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SYFY WIRE Joel Schumacher

'His mark will stand the test of time': Cast of The Lost Boys remembers Joel Schumacher

By Josh Weiss
The Lost Boys

Director Joel Schumacher passed away yesterday at the age of 80, but the filmmaker's inimitable legacy lives on through his iconic movies like 1987's The Lost Boys.

Mixing a vampire horror story with the coming-of-age drama format that was so popular in the '80s (a genre that Schumacher had traversed in St. Elmo's Fire two years earlier), the film became a massive cultural touchstone. It also happened to feature a slew of up-and-coming actors (Kiefer Sutherland, Alex Winter, Jami Gertz, and Corey Feldman to name a few) who would go on to become major Hollywood stars. By that time, though, Feldman had already appeared in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter and The Goonies.

"Joel was a genius visionary that I had the great pleasure of creating Edgar Frog for," Feldman exclusively tells SYFY WIRE, referencing his character in The Lost Boys. "It was his vision of a badass teen vampire hunter, which quickly became my most memorable franchised character out of all that I have portrayed. Joel saw so much potential in me as an actor, that he took the personal time to help guide me through the very tumultuous times I experienced on and off the set of The Lost Boys, as he was a sober person who could see the signs of the potential danger that lay ahead for both myself and [the late Corey Haim]."

Joel Schumacher

In a series of tweets posted yesterday, the actor recounted how Schumacher helped him avoid drug abuse during principal photography. 

"He specifically tried to help me a few times and he also remained a friend and supporter through the years," Feldman tells us. "The last time we saw each other was in Spain at the Sitges film festival, where I presented him an award for his new film at the time, Phantom of the Opera. However we spoke from time to time, right up until the premiere of My Truth."

Unfortunately, Schumacher and Richard Donner (who directed Feldman in Goonies) were not able to attend the documentary's premiere, as concern over the growing pandemic began to escalate.

"Sadly, I never got to see [Joel] again or hear his thoughts on the film," the actor says. "From his work on The Wiz, to his original legacy material like Flatliners, Phone Booth, and Lost Boys, to his take on great establishments like Batman, and Phantom, he was always bringing his own twist and creative vision and style to everything he touched. His mark will stand the test of time as one of the leading culture shapers of cinema."

SYFY WIRE was also able to get in touch with Tim Cappello, the man who played the famous, oiled-up saxophone player featured during The Lost Boys' "I Still Believe" scene on the Santa Cruz boardwalk. While Cappello admits that his interactions with Schumacher "weren't too extensive," the few encounters he did have with the director left quite an impression of the young musician.

"He really just seemed like a regular guy who would steer the conversation into things that he knew I would be interested in," Cappello says, explaining how he gets a little anxious in the presence of famous people. "He just made me feel so comfortable and I’m not sure if that’s the way he was or he just sensed that in me ... I think that made a big difference in my performance because if I was scared, I would’ve choked."

While movie sets can get bogged down with lengthy setups and multiple takes, Cappello recalls that his sequence, which involved a lot of moving parts, was filmed in a take or two.

"I got the feeling that Joel, like a lot of jazz players, didn’t wanna lose the magic that can happen on a first take when you’re not really sure what you’re doing," he adds. "It brings out a lot of energy and that’s the way I felt about it. He really knew that and he could’ve had us going till sun-up, but he just didn’t ... I think he loved the spontaneity of music, that every time you play it, it’s gonna be different." 

He continues: "I always really had so much respect for him. I think he was really, really responsible for most of the music in The Lost Boys. You can listen to that album and you’re really listening to Joel’s taste in music."

Over the course of three decades, Cappello's performance has become iconic, with the musician constantly fielding requests to appear at cons and perform at clubs.

"That’s all Joel," he concludes. "I really owe so much to his cutting-edge sense of style that really hasn’t aged ... I’m sure he was involved so much in the look and the style and understanding young people and what would be really cutting edge for them. And his sense of humor, the film is so funny as well as being pretty frightening ... I don’t know how many times a film like that comes along and I do believe that it was just totally his vision into departments that usually aren’t the director’s vision."

On social media, Schumacher was remembered by both Sutherland and Alex Winter, who played David and Marko, respectively — two members of the vampire/biker gang in the movie.

"His joy, spirit, and talent will live on in my heart and memory for the rest of my life," wrote Sutherland. "Joel gave me opportunities and lifelong lessons, making films such as The Lost Boys, Flatliners, A Time to Kill, and Phone Booth. His mark on modern culture and film will live on forever. I will miss you, my friend."

"Joel was a creative genius; a master at clothing design, costuming, writing and of course directing," said Winter, who was one of the youngest people on The Lost Boys set. "Joel saw something in me as an actor I didn't see and gave me the confidence and space to pursue it. Unfairly savaged by critics his entire career, his great work will live on."