Now, set to appear at Toronto's Comicon on Saturday (for the "Terminator 2" panel, natch), Furlong is jovial, relaxed and - well, happy to be alive. He doesn't explicitly state it, but you can tell by his raspy voice that he's been through a lot, and he seems appreciative to still be in the acting game.
He chatted with Moviefone about "Terminator 2," what it was like when he first met Arnold Schwarzenegger and if he can even watch himself in his first role.
Dude. What have you been up to? Well, right now I'm just getting up. I know I sound like a lazy bastard, but I had breakfast in bed, you know. I'm being kind of a lush, I guess. But lately, I've been being a dad, putting food on the table, doing movies once in a while. Same old, same old, nothing too exciting.
You were awesome in "Terminator 2" and "American History X," and then it seemed like you disappeared. What happened? I became a crackwhore! After selling my body for crack for a couple of years... no, no, I'm just joking. [Laughs] It's the way it goes. It's just the way it is. It goes up and down. I still consider myself blessed enough that I can still put food on the table for my son. I still do stuff, I guess it's just not as big as I used to get. I did just do "CSI: NY" - that's probably the biggest thing lately.
You were scouted to be in "Terminator 2," correct? It was your first movie. It was random. I was hanging out at the Boys and Girls Club. They had trouble finding someone in young Hollywood at the time to play John Connor, and I guess they were looking for "normal" kids. This woman came up to me at the Club and asked me if I wanted to be in a movie. She didn't tell me what kind of movie it was, so I went [in my mind] to the worst possible thing, so I said, "Sorry, I'm not into child porn." She laughed and said it wasn't child porn. I went in and kept reading lines, and eventually I got the part!
Did being in a movie so laden with apocalyptic undertones and Doomsday messages mess with your psyche at all? Nah, man. I think if maybe I was a bit older when I did the movie, I might have made better decisions - like save my money. It was fun for me to make the movie, though. The hardest thing was probably growing up in the business, in the public eye. I know a lot of people my age are still trying to figure out what to do, and I consider myself lucky that I can make a living doing something that I truly enjoy.
True. And there were a lot of actors in the same boat as you, and a lot of them have died. Hey, at least you survived. So far! I'm alive today, and that's good. I feel very blessed.
Your first movie was with James Cameron. How was working with him at the time? It's funny. I can kind of remember. I was so young at the time, only 13. And the amount of pot I've smoked in my life... [Laughs] No, Jim was great. He has this image of being a tough director, but he was very nice to me. I loved working with him. He was the first director I ever worked with, so with every director since him, he's like the number one. I base all my other experiences on him. I cared more about working with him than I did about Arnold Schwarzenegger. I was tripping out because it was around the time he was doing "Aliens" and "Abyss," really cool stuff for a teenage boy.
Any funny stuff you can remember from your on-set days? I remember one time Arnold accidentally hit me with the butt end of a rifle. That's the only thing I can remember. I don't know. Jim Cameron used to call me "Special Ed." [Laughs]
What about the first time you met Arnold Schwarzenegger? Do you recall that? Barely, but I do. We were doing a read-through. I remember thinking, 'Man, this guy wears really loud clothes.' He was wearing a big, flowery Hawaiian shirt. I had just seen him in "Predator," you know, and here he is in some bright-colored shirt.
Do you have a favorite scene from the movie, or do you cringe watching it? I don't watch it. I saw part of it on TV a while ago, and it was the part where I'm outside taking off on my bike, in the garage, talking to my step-parents, and my character's like: "She's not my mother, Todd!" in some whiny voice. I was like 'Oh my God, change the fucking channel!" It was horrible. It's hard enough for me to watch my more recent stuff.
What's the next thing we're going to see you in? I have a movie coming out pretty soon, called "This Is Not a Movie," directed by Olallo Rubio, and co-starring Peter Coyote. It's a very, very cool movie. Guns N' Roses' Slash did the movie score. There's all sorts of shit in it. It's weird and really hard to explain. It's an apocalyptic, end-of-the-world, druggie movie with naked chicks dancing around. It makes sense once you watch it all the way through. There's a twist to it that I can't reveal here. It's really good.
I also have a movie called "For the Love of Money" coming out soon, too. James Caan is in that one. And I did a sci-fi movie. There's a couple things on the horizon for me, so I'm looking forward to it.
Catch Edward Furlong at the "Terminator 2" panel at Toronto's Comicon.