Before They Were Stars: Sean Penn in “The Beaver Trilogy”

“Before They Were Stars” features don’t get much more bizarre than this. In 1979, a filmmaker named Trent Harris decided to make a documentary short film called The Beaver Kid about a local personality from the town of Beaver, Utah named Groovin’ Gary, who was known for doing dead-on impersonations of celebrities. Harris decided to do a sequel in 1981 called The Beaver Kid 2 and follow-up in 1985 entitled The Orkly Kid. In 2001, he combined all these shorts together and released them as a feature called The Beaver Trilogy. Why would anyone be interested in seeing a project like this 20 years after the fact, you ask? Well, because The Beaver Kid 2 just happened to star a then-unknown young actor named Sean Penn! It’s basically a fictionalized remake of the original Beaver Kid (made for the astronomical budget of $100!) with Penn playing the role of Groovin’ Gary, and if you’ve watched footage of the real-life Gary, you can see that Penn does a pretty dead-on impression of him and it’s interesting to see early flashes of his star-making role of Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High in this performance. Incidentally, The Orkly Kid featured none other than Crispin Glover in the role of Groovin’ Gary, so if you’ve ever wanted to see him perform in drag, here’s a special bonus clip!

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