Hi, hi, hiya, campers.
It's been 20 years since "Heavyweights" gave us the best damn summer of our lives, and in that time a lot of things have changed. But perhaps nothing more than star Aaron Schwartz.
Not long after the movie, the actor, who played Gerry in the film and Karp in "The Mighty Ducks," actually left the entertainment industry for years. But now he's back, and as noted by various sources, the now 34-year-old looks pretty unrecognizable today. In fact, the actor even tells The Huffington Post he had to completely reintroduce himself to Jeffrey Tambor, his dad in "Heavyweights," after running into him in New York.
Actor Aaron Schwartz today. (Image: Imgur)
In honor of the "Heavyweights" anniversary, HuffPost caught up with Schwartz to talk about behind-the-scenes secrets from the movie and what he's up to today.
Why'd you want to step away from acting?
I did "Pete & Pete" after "Heavyweights." I was working since the time I was 10 until I was 16. It got to the point where I was like, "I need a break. I need to visit family out in Israel and relax," and it turned into 10 years [Laughs]. So when I got back into it, I did "Guiding Light," which was a soap opera just recently canceled. I did "Gossip Girl" for about 4 seasons. More recently, I’m going to be doing an indie film, a little sci-fi indie film that's in New Mexico.
Do people still recognize you from the movie?
You know what’s funny? Not usually. My girlfriend is also an actress, and she had a red carpet event, and the first time I was recognized in years was at this red carpet. Some guy was like, "Aaron Schwartz?" And I was like, "Whhaaat?" I was there to support my girlfriend, everybody is taking pictures of her, and I was like, "What the hell is going on?" And he goes, "Were you Karp in 'The Mighty Ducks'?'" My girlfriend was blown away. She was having a blast.
A lot of the other "Heavyweights" cast look different today, too. Is that because Ben Stiller's PerkiSystem actually works?
Oh, the PerkiSystem does work. Yes it does [Laughs].
Do you keep up with the cast?
I actually talked to Shaun Weiss. He played the goalie in "Mighty Ducks." He lives out in L.A. ... We just had a little "Mighty Ducks" reunion last year, so I saw everybody.
How'd you get the part?
I did "Mighty Ducks," and Steven Brill, who wrote that, co-wrote and -directed "Heavyweights" with Judd Apatow, so they had a roster of people they wanted to bring in that were stout young men. I was one of them. I was chunky at the time. I auditioned originally for [the role of Josh]. Had a couple callbacks, and at the screen test we kind of, like, mixed roles. It definitely didn’t hurt my audition that I knew them from "Ducks."
What's it like looking back on it?
I would say Judd Apatow is a huge memory. Just watching that guy work. It was incredible. He was in his mid-20s, and it was his first film that he did, and you could tell when you watch a guy that they’re gonna make something of themselves.
How was working with Ben Stiller?
Amazing. It’s funny. A lot of comedians, you assume would just be hilarious at all times and be like on and joke around. He’s almost like a method actor. He was hilarious when he was filming but in between takes he would pump weights, he would he would run around in circles, he would mad dog people. He was stuck in this character.
That sounds intense.
He is scary as hell. It got to the point where there was a scene in the movie where I was cracking up. He does a raid in the bunks, and I don’t know why, but Judd kept that in there. I don’t know why. But he was hilarious. He would ad lib and say the craziest things. We didn’t know what to do as kids. We were like, "What’s going on? This is amazing."
When he raided the bunks, did you actually get to eat that candy?
Well, if we didn’t get to eat the candy on set, they made sure craft service fulfilled all our needs. It was a film about a bunch of fat kids, so they wanted to help us stay fat.
Ben Stiller seems to play the same character in "Dodgeball," right?
I was gonna say that. C'mon, Ben! That was your "Heavyweights" character! He does. It’s almost the exact same character, but it’s funny as hell.
Do you think maybe he is the same character? Tony Perkis was put in witness protection or something?
Who knows? That’s a good question. You gotta ask Ben about that. I’m sure he’d deny everything. Like, "Naw, it wasn’t the same character. Different people." He was really into it. I'm sure he’d have a whole backstory for both of those charcters.
Was The Blob as cool as it looked?
I never got to go on The Blob. I broke my arm on the set of "Heavyweights." There was the big food fight scene ... I was running up a hill, and it was a big long shot, like the camera was way back ... and I just busted my ass. Landed right on my arm. Fractured my arm. It hurt like a bitch. Couldn’t do anything, so they never let me go on The Blob.
Nooooo! So you had to film with a broken arm?
Three-quarters of the movie I filmed with a broken arm.
Actually, it’s pretty funny. There's a scene in the food fight where it’s like this slow-motion montage ... and there’s a scene with me jumping up and down with shit all over my face, and it’s not me. It’s this kid who looked exactly like me. In fact, I just found the picture. I posted it on Instagram. I was like, "This is ridiculous how much he looked like me."
What's the best thing that you did behind the scenes?
I went to school with Macaulay Culkin at that age. Mac was filming "Richie Rich" right at the same time in North Carolina, so I would go visit him once a week on set and get to watch them film.
"Skinny weiner" was my favorite "Heavyweights" line, because it's hilarious. What's yours?
The line that all my friends give me shit about is, "Thank for the best damn summer of my life." The last line that I have, so my friends once in a while will just send me a text: "Thanks for the best damn summer of my life."
Well, man, it was just summer. Hope you had the best one of your life.
I hate you.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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