If you’re a fan of teenage vampire flicks, you can’t get much better than The Lost Boys. Released in 1987, this era-defining horror sprang from an initially family oriented screenplay. But with the addition of the hottest upcoming teen stars courtesy of director Joel Schumacher, the film quickly metamorphized into the influential, ultra-cool vampire movie we know and love today. More than 30 years on, The Lost Boys proves how a great cast can turn a production into a classic. But what became of the movie’s biggest stars? Well, let’s find out.
12. Alex Winter as Marko
Although he had quit acting by age 17, former child star Alex Winter returned to the screen via The Lost Boys’ magnificently mulleted Marko. Yet despite taking a break from film school for the gig, Winter wasn’t convinced the film would be a hit. He explained in the 2019 documentary In Search of Darkness, “It was impossible to see it working. I was like, ‘[This is] not going to work in spades.’”
Of course, Winter’s initial impression would be proved wrong. The Lost Boys instead became a huge success. And two years later, the star returned to acting once again in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. With Winters cast as co-lead opposite Keanu Reeves, the film became a classic in its own right – spawning two sequels and a bodacious new form of teen slang.
In spite of these successes, Winter became burned out by stardom and eventually took a more permanent break from acting. So what did he do instead? The multi-talented individual began directing and has since made documentaries on subjects like file sharing, tax havens and children in Hollywood. That being said, Winter’s return in 2020’s Bill & Ted Face the Music proves the acting bug is still in him.
11. Billy Wirth as Dwayne
Schumacher knew he needed someone with the right amount of sex appeal to play the strong and brooding vampire Dwayne. And the director found that in abundance with former model Billy Wirth. The filmmaker told Empire in April 2020, “I thought, ‘I’m gonna put him in a motorcycle jacket with no shirt on, and he is gonna be a fabulous Lost Boy.’”
Yet Wirth would prove himself to be more than just eye candy in the years after The Lost Boys’ release. The Brown University graduate would develop an incredibly diverse resume that now includes work as an artist, filmmaker and musician. And he even had a stint on American Gladiators in 1989.
Like his co-star Winter, Wirth has also been active in the production side of filmmaking – having made his own flick MacArthur Park in 2001. For all his accomplishments, though, the actor’s experience on The Lost Boys remains hard to beat. He recalled to CherryLosAngeles in 2017, “We really did sleep all day, party all night. [It was] a fun time.”
10. Jason Patric as Michael Emerson
Jason Patric was born into a family of actors, and he already had clear credentials in showbiz. At the time of The Lost Boys’ filming, though, the son of Jason Miller and grandson of Jackie Gleason had only one other theatrically released movie under his belt. But did Patric’s relative inexperience stop him putting in an effective performance as the film’s central character Michael? Absolutely not, as it turns out.
Patric had been initially resistant to The Lost Boys owing to a distaste for vampire films. So he stuck almost exclusively to drama in the following years. Some of his later work, for example, includes films like Sleepers and Narc. The actor also starred in the 1997 blockbuster Speed 2: Cruise Control. But it’s fair to say that his performance wasn’t received well, and he earned a Razzie nomination for Worst Actor.
But Patric’s most dramatic role would actually occur off-screen. In 1991 the actor prompted a celebrity scandal when he stole his friend and co-star Kiefer Sutherland’s fiancé Julia Roberts days before their wedding. In the end, Patric and Roberts’ relationship lasted one year while his friendship with Sutherland – who he acted onstage with in 2012 – appears to have been salvaged.
9. Jami Gertz as Star
As the pack’s only female member, Jami Gertz’ Star was essential in recruiting Patric’s Michael into The Lost Boys. And fittingly, the actors had a similar influence on each other before filming began. In real life, though, their roles were reversed. Patric and Gertz had worked together previously, and it was he who encouraged his co-star to audition for the film.
Schumacher was similarly wowed by Gertz’ presence and even altered his initial ideas for the character to fit the actress’ look. But despite shining in The Lost Boys as well as subsequent films like Twister, Gertz would soon step back from the movie business. In fact, she would start playing in a completely different court altogether.
So what did Gertz end up doing after leaving the acting world? In 2015 she and her husband purchased NBA team the Atlanta Hawks, and the star now serves as the team’s media ambassador. If you’re thinking that this is an unusual career change then don’t worry, you aren’t the only one. Gertz joked to The Hollywood Reporter in 2018, “It’s not your everyday Hollywood actress tale.”
