Caffeinated Clint Greats : Interview Series


What is Caffeinated Clint’s Greats?
I’ve had plenty of emails from you guys asking such questions as “Who were your favourite actors growing up?”, “Do you have a favourite movie?”, “You’re producing films now, any particular film that inspired you to take that road?” and “Hey man, Got Kristen Stewart’s phone number?”, and it gave my an idea – why not profile some of my favourite films? (It saves me from flaming a pimply, unintelligent publicist or another fresh-from-junior-high exec over some harebrained remake he’s just greenlit for a couple of weeks, after all) and in doing so, why not make contact with some of the people from these films?

Today’s Favourite Film Profiled :

Title : The Lost Boys
Year : 1987
Director : Joel Schumacher
Starring : Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Dianne Wiest, Edward Herrman, Jami Gertz, Jamison Newlander, Barnard Hughes, Alex Winter, Billy Wirth

I fuckin’ love “The Lost Boys”. I know it’s got it’s fair share of haters, and to an extent, I understand that – it ain’t exactly “Nosferatu”. But what I think the film’s detesters have overlooked is that Joel Schumacher’s 1987 hit isn’t a dyed-to-the-wool vampire flick that’s meant to be taken as seriously as say, well, the other vampire flick released that same year, Kathryn Bigelow’s “Near Dark”, but more so just a piece of big, fun fluffy entertainment. Some people just like their vampire flicks with a bit more bite and a bit less laughs, I guess. Having said that, “Lost Boys” is definitely no cheap ‘n’ tasty satire – it’s bloody frightening at times, and more so, features terrific performances from it’s cast (Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, the Corey’s, Dianne Wiest, Edward Herrman, Barnard Hughes, Jami Gertz, Jamison Newlander) and some laudable creature make-up.

I saw “The Lost Boys” about three weeks into it’s release, sometime in 1987. It was the first film in a double feature with Warner’s other big release of the month, “Police Academy 5 : Assignment Miami Beach”. You can probably assume the better film. “Lost Boys” had me by the scruff from the get-go – the music (wow, did I love that soundtrack!), the lavish production design (If he weren’t a filmmaker, Schumacher would likely be a contractor for an interior design business)….the ‘Frog Brothers’!

”We trashed the one that looks like Twisted Sister”

I know Corey Feldman quite well. Would even consider him a friend. And we’ve talked to him plenty of times here with Corey about “The Lost Boys” (and his other many films), so I thought it might be nice to give Jamison Newlander – his on-screen brother; Alan Frog – a call to see what recalls about shooting about the ‘classic’.

Q&A with Jamison Newlander

Jamison Newlander’s acting career pretty much and started and ending with “The Lost Boys”. But as Newlander, now 40, tells me – he’s about to throw his jersey on and head back into the game, reprising a role he originated over 20 years ago.

Caffeinated Clint : What are your memories of working on the film? Fun shoot?

Jamison Newlander : It was a lot like Mr. Newlander goes to Hollywood. Unlike the Coreys and most of the other actors working on this movie, I was pretty much a regular kid who got into acting and decided I liked it and could do it pretty well. So, Lost Boys was this incredible world of fun for me. The vampires were the older crowd who got into all kinds of trouble. Me and the two Coreys tried to get into some trouble, but we were really not quite cool enough. Although I do remember sneaking into the hotel pool in Santa Cruz and feeling like a bad kid – but I wasn’t really. Not compared to the guys who played the vampires who really did party all night after the shoot wrapped. It’s also easy to look back at stuff and think of it through the lens of it being Lost Boys. But at the time, it was really just this cool movie. We didn’t know it was going to be so big. It was just a good time and a fun role to play.

Caffeinated Clint : Cool. And I imagine you and Feldman became close buddies?

Jamison Newlander : Yeah, Feldman and I got really close during the shoot and then for the next year or so. We both were turning the corner on being real teenagers, learning how to hang with girls and stuff – in fact, I think we were hanging out a bunch when we had our first real girlfriends. It was a really special time in my life, and Feldman and Haim were both good friends. We drifted not too long after – and didn’t end up seeing each other much again until years later, but that time is a great part of my memories.

Caffeinated Clint : Richard Donner, one of my all-time favourite filmmakers, was the producer. Did you work with him much? Get to know him?

Jamison Newlander : Actually, Richard Donner was Exec. Producer on the first Lost Boys. He was already close with Feldman and Haim. I was not as close with him and I didn’t interact much with him, though he did let us shower in his office after shooting some of the really messy slime scenes toward the end of the movie. Joel Schumacher as a director on the other hand was very much like a – well, maybe like an older brother figure. He had a really strong vision for what he wanted and was relentless in making sure he got it – but also really appreciative and lavished tremendous praise on us when we were able to nail it the way he saw it. He was very kind and nurturing to me. He knew that I was different from the others as a relative newbie to the industry. And he was protective of me and my experience on the shoot. He also was very sweet to my girlfriend who came to the set to visit one day. As it turned out, an announcement had been made that we weren’t supposed to have girlfriends come to the set because it was getting to distracting. But, he realized that I didn’t get the message and when she showed up, he took her under his wing and let her watch the action from his director’s chair for a lot of the shots.

