For those growing up in the 1980's, ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING was a hugely popular film. It was one of my favorites that I saw many times at the theatres. A big part of the success of that film was star Keith Coogan. As Brad Anderson, he was a very likable performer.
I contacted Keith about doing an email interview about his career. I posted the first part of where he talked his early TV work. By the time BABYSITTING came around, he was already a veteran, appearing on countless TV series. In this second half, he talks about the film that will always be a favorite of many.
Then came ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING. What was that like to work on?
Time of my young, 16-17 year old life! I had a huge crush on Lisa Shue, and became terrific friends with Anthony Rapp. This was my first feature and since it had a considerable budget for a "teen comedy" at the time, we had all the bells and whistles, trucks, effects, and stunts that made me want to get into the business in the first place. We shot for a few months in Toronto, a few weeks in Chicago, and a few days back here in L.A. for effects/pickup shots. That movie completely changed my career into a strong, healthy feature run of about a half dozen studio projects, and another dozen or so low-budget, independent films.
Did you have any idea that Chris Columbus would go on to be one of the bigger directors of today? Or Anthony Rapp would become with RENT a big Broadway star?
Sure did. Chris was already a cool guy because he was the crazy dude that wrote Gremlins, Goonies, and Young Sherlock Holmes. He was basically a Dante/Spielberg/Donner protoge, and I knew very well that he was going to be a huge success. As far as Anthony, he was far funnier, and had much better training then I did, plus he had a serious passion for theater, so yeah, I guess I knew he'd end up in something that was so hugely successful as "Rent".
Any thoughts on the rumored remake?
Get it done already, I can't wait to see it/be in it!!!!
Do you still keep in touch with anyone from the cast?
I wish I kept in touch with them more.
There were several other films that followed, HIDING OUT, CHEETAH, BOOK OF LOVE, TOY SOLDIERS, and then another cult classic, DON’T TELL MOM THE BABYSITTER’S DEAD. What were those years like?
These were the salad days. Except for the fact that every single one of them except for DTMTBD had a first-time director. I was a total smart-ass... I kept showing different directors where to put the camera, how to get out of a problem scene, all sorts of tricks I learned working in television for a decade before setting foot on a film set. All of the directors were gracious and accommodating to the complete balls I had to try to tell these adults how to run their multi-million dollar set. Thank goodness my Grandfather gave me guidelines on when to speak up and when to shut up, and his advice has always served me well over the years... when I heeded it.
You wrote on the IMDB
“1991 was officially the end of my studio career. It kills me to think that in the same year that 3 major studio releases hit the big screen, that that will be the last time I star in a major studio film. It has been very hard growing up in this business. It's even harder to grow up in life. Yes, I was on top of the world in '91. But it was a small, tiny, insignificant splash in the ocean when compared to true success like Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, or even Corey Feldman.”You also wrote that you had to audition for all the roles you got. Were there roles that you didn’t get, or since you continually worked in smaller films, were you happy with those?
Oh, there were tons of juicy roles that I didn't get... that's simply a reality of the business for an actor. I do have a saying for whenever someone says I should have been in this movie or that one, I tell them, "No, I should have been in 'Cousins', I should have been in Toy Soldiers." That usually shuts them up pretty quick.
About the stigma of being a former child star, you wrote,
“Remember, even if you grow up into a happy, healthy adult, you are still a "Former Child Star". Try living that one down. Or worse, try using that to your advantage when you grow up. It's tough. But what am I going to do... quit show business?”Is it really something you feel you have to live down?
Only when there isn't any fresh work/visibility that would cause someone to ask that... I've gotten a lot better about how to live my life when I'm not working on a set... I guess I just had to grow up a little and make sure that I could take care of myself even if the acting thing peters out or fails to materialize into the thing that I want it to be. I do get quite defensive when people ask me why I'm not working, and I've learned to just roll with it, and use that as an excuse to buckle down more, and dedicate myself even further to the craft.
What have you been up to lately?
A few things I am really proud of lately include:
--- "The Keith Coogan Experience" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=druRaQvYHv4 - A short film I shot in Dallas with some up-and-coming young filmmakers who also happened to be big fans... even though they are all straight, I think they kind of have a crush on me.
--- "Crafty" - A web series with participation from Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, myself as well as many other surprise guests/cameos. This show is currently in production and is set around the Crafts Service (snack) table on the set of a fictitious television series called, "The Telepathist". Look for it to premiere on the internets early this year.
--- "Monologue a Day Project" - http://monologueaday.blogspot.com I learn and perform a Monologue a Day, as inspired by the book and film, Julie and Julia. I wanted to do something every day that I loved, and since I love to act, I said why not post a one-minute monologue every day, alternating between comedic and dramatic speeches, play excerpts,and original monologues.
You have posted several videos on Youtube. Will we be seeing more of those, especially Bruno the redneck’s movie reviews?
Not working on any more Buford for a while, focusing on the monologues... but a redneck character is sure to pop up once in a while.
You have also been blogging at your site Hollywood Kids. How did you get started?
wilwheaton.net is my geek hero and inspiration.
What is your favorite of the films you made? And is there one you wish would disappear from your filmography?
I love every single film I've ever been a part of... I even learned a thing or two on the ones that were tough/unpleasant/difficult/shitty... You learn why you make certain project choices, and what motivates you as an artist. Plus, a really bad shoot can bring about strong friendships... so, no... no regrets.
What are your favorite films, TV shows, musicians?
Spielberg/Kubrick/Heist/Action/Sci-fi.... oh shoot... I love almost all movies. I am really into "Dexter" and "Lost", and there are simply too many musicians to mention... although I did manage to see The Pixies when they were in Los Angeles late last year, and they're a pretty awesome band. Frank Black is a great songwriter... I also had a thing for Nirvana and Guns n Roses in the 90's.
Do you have any DVD recommendations?
Brothers Bloom - Inglourious Basterds - The Fountain - Star Trek - Wanted - Dark Knight - Anchorman - There Will Be Blood - No Country for Old Men - Up
What do you have on your Tivo (or what shows do you watch every week)?
Survivor, Lost when it's on, Dexter, and now... Jersey Shore... I'm so embarrassed.
A big thank you to Keith Coogan! Be sure to check out his sites.