Jeff Cohen thought of his dying mother making herself cry during his confession scene with the Fratellis
The Goonies came out 36 years ago, and today the film is considered a beloved classic. One of the reasons people still love him today is Chunk, the character played by Jeff Cohen. It turns out that Cohen, who was only 11 at the time, not only brought his acting skills to the role, but he also embellished it. Like a seasoned actor, he complemented the character with new techniques and well-placed ad-libs.
Jeff Cohen as Chunk
Play the role of Chunk in The Goonies was Cohen’s biggest role to date. People loved his portrayal of the goofy and generous member of the gang. But while many people are familiar with Chunk and his irresistible Truffle Shuffle, few realize how much the character’s personality was reinforced by Cohen.
According to IMDb, in the scene where he breaks down and reveals the group’s plan to the evil Fratelli family, the script is calling him to cry. To make it believable, he imagined his mother dying. It worked and brought tears to the table.
When Chunk runs for help and realizes he has pointed out Jake Fratelli, he expresses his fear by reciting a prayer in Hebrew, a touch that was improvised by Cohen.
It seems Cohen was natural for the role, and he knew it before anyone else. After being dumped, he caught chickenpox. Fearing to be replaced, he showed up for the shoot despite his illness.
Make Richard Donner laugh
If anyone recognized Cohen’s talent early on, it was director Richard Donner. According to Geek Tyrant, there was one scene in particular where Donner couldn’t hold back his laughter at Cohen’s antics.
The scene showed Chunk shoveling ice cream into his mouth, and the spoon was brutally removed from him. He started to cry and Donner couldn’t help but laugh. The take was used in the final movie, so if you listen carefully you can hear him laughing during the scene.
Sadly, Donner passed away a few months ago. But he remained a fan of Cohen, and would even help him a few years later, as he struggled.
What happened to Jeff Cohen after “The Goonies”?
After his big, decisive role as Chunk, Cohen continued to act for some time. But Best Life reports that once he hit puberty, he stopped getting roles. It was a painful transition for the young actor, and he struggled emotionally. Donner stepped in to help him get through this time, hiring him to work as a production assistant during the summer vacation.
Ultimately, working as an actor wasn’t in the cards for Cohen. But he didn’t want to leave Hollywood behind. After attending law school, he started his own law firm, working as an entertainment lawyer. He also published a book in 2015, titled The Ten Commandments of the Negotiator: Ten Essential Business Tools Forged in the Hollywood Trenches.
These days, the former actor’s net worth is estimated at $ 4 million. He seems to have built his fortune on his own, explaining that “The Goonies money does not allow you to quit your day job.
But even though he has built a new life for himself, Cohen hasn’t forgotten his greatest role. His company website even references his work as a child actor, and he mentions that he was best known for playing Chunk in The Goonies.
“He asks that you don’t blame him,” the website copy concludes.
As if his loyal fans could one day.
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