“Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” Star Recalls Being 'Busted' by Movie Dad Rick Moranis When Trying to Drink Underage (Exclusive)

"He was looking out for us," Amy O'Neill tells PEOPLE, adding of Moranis, "He’s a real class act on and off the set"

<p>Courtesy Amy O

Courtesy Amy O'Neill; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Amy O'Neill; Rick Moranis

For Honey, I Shrunk the Kids teen star Amy O'Neill, costar Rick Moranis was every bit a father figure on set as in the movie, down to the "dad look."

"Rick was always warm but respectful, always kind, professional and on his game. I'm so proud to have called him Dad," O'Neill — who played Amy, the daughter of Moranis' character Wayne Szalinski — tells PEOPLE as the family adventure film turns 35.

In fact, that fatherly presence even extended to their time together during a press trip to Japan for the 1989 classic. As O'Neill, now 52, recalls to PEOPLE, "After a long day of doing press panels and radio interviews we got back to the hotel. [Fellow teen costar] Jared [Rushton] and I went to the cocktail lounge to see if they’d serve us a cocktail."

"In walked Rick Moranis, and he gave me a dad look that inspired me and Jared to go hit the hotel coffee shop instead," the actress says.

"We got busted by my screen dad! He was looking out for us. He’s a real class act on and off the set," O'Neill adds.

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<p>Courtesy Amy O'Neill</p> From L: Amy O'Neill, Jared Rushton, Thomas Wilson Brown and Robert Oliveri behind the scenes of <em>Honey, I Shrunk the Kids</em> (1989)

Courtesy Amy O'Neill

From L: Amy O'Neill, Jared Rushton, Thomas Wilson Brown and Robert Oliveri behind the scenes of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)

Related: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Turns 35! What Ever Happened to Josh Gad's Sequel Shrunk?

Moranis, 71, stepped back from acting in live-action roles more than 25 years ago after the tragic death of his wife Ann Belsky from breast cancer.

Although the Little Shop of Horrors star slowly left public life to focus on being a single father to daughter Rachel Moranis and son Mitchell Moranis, who are now in their 30s, he has never retired from the business, as he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015.

“I took a break, which turned into a longer break,” Moranis said at the time. “But I’m interested in anything that I would find interesting. I still get the occasional query about a film or television role and as soon as one comes along that piques my interest.”

Thomas Wilson Brown, who played O'Neill's love interest Russ in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, tells PEOPLE he considers Moranis "a source of inspiration as an actor and as a family man and father."

"What he has done professionally has only been topped by what he has done for his children and late wife," Brown, 51, adds of Moranis.

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<p>Courtesy Amy O'Neill</p> Thomas Wilson Brown and Amy O'Neill pose in front of <em>Honey, I Shrunk the Kids</em> movie art featuring Rick Moranis and the late Marcia Strassman

Courtesy Amy O'Neill

Thomas Wilson Brown and Amy O'Neill pose in front of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids movie art featuring Rick Moranis and the late Marcia Strassman

Related: Rick Moranis Spotted Out and About in New York City Ahead of His 71st Birthday

Both O'Neill and Brown have a bevy of kind words to say about the "down to earth" and "very intelligent" Moranis, whom Brown tells PEOPLE has a gift with "comedy [that] can come alive with the flick of a switch."

"One moment, you’d think he’s the accountant for the studio with his reserved, quiet nature, then boom, he’s off to the races, doing some schtick or gag that has everyone cracking up," Brown adds.

O'Neill says she hasn't seen Moranis since that Honey, I Shrunk the Kids press tour in Japan, but to this day admires "how he crafted the character of Wayne Szalinski thoughtfully and thoroughly, and with awe-inspiring physical comedy and comic timing."

"He would have the English- and Spanish-speaking crew members cracking up just from his movements and expressions," she recalls. "Maybe that’s part of why he’s one of our very respected comic giants: He’s funny even if you don’t understand what he’s saying."

And while Brown also "unfortunately" lost touch with Moranis following their time on the film, he says, "I miss him in person, as well as on the big screen. We need more Rick Moranis in this world."

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is streaming on Disney+.

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