When was the last time you heard that name? Eddie or Edward Furlong? You might remember him as the Terminator Boy who played John Connor in the 1991 blockbuster by James Cameron. Ring a bell? I know it’s hard to bring back a lost decade.
I was only three years old when Terminator 2: Judgment Day had rolled out. But it wasn’t until 8 years later that I saw the movie for the first time. I know that was some gap. But if you had been in my country and time where Hollywood was frowned upon by parents, I might as well gain some sympathy votes and stand for election.
So there I was watching T2 on Star Movies, alongside my Dad for the first time, who by the way was already mesmerized by the concept of having a robot around for bodyguard, and I realized that the Terminator Boy was really good. Hell! I wanted to be like him. I loved how he looked, and that attitude he wore, I found it to be sheer badass! Soon enough I started copying him, his hairstyle in particular, but for a kid with frizzy hair and a Dad who never allowed me to grow hair long enough to even cover my eyes, I came nowhere near. I had somehow convinced myself that I looked like him when I combed in a certain way. Then I would flick my head as if I pushing all those locks behind.
Post an Early Fame
It was about the same time I came across the movie Before and After. I was jumping on my chair when I found that it was Eddie in there. I watched the movie with utmost attention appreciating every bit of him, and the movie in whole. Didn’t even know that the real actors in the movie were none other than Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson. It had a beautiful theme where a child accidentally kills his girlfriend in a petty scuffle. Being a child, and no girlfriend, I had related to him the most. You see empathy has been my superpower ever since I was a kid.
Somewhere along the way, I came across Pet Sematary 2 too. They used to show dud movies on HBO, yes.
I must implore you to reserve your judgment. I was a kid back then, and I loved even pathetic movies, even those that had pointless themes. Of course, things are different today. But back then I used to be super psyched for everything that TV showed.
I later came across the first part, and then realized why the second one was plain stupid. But I liked Eddie nevertheless. I secretly wished to be Drew Gilbert his friend played by Jason McGuire from the movie. I was fat then, yeah!
It was not until I saw him in American History X that I realized there was a whole lot of potential in the kid, and that he was definitely headed somewhere. It was an arresting plot introducing Furlong to a strange world of possibilities. His colossal chance of making it big in Hollywood gawked at him not to forget the success of Terminator 2 that had already shot him in the air.
By that time, our Terminator Boy had already visited T2 in 3D and was looking solid in those acting shoes. I came across Detroit Rock City on HBO and loved it instantly. That rebellious attitude was singing songs in my head too.
He was a Hollywood heartthrob alright, and he looked so cool that I just wanted to be like him. He smoked and everything which isn’t a good thing to copy but I kind of liked that reckless demeanor I guess. All those photos with his love interest Liz Levy used to come so rad that I copied his style, that messy hair that carefree attitude, everything secretly hoping Liz to show up sometime.
The Lost Terminator boy
Then I lost track of him. Some serious life stifled me up good and I guess I forgot everything about Eddie Furlong and my obsession to watch his films and be like him. I used to find his photos every now and then. I heard he was doing The Crow: Wicked Prayer and he looked a complete badass in that crow avatar. But I never got a chance to watch that movie, only to realize later that it fell face forward as a mighty flop.
People have a hard time keeping it together. That’s when the drug and substance abuse happened to him. I didn’t even know it had swallowed the Terminator Boy so much that it started affecting his life. It started skewing his looks. He went into rehab in 2000, and the return wasn’t that great.
Then I saw him in Jimmy and Judy which I found to be ‘Okay’ compared to the movies he had been doing during that time. The movie was entirely shot on a handheld video camera which felt unique to me at that time. Later he went on to marry his co-star Judy played by Rachael Bella after having a serious relationship with her.
The Real Life Makeover
All of a sudden I came across The Green Hornet one day, and I almost missed him because he was unrecognizable. There was this cameo where he showed up and I felt so sorry for him watching him struggle to bag a role in a movie. From riches to rags, that’s all I could think about.
I googled him and found him looking utterly disgusting. His teeth were all yellow, he had an obvious podge that disfigured him so much that it was hard to fathom how a man could throw his life away like that.
Rachael Bella had divorced him in 2011 on grounds of irreconcilable differences. He was still a cocaine and heroin addict, doing movies that would always somehow go straight to DVDs.
He was put on 3 years probation when he tried to contact Rachael. Then he was put in jail for violation of probation against his ex-girlfriend Monica Keena. Put away for domestic violence a couple of times, and then arrested again in 2013. So far he has served 61 days in prison!
Wishing Eddie a Revival
Now that I think of it I feel utterly bad for him. Even though I haven’t lived in his shoes, or tasted his life. Somehow deep down I feel I have known him all my life. A life parallel to mine that I tried to imitate at one point. All that coolness however vanished with time, role models changed, fandom moved from one actor to another.
But I would always come back to find him, just to see how he is faring in life. I would often check on him if his movies are doing okay or if he ever made out from that chasm of hell he had inadvertently ended up in.
He had found some ground in Aftermath but then again was quick enough to lose it. The Reunion was yet another fail. I see IMDB flaring up his next projects as The Endless Whispers and Karma beyond which his existence as an actor is a blur. It feels pretty weird when you see him constantly struggle to make a living like that scouring for whatever that comes his way.
Personally, I wish the Terminator Boy Eddie all the best. Things could begin to look up for him if he regains his posture, and becomes once again the lad who had it all, and who was loved by all. Our very own child with dreams in his eyes – The Terminator Boy Eddie Furlong!