The talk was held in a very informal setting, with less than 100 people in attendance, which made for a great intimate atmosphere. He talked a lot about his parents, and his background - John Astin is not his biological father, but is his father in every true sense of the word.
He recounted anecdotes from his experiences on Rudy: he did have a stunt double, but only for scenes where he "felt his neck buckle" after being tacked by a 6'5 football player; and stories from filming the Goonies: he recalled how he felt a sense of "abject terror" and helpless desperation when he witnessed one of his costars fall 20 feet off the plank of the set of a pirate ship (and was thankfully unhurt!).
LOTR related parts.. he talked about how filming LOTR was an incredible experience, and one with a constant learning curve. There was also an interesting mention of his creative differences with Peter Jackson over how the character of Sam should be portrayed - but they resolved their conflicts and the result is the wonderful character we see onscreen.
He also talked about disappointed the cast and crew were when the movie did not win Best Picture - the Kodak theatre where the Oscars are held has rows of tall columns with the names of Best Picture winners engraved on them; talked about what it was like being a childhood actor; his feelings about September 11th and how he felt it impacted the film; his views on being a celebrity and the responsibilities that come with it; meeting Sidney Poultier at the Oscars..and many more..
all in all, Sean talked and answered questions for more than an hour and a half. He is refreshingly open and honest, saying at the beginning that he was perfectly comfortable with answering any and all questions, however personal, even if we felt uncomfortable asking them. he then spent another hour signing autographs, taking photographs, showing us his tattoo, and even found time to play a couple of innings of whiffleball in the courtyard outside the building. His wife was present as well (they are expecting another child in August), as well as his absolutely adorable daughter.
Sean Astin is a very nice man, extremely articulate, intelligent (and funny!), and put a lot of thought and effort into the questions that were posed to him. he was genuinely happy to be here, and I had a great time..it was a real pleasure to meet him! first Elijah Wood and now Sean Astin..hopefully this trend will continue at fair Harvard..