Caffeinated Clint : Now you kinda disappeared after the film came out – – I presume it wasn’t because nobody wanted to hire you, but because you opted for a different career path?

Jamison Newlander : Well, it was a combination. I actually auditioned for a lot of other projects after Lost Boys and for a while it I was ever so close to getting another big one. But, alas, nothing panned out for me at that time. It’s funny how people hear lots of stories from the perspective of people who made it. How they struggled to get another big project, and they did and that ended up catapulting them to bigger fame and fortune and yadda yadda yadda. You don’t hear that much about the guys like me who were so close – so very close – but didn’t quite get there. I could list four or five films or TV shows that — if I had been the 1st choice rather than the 2nd choice, things would have turned out pretty differently for me. But, that’s “show biz” as they say. The other part of it was that Lost Boys was not all that big in the theaters. It opened decently, but it wasn’t one of those movies that made a ton of money at the box office. It was just one of those things where the timing was not quite right – it was competing against a couple other key movies that summer. It was on video that it really hit its stride. The problem was that I was 17 by the time it came out and the next year I was college bound. I went to New York, studied theater at New York University and had a decent theater career after that. But the film side of my career lost stride. And I ended up one of the lost boys of Lost Boys.

Caffeinated Clint : “Lost Boys 2”. Was it exciting get that call? And how disappointing was it for you when you heard you’d been cut from the film?

Jamison Newlander : Lost Boys 2 was complicated.

Caffeinated Clint : How so?

Jamison Newlander : At that time I was back in touch with Feldman and his manager Scott Carlson, and I would hear updates from them on the status of the project. For the longest time, Corey was fighting the good fight – doing his best to help nurture the movie and help to make a place for me in it. Feldman has traditionally been a strong advocate for me – even back to the casting sessions with Schumacher on the first movie (but that’s a story for another day). First of all, I was just happy that the movie was going forward. My role in it was pretty small to begin with, but I was thrilled to be back on set in that role and seeing the franchise have some new life. It wasn’t a total surprise for me that the scene was cut, though. I think they really wanted me in it, but ultimately the scene itself just didn’t necessarily fit with the rest of the movie, I think. So, while I was bummed not to be in it, I completely understood. It also gave us a little more freedom with the character’s return in 3.

Caffeinated Clint : So tell me a bit about it – “Lost Boys 3”

Jamison Newlander : Fun is an understatement. It was a blast. Back, side by side with Feldman – plus a bunch of cool added twists to the character since the last time we saw him in Lost Boys 1 – such fun. Not necessarily easy to snap back into character, I’ll admit. My “snear” was a bit rusty when I first started reading the dialogue out loud. Not only did I have to reach back to the teenager I was and channel the same kind of adolescent bravado that I think made Alan Frog the guy he was then. But there’s also the factor that the character himself had been living his own life for all that time. Feldman and I talked a lot about it – because he had done a lot of this work getting ready for the second movie. He said, “Think about what kind of adult Alan has become.” He was right. I couldn’t just make him frozen in time. He’s been through a lot. How has it changed him? How can I keep the same edge that made the fans like him to begin with – but also bring to him what I understood about life post teenage years?

Caffeinated Clint : I don’t know if it’s a touchy subject or not, because it’s so fresh, but what are your memories of the late Corey Haim?

Jamison Newlander : For all of the controversial press on Corey Haim, the thing that I always felt about him was that he was a really good guy. He had a lot of love and friendship to give. Always had a kind word to say when he saw me. The thing that often happens with people who are really open and loving in that way is that they’re also really sensitive. It’s part of what made him such a good actor. I could see that he struggled with a lot of things emotionally. But it always felt to me like his passion for acting and the strength of his character would win out – and I’m so sad that he just didn’t have the time for that. I think my fondest memory of the Haimster was back in the summer of ’86 when we were shooting Lost Boys. It was on one of our days off and we decided we were going to ride our bikes from my house to the beach – which was a pretty long way. And we just spent the whole day riding through West LA, getting lost, and finally meandering our way west. We had to call our parents to pick us up because it took us way longer than we thought it would to get there. One of the reasons I remember that was because I felt I was able to share with him a little bit of what I was lucky enough to have – some time as just a normal kid. Once he came to Hollywood, I think he lost a lot of that, as a lot of kids do who make it big in show business. I wish I had seen him more in the last year he was alive. But who knew it was his last year.

Read previous CAFFEINATED CLINT Greats interviews :

“Gremlins” with director Joe Dante

“Can’t Buy Me Love” with director Steve Rash

“Fright Night” with actor Chris Sarandon

“Tron” with actress Cindy Morgan

“Major League” with writer/director David S.Ward

“Twin Peaks : Fire Walk With Me” with writer Bob Engels

“The Hidden” with director Jack Sholder

“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” with actor Robert Romanus

“Young Guns” with actor Casey Siemaszko

“Superman” with actor Marc McClure

“Footloose” with actress Lori Singer

“St. Elmo’s Fire” with writer Carl Kurlander

“Office Space” with actor Gary Cole

“That Thing You Do!” with actor Johnathon Schaech

“Near Dark” with writer Eric Red