8. Brooke McCarter as Paul
Dubbed the “Twisted Sister” on-screen, the blonde-maned Paul was one of The Lost Boys‘ more frightening members. But the actor Brooke McCarter just wasn’t terrifying enough for Schumacher. And he actually slapped the star in order to get a menacing performance out of him during a pivotal scene. Schumacher confessed to Empire, “It’s outrageous – he should have reported me…”
McCarter didn’t end up pressing charges against Schumacher. But he didn’t pursue his acting dreams any further following The Lost Boys either. Instead, after a handful of later roles, the actor focussed on composing, music production and filmmaking. And he even tried his hand at management – overseeing his Lost Boy co-star Corey Haim’s career in the subsequent decade.
McCarter ultimately left Hollywood for Tampa, Florida, where he found a job in telecommunications. Though between his work and his role as a single parent, the former actor still found time to appear at conventions. And here, his approachable nature made him a favorite with fans. McCarter later sadly passed away at the age of 52 in 2015 from a liver condition.
7. Edward Hermann as Max
As you may know, the Lost Boys were all locked in the embrace of youth. But their ringleader had a much older facade. Spoiler alert: in a surprise twist, it’s revealed that Max – the nebbish video shop owner with an interest in dating Michael’s mom – is really the head vampire. Nevertheless, his reign is abruptly brought to an end with – what else? – a stake through the heart.
Before his stint playing Max, Edward Hermann was primarily known for portraying real-life figures like Franklin D. Roosevelt on TV. And he apparently leapt at the chance to portray something altogether different in The Lost Boys. The actor admitted in 2004’s The Lost Boys: A Retrospective, “I was approached with the script and I read it and thought it was great. You know, anything to get out of a suit and stop playing historical characters.”
Following The Lost Boys, Hermann would continue acting to great acclaim in film and TV. For instance, the star won an Emmy for a 1999 part in The Practice. And he endeared himself to many through his role as Richard Gilmore in The Gilmore Girls. But he sadly passed away from brain cancer in 2014 at the age of 71.
6. Jamison Newlander as Alan Frog
Alongside his brother Edgar, Alan was one of the only crusaders in Santa Carla fighting against the undead swarm. But did you know that his part was originally written as an eight-year-old? Apparently, the actor’s age of 17 ended up fitting more appropriately with The Lost Boys’ R-rated content once the movie had changed direction.
Newlander had originally dreamed of becoming a doctor, and he actually took up acting in order to pay for his tuition fees. During this time, Schumacher gave a talk at his acting class, and this would serve the young star in good stead when he auditioned for The Lost Boys. Following his role as Frog, Newlander made another major screen appearance with 1988’s The Blob.
Newlander got more serious about acting over the following years. In fact, he even went so far as to earn a bachelor’s in the subject from New York University. From there, he transitioned into writing and directing roles and even created the online user-created soap opera WikisoapTM. Eventually, Newlander would reunite with his on-screen brother Corey Feldman in 2010’s Lost Boys: The Thirst, which would see Frog join the hordes of the dead.
5. Barnard Hughes as Grandpa
Barnard Hughes made his acting debut in 1935 – making him undoubtedly The Lost Boys’ most distinguished cast member. Perhaps that’s why the actor – in character as the Emerson brothers’ root beer-loving grandpa – got to say the film’s ice cool closing line. He quips in the movie, “One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach: all the damn vampires.”
But Hughes’ vast career wasn’t just defined by The Lost Boys. Prior to his casting, the star was an incredibly hardworking actor whose resume would grow to rival War and Peace in length. Yes, it’s estimated that Hughes appeared in 400 film, television and stage productions throughout his life. And he also won both a Tony and an Emmy over that time.
So where else have we seen Hughes demonstrating his talent? Well, the actor was most recognizable for films such as Midnight Cowboy and Tron prior to his theater work. Already 72 by The Lost Boys’ release, the actor would continue to appear in productions such as Sister Act 2 and the TV series Blossom after the movie’s success. He subsequently passed away in 2006 aged 90.
4. Dianne Wiest as Lucy Emerson
Every director makes their own fantasy cast list for a movie. And Schumacher was dead set on getting Dianne Wiest in The Lost Boys. At the time, the actress had earned an Oscar for her role in Hannah and Her Sisters the previous year. So Schumacher assumed a vampire film wouldn’t appeal to her tastes.
Much to the filmmaker’s surprise, though, Wiest was receptive to the idea. And soon enough, Schumacher’s “pipe dream” became a reality when the thespian signed up for the role of the Emerson boys’ mom Lucy. The director admitted on The Lost Boys: A Retrospective, “I couldn’t believe [it] when she said ‘yes.’ [Wiest] is one of my favorite actresses.”
