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Corey Feldman: The lost boy finds his way

July 03, 2009|Nicholas White

Corey Feldman knows what you are probably thinking.

"There's a cynicism that goes along with my name," Feldman, who'll be 38 this month, said. "I have been vastly misrepresented by the press, media, bloggers, pessimists and naysayers, and it hurts. I spend 80% of my time doing charity work. . . . It deeply saddens me every time I hear somebody quickly . . . discarding me as some crazy drug addict or loser, or washed up. I was called 'washed up' when I was 20 years old."

The 1980s movie icon -- Mouth of "The Goonies," Teddy of "Stand by Me," Pete of "Gremlins" -- wants you to know he really is a good guy.

Since last summer's second season of the A&E reality show "The Two Coreys" and last July's long-awaited (but direct-to-DVD) feature "Lost Boys: The Tribe," Feldman has kept largely quiet. But lately, he has been talking up his Pink Floyd-esque band Truth Movement and its goal of making concerts environmentally friendly. In addition, he says a "Lost Boys 3" is in the works and a sequel to the beloved "Goonies" is not entirely out of the picture.

"My job, it seems, in life is to educate the world that, 'Hey that was just the beginning of my life, I'm still very young and have a long way to go.' "

But sometimes it seems letting go of the past is the hardest part of going forward. Two days before Feldman's first concert on his band's "Off the Grid" tour at Universal CityWalk, Michael Jackson died.

Feldman, who famously befriended the pop singer during his own teen years, went into a painful self-reflective mode. Although Jackson and Feldman were close at one time -- and Feldman said he remains friendly with the Jackson family -- they had a public falling out in 2001. Then, amid the singer's felony child abuse charges, Feldman publicly stated in 2005 that their relationship may have been inappropriate.

Since Jackson's death, though, Feldman has been calling him a "role model" and "dear friend."

"It makes you realize that you really have everything you value in life, and every moment and breath," Feldman said of Jackson's death. "I really learned it's a bad idea to let unfinished things go unfinished.

"It's nice to have closure," he continued. "It's unfortunate to me that I will never have that closure. But there is also a part of me that says I do, because of the reconciliation with the family and friendship there."

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The domestic scene

In person and at his West Hills home, Feldman is endlessly accommodating. Offering a Snapple from his refrigerator, he is the opposite of his bratty and rambunctious kid character persona.

The walls of his house are layered in reminders of his past: framed posters of "Stand by Me," "Lost Boys" and "License to Drive," a colorful painting of his long-haired, late-'80s likeness.

Other big-kid memorabilia are scattered throughout: a '90s-era Street Fighter II arcade game, a Wurlitzer piano. A digital photo frame shows Feldman with Susie, his second wife (whom he married on "The Surreal Life" in 2002), and his estranged best friend and longtime costar, Corey Haim (with whom he says he recently broke a yearlong silence).

"I'm a big believer in energy," Feldman said, pulling back his freshly dyed, rock-'n'-roll-style black hair. He is skinny, proclaiming to not eat meat or drink alcohol, and boasting of converting Susie to vegetarianism. Their 4-year-old son, Zen, has lived without meat "from conception," he said.

Feldman's eco-themed band, Truth Movement, ties directly into his beliefs. When the group -- backed by Scott Page, who played saxophone for Pink Floyd in the '80s -- played CityWalk, Feldman billed the show as a first-of-its-kind in taking live music "off the grid": It used an on-site bio-diesel generator, sitting to the left of the stage, for power.

Truth Movement's "Technology Analogy" album, which came out in 2008, is likewise ambitious and ecologically inspired. "It's a concept album and tells a story. I wrote the thing over three months," said Feldman, who commissioned "Dark Side of the Moon" artist Storm Thorgerson to do the art. "It's about technology and where was it derived, and where it leads us. Ultimately, will it lead us to our demise or bring us closer together?"

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Then and now

Though Feldman is passionate about activism and music, acting has been his bread and butter. His career is top-heavy with huge films as a kid and a long tail of small, independent films as an adult. The split created an almost obsessive need for Feldman to vindicate himself.

"The films I did as a child were tremendously successful," he said. "There was a lot to live up to. I've always had that against me."

Coinciding with Feldman's battle with drugs (he says he is almost two decades sober) was a series of rejections; he went from "License to Drive" and "Dream a Little Dream" to "Meatballs 4" and "Round Trip to Heaven."

In 2004, Feldman lent his voice to a Disney Channel cartoon, "Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!," which he credited for helping to reestablish mainstream credibility Now, there is talk of a new sequel for "The Lost Boys" and further off, "Goonies."

But for now, he'll have to be content with a different kind of "Goonies" nostalgia. Earlier this year, Feldman posed with costars Josh Brolin, Martha Plimpton, Ke Huy Quan and Jeff Cohen for the April issue of Britain's Empire magazine, guest-edited by "Goonies" creator Steven Spielberg.

"I hadn't seen Steven since 1984," Feldman says. "The amazing thing about that whole group of people is you walk into the room, and you immediately feel comfortable. We become 12, 13 or 14 years old again, picking up those old habits and teasing each other.

"You can't take those times back, but at the same time you can never erase them from your memory. You don't really want to."

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