The Goonies director reveals the truth behind the 'truffle shuffle'

Riochard Donner says 'It was a painful scene'

Jess Staufenberg
Saturday 05 September 2015 14:23
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The director of the cult 1980s movie The Goonies has said one of its most memorable scenes was "painful" to shoot,exactly thirty years filming.

Following a group of children on their quest to save their home from demolition and track down pirate treasure in Oregon, the movie involved one of the "Goonies" being mocked for his weight.

'Chunk', played by child actor Jeff Cohen (now an entertainment attorney in the US), is told he cannot come into the house until he performs "the truffle shuffle", which involves showing his belly whilst shaking himself around.

In an interview with Uproxx, director Richard Donner – who accepted the film after Steven Spielberg handed it to him – said it was difficult to shoot and he thought about it for years afterwards.

Chunk performing the 'truffle shuffle'

"There was no direction. I don't take any credit for that, it was just Jeff. He had to stand on that stump and be ridiculed by his friends so he could come in the house, and he did it as best as that character could do it,” Mr Donner told Uproxx.

"So much humour comes from pain. Although, I'm sure he was too young to be analytical about it, but I'm sure that was part of his instincts. It was a painful scene."

The director, who said in the interview that working with the children was an extraordinary experience because of their ability to improvise, went on to help Jeff Cohen lose weight.

"I got him a gym and some instruction and someone to work with," he told Uproxx. "He lost lots of weight and built this great physique and became captain of his wrestling team in high school, captain of his football team, and president of his school class for two years in a row.

"I'm not saying I did it, but I know that when he started putting pride into his body and self a lot of things changed. I was probably closer to him."

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Mr Donner, who was not known as a director of child actors unlike Spielberg, talked in the interview about the experience of working with the "wonderful, unprogrammed minds" of the young cast.

He said it made shooting scenes difficult as cues weren't always remembered, and their loyalty to one another was both a joy and a challenge.

"They became the Goonies who loved each other and hated each other. If you came in the morning and hugged one and didn't hug the other, they would grump you all day. If you yelled, one of the others would cry."

Since The Goonies first came out in 1985 it has developed a cult following, with fans often speculative of a sequel.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Richard Donner said he was planning an "immersive theatre" adaptation in a warehouse for fans of the adventure-comedy.

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