By Ada Tseng (June 28, 2017)
His red triple-mohawk. His dark eyeliner. His showing midriff. His shiny black fringed leather jacket, necklaces made of bones and skulls, one long dangling earring and holey black jeans with red tights underneath.
“They really got me good,” recalls Dante Basco, laughing.
Now, Basco’s character in the 1991 movie “Hook” has become iconic for kids of the 1980s and ’90s who remember the Lost Boys crowing “Ruffi-ooooo!” for their fearless leader. Skrillex’s Grammy Award-winning 2012 dance single “Bangarang” was a shout-out to Rufio’s battle cry. A pop-punk band in the early 2000s named itself Rufio. Basco has even seen tattoos of his teenage face on other people’s bodies.
“Now it’s cool,” he says of the costume. “But when you’re 15, you’re like, ‘Dude, what are we doing? I have my belly button out? Really?’ ”
Basco, 41, is now older than Robin Williams was when he played the 40-year-old Peter Banning in a story that imagines what would happen if Peter Pan grew up and had to return to Neverland to save his children from Hook. But he’s still trying to keep the character’s legacy alive — and take advantage of its strange cult fandom — by helping to produce a new, Kickstarter-funded short film about Rufio’s origin story, called “Bangarang,” which premiered online on Monday.
Watch the Bangarang short film, starring Sheaden Gabriel as Rufio for the new generation: