This story is from Joel's sister Chantelle. This happened on the set of Super 8 while filming in Weirton, WV, in Jan 2011.
The Time When Joel Courtney Ate An Entire Truffle
Super 8 filmed in Weirton, WV in September and October. But the opening scene of the movie takes place during the winter. So Joel and I went back to Weirton in January to shoot the first scene. They wanted a true winter setting. So, yes, that was real snow, and the air really was cold enough to see your breath.
There was only a skeleton crew for this one day shoot, so we all went out for dinner. It was a mini-reunion, and it also happened to be Joel's 15th birthday. Best. Birthday. Ever.
At dinner JJ Abrams pulled out some truffles. They were truffles from England and were given to him as a gift. Joel had never seen a truffle before. So Larry Fong took one of JJ's truffles and handed it to Joel. He told Joel to feel it and smell it. Joel held it, then sniffed it, then popped the entire truffle into his mouth. The whole table gave an audible gasp. Joel froze. Long silence.
Joel didn't chew. He didn't swallow. He didn't breath. He just stared with his big eyes open wide - his "deer-caught-in-the-headlights" look (you've seen it). He had no idea what he had done wrong. He didn't know why everyone gasped, why everyone was staring at him, why they all had horrified expressions glued to their faces. Was the mushroom poisonous?
Then everyone burst into laughter. Joel still didn't move. I could tell he was thinking, "what do I do now? should I keep eating it? should I spit it out? what...?" Ron told him to finish eating the truffle. And Ron said, "Joel, you've just done what even millionaires don't do!" Joel was so embarrassed. He turned red, more red than I've ever seen him before. Ron asked him what it tasted like. Joel answered, "Good. Earthy."
And this is how Joel earned the nickname "truffle-boy."