TEN THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT "HEAVYWEIGHTS"
Turns out @MissBicks fangirls out over a Disney movie I was in as a lad. Here are some memories, 21 years later.
- •I am one of the kids in Heavyweights.I'm one of the four kids on the original poster, which initially surprised me. It seemed like there were really three main kids, and my role was smaller than theirs. But there I was on the poster! It was our heads photoshopped onto different bodies, which actually mirrors a plot point in the film. The spine of the DVD had the title of the film and a tiny thumbnail of my face which makes absolutely no sense at all. I think someone confused me and the main kid. They corrected this for the Blu-ray.
- •One kid got fired.He was a little older, and fancied himself a bad boy. He had this big thick marker he'd tag shit with. If I remember correctly, his tag was "BEEF," which is perfect. One day he scribbled on some car door in the crew parking lot. A bit later the director's assistant was like "Someone tagged my car?" Everyone knew it was him because he was constantly scribbling all over everything. So they sent him home early, and his role became smaller than originally written.
- •Getting a veggie burger in North Carolina was difficult in 1993.The film was shot mostly at Camp Pinnacle, in Hendersonville N.C. There was a big scene calling for me to be discovered on a toilet, eating a burger that I'd smuggled into camp. I was, and still am, a vegetarian. We gave the prop master advance warning that I'd need to have a veggie burger. Apparently 21 years ago it was hard to find frozen Gardenburger patties in Hendersonville. It was a scramble, but they got em. The irony is you never see me actually take a bite in the finished film.
- •The food orgyWe shot this huge food fight party scene over two nights. I got to realize my physical comedy dream of smashing a pie into my own face! Aaron Schwartz, the main kid, was running with a bucket of chicken, slipped, fell, and broke his arm. While he went to the hospital, they covered his stand-in's face with chocolate syrup and kept shooting. If you watch the scene you may notice this. They then had to shoot around Aaron's arm cast for some weeks.
- •The BlobSo there was this giant inflatable tube on the lake at the camp. A person sits on one end, and is launched into the air when someone else lands on the other end. One night when the kids were all back at the Holiday Inn, there was some sort of crew and adult cast blob party. Lets just say booze & blob don't mix. There were further injuries, including another broken arm. Everyone stayed off The Blob after that.
- •The adults were awesome.I liked the other kids, but really dug hanging w/ the adults. It was Judd Apatow's first feature as a writer/producer, and he was like 26 years old. He and the set teacher Lois were kinda like our camp counselors. Paul Feig was super sweet (and I was obsessed w/ the dance he did at the end of Ski Patrol), as were the Toms (who played Lars and Pat). We all had crushes on Nurse Julie (who was dating the director; they later got married, then divorced). Peter Berg was around too. He had a cameo.
- •My favorite adult was Allen Covert, who played Kenny the Cameraman.You may know Covert as Adam Sandler's buddy in many Adam Sandler's movies (and in life), and as the star of Grandma's Boy. Hilarious guy. His schtick was being a curmudgeonly grump. He was a chain smoker, and we would develop these little comic routines, with me playing the role of the chirpy kid actor. "Hey, put that out, Covert. Secondhand smoke causes cancer." He'd deadpan "Then get away from me or die." He also introduced me to Rage Against The Machine.
- •Ben Stiller did not hang with the kids.Could've been a method actor thing, not entirely sure. When the film came out he didn't do press, and he was nowhere to be seen on the poster. I think he thought we were making a Ben Stiller movie when it eded up being a movie about a group of kids, featuring Ben Stiller as the villain. Makes sense. I caught up with him years later and he said he looked back on the experience fondly. And look at him now!
- •Actual sleepaway camp was very different.Making the film was, as they often say, just like going off to summer camp. And then real summer camp a few years later ended up being a bit of a drag in comparison. But word travelled fast through the cabins, and I was quickly seen as some sorta camp celebrity. So that was cool. When I got to college I didn't really tell anybody about my past as a child actor, but people figured it out anyway.
- •I recently heard that Paul Thomas Anderson loves Heavyweights.Which is really the only validation I need in life.