Sunday, 14 March 2010

Death Of A Double Act

I have to confess, I never saw The Two Coreys (2007-2008) but out of all the celebrity deaths, Corey Haim’s is the only one to stir me enough into writing about it. He was an 80s legend, starring in one of my favourites as an adolescent, that over the years hasn’t lost any of its appeal.

After watching Lost Boys (1987) far too many times to mention and buying the cassette tape of the sound track, years later fondly reminiscing, nostalgic and perhaps, trying to rekindle my youth, I started trailing market stalls buying ex-rentals of some of his back catalogue – Lucas (1986), License to Drive (1988), Oh What a Night (1992) and Just One of The Girls (1993). Many of them are contained in those fabulously over-sized old skool video boxes and all of them have that cheesy 80s feel, even the two from the early 90s. Corey Haim will never be remembered for ground-breaking high-intellect genre-challenging art-house films but he had an endearing charm and energy about him, coupled with an acting friend conveniently also called Corey that made him legendary to 80s teens – after all, even The Thrills wrote a song about him years on in 2004 (“Whatever Happened to Corey Haim?”).

Corey squared starred in seven films together (Lost Boys, License to Drive, Busted, Dream a Little Dream 1 & 2, Blown Away and Lost Boys: The Tribe) and 19 episodes of The Two Coreys, following their adult lives living together. Haim struggled for years with drug addiction, culminating in the third series of The Two Coreys being cancelled after his substance abuse reportedly caused a rift between the life-long friends.

The child star was found dead on Wednesday (10th March) at his mother’s Californian home and died upon arrival at St Joseph’s hospital in Burbank shortly after 2 am, allegedly of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. His death is particularly tragic as not only was he nursing his cancer-stricken mother but had also three completed projects yet to be released, was in the process of filming and had a further five projects in the pipe-line all pre-production (although the fountain of all film knowledge that is IMDB, has since removed these 5 never-to-be-made Corey films from their listing). Anyone, as saddened by Corey’s demise as me, can faithfully trawl through the channel 5 listings in anticipation of Decisions that boasts the amazing tag line: “Sometimes the voice of reason comes in a gruff, dirty package.”

Sadly now we will never get to see the two Coreys reunited as had been planned. A devastated Feldman talking to U.S. talk show host Larry King revealed: "Just three weeks ago, I sat at his apartment with him. We started talking about wouldn't [it] be a great idea to have a third season [of] The Two Coreys? Not only were we negotiating [doing] a film together, but Corey had a concept to do License to Fly, which would have been a sequel to License to Drive. We actually had a series of meetings this week. Both of us would have been in it. He would have been one of the writers, I would have been one of the producers and we wanted to do a trilogy, which was all his concept - License to Fly and License to Dive. It was going to be caper movies."

In License to Drive, a teen decides to go for a night on the town with his friends despite flunking his driver's test. One can now only imagine what genius the two Corey’s would have created in their sequels over twenty years after the original. If they are still injected with that 80s magic then I can only hope their vision was something akin to a modern Ski School. Unfortunately, we will never know.

Times were a-changing for 38-year-old Haim, who with age lost the baby face and boyish charm, strangely resembling Billy Idol in this humble writer’s flawed opinion. His agent, Mark Heaslip, has disclosed he was signed up for movies opposite Mischa Barton (The Science of Cool) and alongside pop star-turned-actor Luke Goss (The Throwaways). Heaslip said: "He was starting to get movie after movie, starting to book up this whole year and he was excited. He actually had a chance to direct his first film this year."

Canadian-born Haim was optimistic about his future: "I want to be the guy they talk about when they talk about comebacks," he said three years ago. "I want people to learn from me, see I'm human, and understand that I make mistakes just like they do, but it doesn't have to consume you. You've got to walk through the raindrops, and that's totally what I am trying to do."

After 42 films, in death he has still managed to have the last laugh. Memories of his relationship with fellow teen-star, Drew Barrymore, are probably something distantly lingering in the back of your memory or at least sound plausible but fashionista twiglet, Victoria Beckham? Reading some of his obituaries, I discovered that the two were an item back in 1995 and Corey reputedly said that she was a bad kisser and bit his lips. Poor Victoria is even able to attract bad press from somebody’s grave.

Another week, another dead celebrity. Somebody ought to teach these guys how to read the instructions on prescriptions and that prescription drugs, when abused, can be as equally dangerous as the illegal kind - after all, enough talent has been lost to this reckless disregard, there has been enough family suffering caused by this faux pas and it has been publicised repeatedly in the press for people to take note.

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