Before Freddie, before Biggsy, and before Joshua Jackson with his Caesar-bowl restyling, another young actor’s face graced – or was rather, plastered – throughout every teenage periodical on earth. His name? Edward Furlong, or ‘Eddie’ as his friends and fans would become to know him, a pre-teen sensation that unintentionally bumped into fame as he stumbled into his local boy’s club.
The hardened, seditious young lad was spotted by casting director Mali Finn, then casting the multi-million dollar blockbuster “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”, and before he could request a bigger trailer than its star – was signing a deal to play the film’s teenage hero, John Connor.
“I fell into [acting], it wasn’t something that I planned”, says the very-friendly and irrefutably talented actor, on the line from Los Angeles. “It was my first movie, and I was only like thirteen when I was cast in that, so didn’t think too much about what I wanted to do. Like any other kid though, I loved movies though”.
Finn’s gamble on Furlong took his life to a whole new level. “That movie changed my life. It was such a huge experience. It’s [still] a highlight in many, many ways”.
For Furlong, whose acting experience to date had pretty much consisted of carrying a box on stage for a school play; it was quite a surreal experience. Impecunious street-kid one day, well-paid movie star the next. “It was pretty wild man, and I just went along for the ride. The best way to handle it for me was just realizing how much I loved to act, despite all the bullshit that goes on in Hollywood – it’s such a great job dude, I get to play make believe all day”.
Furlong, whose father walked out on the family when he was young, followed his role in “Terminator 2” (1991) with starring roles in the likes of “A Home of Our Own”, “Pet Sematary Two” and “Brainscan”.
Though Furlong has been in solid work all these years, he’s no longer a fixture of the teenage magazines he once ruled. He’s had a troubled few years on a personal level – his rocky home life has been reported widely, and his party boy lifestyle was always under the spotlight – and that hasn’t helped work wise. Unfortunately, his grand performances in films like “Pecker” and “American History X” have seemingly been overshadowed by the media’s interest in his off-screen life.
Then, the real kick in the teeth. He may have already reprised the role of John Connor (from “Terminator 2”) once already (for the theme ride at Universal studios – “Where there’s that guy that plays me…running around mouthing my voice”), but when the studio announced it would be doing “Terminator 3”, Furlong’s name was nowhere to be seen on the call-sheet. Rumour has it that the filmmakers didn’t want to have to just cross their fingers every morning hoping Furlong was sober enough to work, so they recast the part with Nick Stahl. “I don’t know [what happened”], says Furlong. “It just wasn’t the time. I was going through my own thing at the point in my life – whatever, it just wasn’t meant to be”.
Furlong says he didn’t end up seeing “Terminator 3”. “I didn’t see it, but I heard it wasn’t very good”, he says.
Furlong says he’s lucky that despite some hard times he’s been able to stay in the game. “I guess even through its ups and downs I’ve been able to stay working – which rarely happens”.
Furlong says he remembers when he first got into the business meeting a lot of the other young actors that use to be up for the same roles he was and he’s been able to stay in the game, when they haven’t been able to. “There was a lot of kids that were like working then, and I just don’t see them anymore. I just stayed in there. Tried my best. As life happens, as I grew, I just started doing more adult roles”.
If there’s one role that might be seen as a comeback for Edward Furlong, it’s the role of the title character in “The Crow: Wicked Prayer”, the third sequel to the comic book inspired comic classic of the 90’s.
Furlong said he jumped at the chance to play the film’s anti-hero. “First and foremost, it was the Crow. Then it was like rock and roll, dress like Goth, and wear leather pants. And I get to fucking run around and kick peoples ass”.
The young actor, 27, says he became quite immersed in the character. “Eventually, when I was having conversations with the director, Lance Mungia, I just got more into the character. He wrote, but we kinda just developed together. It was a superhero, which I’ve never gotten to play. There’s a lot of dynamic to this one – you see him before he dies, which you didn’t see in the other ones”, he says, adding another motivation. “Plus, I’ve got to pay the rent”.
Furlong says he watched the first three “Crow” films prior to filming. “I sat down with the producer and we watched all three of them. Of course, the first one I think is the best – but it was interesting to watch them play. I feel like I did something different with The Crow – I wanted it to be like I was fucking pissed off that I was bought back from the dead, a real anti-hero. I think I put a little twist on it”.
Among his co-stars in the film, another young actor who’s been in the spotlight, former “Buffy” and “Angel” star David Boreanaz. “Boreanaz is great dude. Awesome. We had a real good chemistry. He’s very cool, down to earth, funny…I never really saw Angel so I didn’t really know him too well….I did see him in one movie, a really bad movie…but he’s an amazing actor man”.
Furlong is a little bummed that “The Crow : Wicked Prayer” isn’t getting a theatrical release – as originally intended – but feels people will still discover it. “I feel through word of mouth people will find it. There’s a huge base for Crow fans. Just from what I’ve seen on the Internet, people are really excited about it. Personally, I say it’s the best one since the first one”.
Furlong says he was set to do a new vampire movie called “Kiss of the Sun” but has since dropped out. Never the less, he’s still got a few movies in the can awaiting release, including “Cruel World”, a horror film that takes the Mickey out of reality television. “It’s a horror movie, but it’s pretty funny. It pokes fun at all the reality TV shit that’s going on. I just get to run around and kill like hot girls and shit. It’s kind of like a Fear Factor kind of thing – they think, but really I’m just killing them all off.
“I’ve got three movies coming out – I’ve got Cruel World, another movie called The Visitation, and, Jimmy and Judy. I’ve been pretty busy”.
It’s been an up-and-down journey for young Edward Furlong but with a Crow on his shoulder it may just be the time to fly again.
THE CROW WICKED PRAYER is released July 19
– CLINT MORRIS