The red-haired mohawk leader of the Lost Boys’ origin story arrives in Dante Basco’s new short film “Bangarang: The Hook Prequel.”
After a successful Kickstarter-funded campaign, which raised $68,790 entirely from crowdfunding (more than its initial $30,000), writer-director Jonah Feingold and Basco bring the coming of age story of 13-year-old Roofus (Sheaden Gabriel), the kid with a bad attitude, before he found himself on the land where children never grow up.
“Bangarang,” which was released Monday, opens with Roofus engaging in a pretend pirate battle with his two friends, only then to encounter a bully. Basco plays Principal Cullen, who gives Roofus advice for dreamers and sends him home with a Peter Pan novel. We soon learn Roofus is to be sent into foster care as his Filipino mother is deported back to the Philippines. In the film, we learn Roofus has big dreams — and one of them is to fly.
“Some people have such strong memories of me as a young actor, that it’s hard to see me as anything else,” Basco told the Chicago Tribune. “But everyone comes to Hollywood hoping to get a role people are going to remember them for, and I get girls saying I was their first crush, or Asian guys saying Rufio was the first time they saw an Asian kid on-screen that wasn’t nerdy or stereotypical, so I was lucky the character that resonated was cool.”
In “Hook,” the 15-year-old Rufio’s iconic red mohawk, black eyeliner, shiny black leather jacket with a bare midriff and necklace of skulls and bones became something kids of the ‘80s and ‘90s have come to love. With Rufio crowing “Bangarang!” and “Rufiooooo!,” the film, which originally released in 1991, became a cult classic and recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.
“The most fascinating thing for me is that Peter Pan is a fairy tale, but now, this Filipino kid is a part of the folklore,” Basco added. “The selfish part of me wants to bring this Asian-American hero to the next generation. It’s cool that Asians got into the fairy tale.”
Read the description for the short and check out the 17-minute short “Bangarang,” exclusively released on Dante Basco’s YouTube channel, below.
“This is the story about Rufio, before the mohawk, before Neverland, before he was The Pan. Roofus is a 13-year-old kid who is destined to be more than he is. After his mother is forced to put him into a foster home, he and his rag-tag group of best friends, a Jamaican boy named Julani and a bright-eyed latina force of nature named Ella, find a way for Roofus to escape his ill fate, find his happy thought and fulfill his destiny. The story has been reverse engineered from what was set-up in Hook. We answer all the questions you’ve ever wondered. How and why is Rufio the leader of the Lost Boys? Where does “bangarang” come from? And of course, how he gets the mohawk.”