Children of the 1980s will remember “Mystic Pizza” as the coming of age film about three teenage girls working in a pizza parlor in Mystic, Conn.
The 1988 movie was also the film that launched the career of Oscar winner and “Pretty Woman” Julia Roberts, a fact that surprised none of her co-stars.
“You just knew when you met Julia that she was going to be a huge star,” Vincent D’Onofrio told Entertainment Weekly‘s Jess Cagle. “There was no doubt in our minds, any of us, that she was like a bomb waiting to go off when you met her.”
D’Onofrio, who played Bill, one of the teen girls’ love interests, said he almost turned down the role until a cast reading with Roberts (who played Daisy Arujo) and her co-stars, Lili Taylor (as Jojo Barbosa) and Annabeth Gish (as Kat Arujo) changed his mind.
“First of all, there was Annabeth, who was young, and I had never seen anybody that age who could act like she did,” D’Onofrio told Cagle. “And Lily, to me, was this premier actress, and she was phenomenal.
“The three of them were so uniquely different in their own way and so powerful in their own way, it was striking,” he said of Roberts, Gish and Taylor.
D’Onofrio, who went on to star on Broadway and in the blockbuster hit “Men in Black” film, heaped praise on his “Mystic Pizza” co-stars as the cast reunited for a photo shoot for Entertainment Weekly’s annual Reunions Issue in Los Angeles last month.
The cast members recalled the wild scenes they shot in the real-life sleepy, seaside town of Mystic, including one that Roberts said would never happen today.
“It’s wrong,” Roberts said of the on-screen fling between Gish, who was 16 at the time, and the actor William R. Moses, who was 27. “They would not be able to make out in a movie today.”
Roberts recalled filming a wild scene of her own that required her to fill the Porsche of her love interest, played by Adam Storke, with fish.
“It was [gratifying],” Roberts said. “But, I’ll tell you, my legs were really sore. I was pushing that giant barrel full of water over all night long.”
While Roberts’ career skyrocketed after “Mystic Pizza,” eagle-eye movie watchers will also recall that another future Oscar winner made his debut in the movie.
That would be Matt Damon, 18 at the time, who had the single line, “Mom, do you want my green stuff?” while eating lobster, in “Mystic Pizza.”
“Jason Bourne,” Adam Storke said of what he saw in Damon at the time, jokingly referring to Damon’s starring role decades later in the hit “Bourne” movie franchise.
While Damon’s on-screen role in “Mystic Pizza” involved eating, the cast said that, off-screen, it was D’Onofrio who ate the most, drank the most and was the most intense.
On the opposite end, it was its leading lady, Roberts, who had the most fun, according to the cast.
“I just think that I’m the most innately happy,” Roberts said, concurring with her co-stars. “I mean, I’m always happy.”