I was thirteen years old when my mom took me to the ArcLight for the premiere of a movie called 'Rudy'. That was the first time I ever saw Sean Astin, and man, did I fall hard. I didn't meet him that night, but he'd never have noticed me anyway - he was twenty-three and married. I went the whole nine yards of a crush: writing letters to him that I never sent, clipping out pictures and articles from Tiger Beat and other magazines and putting them in a scrapbook, pinning posters to my bedroom walls, doodling his name on the covers and in the margins of my school books. And yeah, even wanking off at night as I imagined what it'd be like to kiss him.
Sean and I both lived and worked in LA in the same industry, but our paths never crossed. Eventually I accepted that it was Fate's way of telling me that the crush could never be anything more, and it gradually faded.
After Sean I had crushes on guys I worked with. Actors spend so much time in a fantasy world that it's easy to have a crush, or something more than a crush, on the person you're playing pretend with day in and day out during a shoot. I packed away the scrapbook and letters and took down the posters and replaced them with posters for rock bands, and at night I wanked off to other images. Eventually I did more than wank off, and with guys who didn't just exist in my head, but were real and actually there in bed with me.
But you never really forget your first crush, or at least I didn't, and subconsciously, I compared every guy I worked with or dated to Sean - and they always came out on the losing end. He was sort of an ideal for me, I guess.
When I found out that I'd be working with Sean on The Lord of the Rings, it all came back to me. To be honest, I was terrified. Clay feet and idols, you know? But even more, what if I fell for him again? How the fuck was I going to work with him, be the Frodo to his Samwise, for over a year, and keep my sanity if I did?
What happened next everyone knows. We met in a hotel lobby, embraced, fell in love, stayed together. No crush this, but something lasting and real. There was a reason all those other guys came out on the losing end. I've always been opinionated - or, as Sean sometimes calls me, 'a stubborn jackass' - about the things that matter most to me, like music and movie roles - and love. I knew a good thing when I saw it at thirteen, and nothing's changed my mind. I expect on some level I'll still have a thirteen year-old's crush on Sean when I'm drooling into my Cheerios in the nursing home. I just hope he'll be drooling into his Special K in the seat next to me. We can pass each other mash notes, like we were in high school.
Did I ever tell him about my crush? Fuck yeah. He heard it all and I even showed him the evidence. Maybe it'll explain why I'm still crushing on him almost twenty years later when I tell you that he didn't laugh at my letters. In fact, I'm pretty sure I detected a few tears in his eyes even while he was pointing out all the words I misspelled.
That's my Sean.