Director Richard Donner says the popular scene's humour comes from its innate pain
Richard Donner, director of classic 80s movie The Goonies, has described shooting the film’s ever popular ‘truffle shuffle’ scene as “painful”.
In the memorable scene, Jeff Cohen’s character Lawrence “Chunk” Cohen is told he can’t come back into the house until he performs the “truffle shuffle”, a dance movie which plays on his overweight physique.
Recalling how he shot the scene as The Goonies celebrates its 30th birthday, Donner told Uproxx: “There was no direction. I don’t take any credit for that, it was just Jeff. He had to stand on that stump and be ridiculed by his friends so he could come in the house, and he did it as best as that character could do it.”
“So much humour comes from pain,” Donner contined. “Although, I’m sure he was too young to be analytical about it, but I’m sure that was part of his instincts. It was a painful scene.”
Continuing, Donner recalled that shooting the scene had a long-term effect on him, and ultimately inspired him and his wife, film producer Lauren Schuler Dooner, to help the young actor to improve his fitness.
“I got him a gym and some instruction and someone to work with,” Donner explained. “He lost lots of weight and built this great physique and became captain of his wrestling team in high school, captain of his football team, and president of his school class for two years in a row.”
“I’m not saying I did it, but I know that when he started putting pride into his body and self a lot of things changed. I was probably closer to him.”
Jeff Cohen now works off-screen in the business side of Hollywood, and recently published his book The Dealmaker’s Ten Commandments: Business Tips And Tactics From The Trenches of Hollywood.