But The Lost Boys wouldn’t be Wiest’s only dalliance with the fantasy genre. Three years later, in fact, the actress would star in Edward Scissorhands, in which she plays a housewife who discovers a robotic man living near her neighborhood. Still, Wiest would primarily stick to prestige pics and would win yet another Academy Award with 1994’s Bullets Over Broadway.
3. Corey Haim as Sam Emerson
Corey Haim was a relative newcomer to the screen in 1987. Though he did have a handful of roles under his belt before auditioning for The Lost Boys. And yet, despite the actor’s experience, Schumacher knew almost immediately that he’d met his co-lead Sam Emerson. According to Haim, the filmmaker even called him by his character’s name upon their first meeting.
While shooting The Lost Boys, Haim met Corey Feldman. And afterwards, the pair – known affectionately as “the two Coreys” – went on to have a friendship and successful screen partnership. Feldman recalled to PR.com in 2008, “Whether it be coincidence or some master plan from the studio system, we ended up doing three films back to back.”
Alas, the duo’s popularity would wane in the following decade. And aside from his A&E documentary The Two Coreys, Haim would work mainly outside the mainstream with roles in bargain bin B-movies. But Haim unfortunately struggled with addiction issues, and he died at the age of 38 in 2010.
2. Kiefer Sutherland as David
As the son of Hollywood legend Donald Sutherland, Kiefer Sutherland had plenty of inroads into the world of acting. In fact, the performer made his first screen appearance alongside his father in 1983’s Max Dugan Returns. And yet roles like the intimidating Ace in Stand by Me would see Sutherland begin to forge a distinctive career in his own right.
Sutherland soon made an even more menacing impression in The Lost Boys as vampire ringleader David. Inspired by rocker Billy Idol, the actor’s on-screen look lent an iconic physicality to the role which was equal parts cool and creepy. Schumacher explained on The Lost Boys: An Introspective, “[Sutherland] has the least amount of dialogue of anyone in the movie, but his presence is extraordinary.”
Sutherland’s presence shone through in subsequent movies like Young Guns, A Few Good Men and Dark City. He also made four more films with Schumacher – including 1990’s Flatliners. But while Sutherland spent the following decade immersed in moviemaking, it would take a role on television to truly make him a star.
Debuting on Fox in 2001, 24 was a game-changer for Sutherland. The actor became beloved by millions as the hard-edged government agent Jack Bauer. He also racked up countless Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations in the process. And it gets better: his frequent on-screen use of the phrase “Damn it!” even inspired a drinking game.
Since 24’s final episode in 2014, Sutherland has remained a mainstay of TV in shows like Designated Survivor and The Fugitive. But what you may not know is that Sutherland has actually rebranded himself as a country music singer. In fact, he even has two albums already under his belt. We wonder what a character as rock and roll as David would think about such a career change.
1. Corey Feldman as Edgar Frog
Corey Feldman was apparently pushed into acting by his parents. Yes, believe it or not, he started working in the industry at the tender age of three. Yet it wasn’t until his teen years that the child star really made a name for himself with hits like Gremlins, Stand by Me and The Goonies. Crucially, it was his work in the latter film that would lead to his casting in The Lost Boys.
Feldman had a meeting with Schumacher through the suggestion of The Goonies’ director Richard Donner. And the young actor subsequently walked away with the character of gung-ho vampire killer Edgar Frog. As fans of the flick will know, Feldmen delved into the role at full throttle. In order to get into character as the merciless mini-Van Helsing, Feldman spent hours watching action movies starring Hollywood tough guys like Sylvester Stallone.
Feldman clearly has fond memories of working on The Lost Boys, but the production wasn’t without its downsides. Specifically, the then-14-year-old actor was routinely using drugs at this point. And his on-set intoxication forced Schumacher to step in with some stern advice. Following the filmmaker’s 2020 death, Feldman explained on Twitter, “He tried to prevent my descent.”
Sadly, Feldman’s vices would hurt his film career during adulthood. In recent times, the actor is perhaps better known for his bizarre rebranding as a pop star and for an infamously strange 2017 performance on The Today Show than his acting. More alarmingly, his repeated claims that he was abused as a child by older Hollywood figures have made countless headlines.
To this day, Feldman continues to look back at his time on the vampire flick with mixed feelings. And though its production coincided with a difficult time in his life, the actor remains proud of what he accomplished on-screen. He revealed on The Lost Boys: An Introspective, “Just because I had a hard time getting through it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t worth it.”