I think TV shows become a tad bit more likeable when it is clear that cast members are close. We’ve all heard about Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox’s friendship blossoming on the set of Friends, the lifelong bond between Candace Cameron Bure and Andrea Barber shining through on social media, and Zach Braff lending out his backyard for Donald Faison’s wedding. Gilmore Girls’ Kelly Bishop visited her TV spouse Edward Herrmann just before his death to say goodbye. My millennial heart soared when photos of the Sprouse twins reuniting with Ashley Tisdale and Phill Lewis appeared.
Such close friendships are a little rarer to find on movie sets, unless a franchise is made over a number of years with most of the same cast (it’s okay, we all cry a little when Harry Potter stars post reunion pics). The Avengers crew seems pretty tight, and I’m still a little surprised that the girls of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants films are so close that Blake Lively named the other three her daughter’s godmothers.
What inspired me to talk about this today was a rewatch of the YouTube video “Dead Poets in NYC”.
This is home video footage of the boys from the cast of Dead Poets Society using a break in filming to go to an audition in New York together. Seeing them so baby-faced and spontaneous, paralleling their youthful characters in the film, almost makes it jarring to remember that this was them over 25 years ago. Gone are these silly, excited boys mostly in their late teens (apparently there was about a nine to eleven-year age gap between Gale Hansen and the other boys? You certainly couldn’t tell). They’re all men around my father’s age now, and some of them don’t even act anymore. Dylan Kussman, who played Cameron, rediscovered the footage and uploaded it to YouTube less than two months before Robin Williams died last year.
The video reeks of heartwarming nostalgia. Some moments hint at the film already influencing them, as seen by an adorable Robert Sean Leonard greeting the others with, “Gentlemen!”. While certain bits show eerie similarities between the boys and their movie counterparts – Gale Hansen reminds me of Charlie when he wears the DPS vest – there are some snippets that prove how others could not be more different. One look at Ethan Hawke being loud and rambunctious or Josh Charles grinning slyly at the camera tells you this.
Some snippets are just plain funny. The boys have a Friends moment when they hang out on the roof of Robert’s apartment. They eagerly walk around Manhattan asking people which one of them resembles the main star in the movie for which they’re auditioning. It’s surprisingly easy to forget that this was New York in the ‘80s, but once that fact sinks in, it leaves me with a slightly bittersweet feeling.
Why? Well, perhaps the reason the footage feels so contemporary to me is because the boys’ interactions are so real. This is how I see guys talk to each other on my college campus. This kind of banter points towards the affection that forms during this weird in-between phase of life. It’s the time when you know you’re beginning to be considered an adult, but certain people can bring out the carefree child in you. Anything and everything is possible at this stage of life.
I don’t know how many, if any, of these actors keep in touch with each other. I’d like to think they reached out to each other after Williams died. But what makes me warm and fuzzy inside is this video, because it shows that, for at least this period of time, the bonds in this group were real and strong.
What about you? Are there any TV or movie costars whose bond makes you smile?