New Again: Martha Plimpton
‘80s teen movies get all the credit. Sure, there were some good ones—John Hughes if you must, but also the biting Heathers, wonderfully surrealist Better Off Dead, tender Say Anything, ridiculous Teen Wolf. But the teen movie was not the decade’s only blossoming youth-aimed genre; there was also the pre-teen, coming-of-age adventure film: Stand by Me, Explorers, and, of course, The Goonies.
Conceived by Steven Spielberg, written by Chris Columbus, and directed by Richard Donner, The Goonies followed a group of misfit kids on a treasure hunt: a loud-mouth, a fatty, a geek, a tomboy, a cool older-brother with a cute girlfriend, and a protagonist. The film was released in 1985 and, 30 years later, there are rumors of a sequel. According to TMZ, Donner and Spielberg are back on board with the hope that the original cast will join them. Things have changed a lot for the child stars of the film over the last three decades: Jeff Cohen, who played Chunk, is no longer so chunky, Josh Brolin is a later-in-life movie star, Sean Astin is a hobbit, and Corey Feldman is, well, around. One cast member we really hope returns, however, is Martha Plimpton (the tomboy).
In the second half of the ’80s, it seemed like Plimpton would be the most successful Goonies alum. The daughter of actors Keith Carradine and Shelley Plimpton, Martha first became famous through a series of Calvin Klein commercials. By the age of 18, she was starring in Oscar-nominated films like Running on Empty and dating promising young actor River Phoenix. Then, in the ’90s, something changed, and by the 2000s she was doing guest arcs on bad television shows like 7th Heaven. We first met Martha way back in November of 1984, when she was a 13-year-old model making the move into acting. —Emma Brown
Calvin Klein made Martha famous with her 20-second confession: “I’m very, very into winning. And if I don’t, I really hold a grudge.” A student at the Professional Children’s School in Manhattan, Martha Plimpton is one of that new breed of very sharp and sophisticated ladies conceived in the Me Decade. Martha’s stage debut at eight in the Joseph Papp production of The Haggaddah led to Broadway the following year in a second Liz Swados plays, Runaways. This fall, the 13-year-old will float upstream alongside Tommy Lee Jones in Paramount’s River Rat.
THIS ARTICLE INTIALLY APPEARED IN THE NOVEMBER 1984 ISSUE OF INTERVIEW.
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