The various Chris’s — from Evans to Pine — may be ascendent now, but back in the late ’80s, Hollywood was a Two Coreys town. Corey Feldman and Corey Haim were the heartthrobs of the day, appearing on teenybopper magazine covers, talk shows and, of course, major motion pictures like Joel Schumacher’s era-defining vampire movie The Lost Boys and the teen comedy License to Drive. And the duo’s star power was definitely evident to their Drive co-star, Heather Graham, who had her breakout role as Haim’s dream girl, named — appropriately enough — Mercedes.
“He was so cute,” Graham told Yahoo Entertainment about Haim in a recent Role Recall interview. “I probably had a crush on him at the time. He was such a cute movie star guy.”
Watch our interview with Heather Graham below
Released 35 years ago on July 6, 1988, License to Drive belongs to the then-popular genre of “night out gone wrong” comedies that included Blind Date and A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon. When try-hard teenager Les (Haim) scores a dates with Mercedes only to fail his driver’s test, he “borrows” his grandfather’s car anyway to take her out on the town. That decision kicks off a series of unfortunate (but funny) events that rope Les’s pal, Dean (Feldman), into the mix and also steadily reduce his sweet ride into a beat-up hunk of junk.
Sadly for Graham, Mercedes misses some of those mid-movie misadventures. Early on in their date — which she only agreed to as a way of getting back at her older boyfriend — she overdoes it on the drinking and has to be exiled to the trunk to sleep it off. Although the Boogie Nights star says she didn’t mind skipping the action. “It was so easy,” she jokes of spending most of the movie passed out. “You just fall asleep! It’s so relaxing — I love sleeping.”
License to Drive‘s three stars were all teenagers themselves when they made the film, but as a self-described “nerdy suburban girl,” Graham says she immediately recognized that Haim and Feldman led a very different teen lifestyle. “I felt like I was pretty innocent compared to them,” the Boogie Nights star admits now. “They were a little bit more into experimenting with drugs, and I was just this super-sheltered suburban [kid].”
While she may have had a teen crush on Haim, Graham quickly learned that the actor was already spoken for. “He was dating this really groovy girl named Lala Zappa,” she remembers. “They were just the coolest [couple]. Her uncle was Frank Zappa and he was this movie star. I felt like I was this nerd with these two uber-cool people.”
In fact, Graham felt like such a wallflower about the couple, she declined to join Haim and Zappa for their after-hours shindigs on the vibrant L.A. nightclub scene. “I was too nerdy!” she insists. “I was 17 and I was still going to high school. They were emancipated and doing whatever they wanted. I was living a much more boring existence.”
In an interview for License to Drive‘s DVD release, Feldman revealed that he took Graham out on a date to an awards show towards the end of filming. “We had a great time together,” he recalled. “It was one of those things where you go out on a date… and you realize the next day, ‘Now we’ve got to go back to work, and look at each other as work people.’ It was one of those big lessons that it’s not really best to date your co-workers.”
On set, though, Graham says that Feldman and Haim couldn’t have been more professional — which was a big benefit for someone who was just getting her start in the industry. “I felt very cool working with the Coreys,” she says. “They were in movies that I had watched and really liked. It was a great introduction to being in a film — they were both really talented.”
License to Drive also marked the peak of Corey-mania: the following year, Feldman and Haim starred in Dream a Little Dream, which didn’t reach the box office heights of their previous collaborations. After that, the duo went their separate ways for most of the ’90s, while also struggling with their personal addictions. In 2007, they reunited for the short-lived reality series, The Two Coreys, which openly dealt with Haim’s substance abuse. The actor died of pneumonia in 2010 at age 38.
“We just weren’t taking it all very seriously,” Feldman admitted years later on the License to Drive DVD. “This whole Corey-mania thing was happening and we were just kinda stuck in the eye of the hurricane. Part of it for us was keep things as light and humorous as possible, on and off the set.”
Watch our full Role Recall with Heather Graham on YouTube
License to Drive is currently streaming on Starz
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