This classic escapist adventure comedy – whereby budding heroes across the country can picture themselves as the dashing, devil-may-care rogue Michael Douglas, protecting a beautiful damsel in distress, Kathleen Turner, from dangerous baddies, wrestling crocs and hunting for treasure. To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the hit caper, here’s a look at what happened to the cast and crew of the film that’s as fresh and fun as it was when it was released in 1984.
As an actor Michael Douglas had a lot to live up to – his father is Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas. His performance in Romancing the Stone sprung him into the A-list and out of his dad’s shadow, leading to starring roles in mega-hits including Fatal Attraction, Wall Street (which won him an Oscar) and teaming up with DeVito and Turner once more in The War of the Roses. Most recently, he has starred in the Ant-Man films, as Dr Hank Pym, the man who made the insect suit, leading to a role in what looks set to become the most successful film of all time, Avengers: Endgame. Not bad for a rough-around-the edges adventurer for hire.
After nabbing a Golden Globe for her fantastic performance in Romancing the Stone, as Joan Wilder, the timid writer plunged into a wild adventure, Turner was the hot ticket in Hollywood, and went on to get an Oscar nomination for Peggy Sue Got Married, and a Golden Globe nomination for The War of the Roses. The much-loved icon reunited with director Robert Zemeckis to voice Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit!, appeared in Friends, and starred as Douglas’s ex-wife in the comedy series The Kominsky Method last year. She also has a thriving stage career, and has turned herself into a camp singling icon, wowing audiences with cabaret, opera and husky-toned show tunes.
Having appeared in various small film roles in the 1970s, DeVito made a name for himself in the hit TV sitcom Taxi in the late 1970s, playing head dispatcher Louie De Palma, before Romancing the Stone made him even more famous. Starring roles in Ruthless People, Outrageous Fortune and Twins cemented his reputation as one of the funniest actors in Hollywood, and he also carved out a successful career as a director and a producer (with Pulp Fiction among his prestigious credits). Recently DeVito has gone back to TV, the medium that gave him his first break, appearing in the hugely popular It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which has introduced the actor to a new generation of fans. Fans who have no doubt signed a petition for De Vito to play the next Wolverine – 10,000 and counting!
The prolific actress appears as Joan’s no-nonsense agent in the film, who tries to prevent her from taking an ill-fated trip to Colombia. With over a hundred credits to her name, Taylor hasn’t stopped working since Romancing the Stone, and was on TV screens last year in Mr Mercedes, a series based on the Stephen King novel.
In the film’s prologue, a feisty heroine from one of Joan’s books is brought to life, taking on Grogan, a memorably wicked cowboy. Kymberly Herrin, in her first film role here, went on to star in the video for the hit song Legs, from the ultimate purveyors of dad rock, ZZ Top.
After Romancing the Stone set the box office on fire, Robert Zemeckis went on to direct the three Back to the Future films, and won an Oscar for Forrest Gump. Zemeckis is currently filming an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s story The Witches, starring Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer.
Romancing the Stone was the debut screenwriting credit for Diane Thomas, who looked set for great things after the film was a critical and commercial hit. She was working on a film with Steven Spielberg when, tragically, she died in a car accident at the age of 39. The UCLA Diane Thomas Screenwriting Award was set up in her honour, to help novice writers, and one of the winners, Stuart Beattie, went on to write Collateral, starring Tom Cruise, and Pirates of The Caribbean, a rollicking adventure Thomas would surely have approved off.
Although Eddy Grant’s song Romancing The Stone, used to promote the film, wasn’t quite as big a hit as British soul singer Billy Ocean’s When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going (used in Romancing the Stone sequel Jewel of the Nile), it got Grant a lot of exposure and his songs have been widely used in films and TV shows ever since, featuring on the likes of Family Guy, Knocked Up, Horrible Bosses 2 and Bates Motel. Grant, now 71, is still going strong, and recently released his 17th album.
Composer Silvestri had thus far only scored a handful of low budget B-movies, before Romancing The Stone came along and gave him a shot at the big time. His memorably melodic and rousing music led to jobs for big Hollywood studios, and further collaborations with Robert Zemeckis, notably on Back To the Future, Forrest Gump and The Polar Express, the latter two nabbing him Oscar nominations. He also scored Avengers: Endgame, which is fast on its way to making $2.5billion at the box office.
ROMANCING THE STONE is available to buy on DVD and Digital Download