yes -- charges of parental abuse, a friendship with Michael Jackson (search) ...
But that was then. Feldman -- who looks just slightly older than his "Goonies" self -- is now appearing in "Fatal Attraction: A Greek Tragedy," (search) a trippy off-Broadway riff on the 1987 horror-love story.
No, he's not the bunny: He plays Michael Douglas.
Between rehearsals the other day -- after dispatching his director for cheese blintzes with strawberries -- Feldman filled us in.
Q: You've made a ton of movies. Is there any one you'd call the quintessential Corey Feldman role?
A: I guess there's two. The '80s Corey Feldman role would be "Dream a Little Dream," because that really culminized, for me, the tough, cocky smarta-- character I played in the '80s, coupled with the more mature actor's actor. In that film I played two roles: the young punky kid I was, and then, when Jason Robards took over my body, a more astute gentleman.
I've got a new film, "The Birthday" -- it's playing the festival circuit -- that's the biggest challenge I've ever done. It's set in the '80s, so there's your nod to the quintessential Corey Feldman, OK?
Q: In several films, you've played yourself. Where's the challenge?
A: Getting over that! [Nervous laugh.] You don't want to get stereotyped as a caricature of yourself, so you have to be selective.
Q: So what have you turned down?
A: Tons of stuff. There was a role in a huge film last year where I'm doing a sex scene with someone, and their head gets cut off or something ... I've been offered everything from that to "Cooking with the Coreys" -- me and Corey Haim having a cooking show. Coming back to "The Birthday," the thing that makes it so challenging is the character is a neurotic paranoid with a nervous tic.
Q: His name isn't ... Corey Feldman?
A: No, it's not. [Nervous laugh.] The movie's shot in real time and I'm in every shot. I'm this nervous little dude with a completely different voice, so when you're watching this film, you're not thinking Corey Feldman, which is great, I love that -- not me, my past and my package.
Q: Speaking of baggage: Why did the two Coreys split?
A: He just wouldn't do the dishes [giggle]. There were two breaks, actually. By the end of "Dream a Little Dream," everything was the Coreys, Coreymania. It got to the point where I'd walk down the street and people would be, "Corey Haim! Corey Haines! What's your name?" and he'd get, "Corey Feldman, Feldmeyer?" Basically, people were crossbreeding us into one entity.
Then he had his drug problem, I had mine ... After I got sober, some people came to us about doing three films for National Lampoon; the first was called "The Last Resort." It was awful -- probably the worst movie of my career. Then we did "Busted," where I was the director and he was the actor, and it made it clear we needed to do our own things.
Q: Do you guys still talk?
A: Yeah! I have nothing but love for him. We get offers all the time ... We both want to be successful in our own right before coming together.
Q: So what would you advise child actors?
A: GET OUT NOW! WHILE YOU CAN! [He quiets.] It's like a collision course with hell, being a child star. You put a kid on a pedestal, and suddenly their ego takes over and they don't know what's right or what's wrong. Usually, the parents take advantage of that position, they don't know how to instruct you, like my parents. Which left me at 18 with, "What do I do now?" You've got fans all over the world, so you either stick it out or do something like telemarketing.
Q: You once said you made so many movies to escape your parents.
A: Becoming an actor wasn't a choice -- it was something I was forced into. At 3, you can't make those choices ... I supported my family, and if I got fired or missed an audition, I'd be punished as if I'd messed up in school. I was starved, because they wanted to keep my weight at a certain place; my hair was bleached -- that was my life. I wasn't allowed to play with kids on my block or ride a bike or play ball, in case I got a scratch -- I wasn't even allowed to be bar mitzvahed because I couldn't attend enough lessons.
Q: Any films you wish you never made?
A: You want a list? I got about 10 of them. But when you've done 70 films, if you've got 10 you don't like, you're doing OK. Everyone makes mistakes. Look at Chevy Chase's career!
Q: You've been straight for how long now?
A: Fourteen years. I was a junkie, for lack of a better term. I never used needles, but I was into heroin, cocaine -- those are the things I'll never touch again.
I was desperate. I had so much pain from girls who'd cheat on me and lie to me ... also, I was hanging out with some very seedy people who made me believe they were my friends and they had all the answers. "You don't need a needle -- you can snort it. You can get it downtown." And that was it -- I was off and running.
Q: You spoke out against Michael Jackson. Was that a tough time?
A: It's still tough. Being associated with someone like that is a no-win situation: Either you're defending him or getting harassed for not defending him. We had our friendship, we had our falling out ...
When the new charges came down, I granted one interview -- "[Jackson] never touched me, he never did anything to me." And that's my stance. But as I started seeing the evidence come forward, I said, "OK, there are a couple of parallels -- being shown pictures of naked people" ... As an adult and father, I was able to look back at my relationship and say I should cooperate with the police and be helpful.
Q:What do we need to know most about Corey Feldman?
A:I'm not as cool as you think I think I might be -- and the most important things in my life are God, love and peace. Everything else is b.s. And art's kind of important, too.
Q: Gee! You sound so together.
A:Thank you. It's all an act -- don't believe a word of it.