“I don’t think of kids as a lower form of the human species.” —John Hughes
Without John Hughes, we wouldn’t have such coming of age classics as The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, nor would we have the rollicking family fun comedies Planes, Trains & Automobiles and Uncle Buck. Though he brought about the “Brat Pack,” John Hughes shunned the media and only made rare public appearances in his career, as he let his work do the talking for him. However, his memory still lives on, generation after generation, for his infectious humanity. Take a trip into his wonderland of nostalgia today with the most interesting and wacky facts about John Hughes’ films.
John Hughes Films Facts
40. Detained Improvisation
The Breakfast Club is a great film because it was able to capture so much emotion and energy from its actors. This was due, in part, to the fact that Hughes gave his young stars a lot of breathing room and had them improvise from deep down inside of themselves. The most famous improvisation scene was the scene where each character details how they ended up in detention. That’s right, all of those lines are coming from the actors themselves.
39. Bratty Kids
The term “Brat Pack” originates from a profile that the journalist David Blum wrote about Emilio Estevez for New York Magazine in 1985. Blum came up with the term as a derogatory moniker because when Blum met them, Estevez and his friends were acting in a way that he considered spoiled: they’d ask to get let into a movie theater for free and demand the center table at restaurants so they could be seen.
38. A Night on the Town
One night during the filming of Uncle Buck, John Candy decided to have a night out at the bar along with the film’s music supervisor. No bueno. After staying out all night hanging out with locals, John Hughes heard a someone call into the local radio station the next day to talk about their amazing experience of drinking with Candy. Hughes was so upset that he canceled all of the actor’s scheduled scenes for that day.
37. Picking on Molly
Judd Nelson took his character, Bender, quite seriously and decided to create a tension on the set by picking on Molly Ringwald in between takes, the way his character would have to Claire. In an attempt to protect Ringwald, Hughes considered getting rid of Nelson, but the other actors stepped in and argued in favor of keeping him around.
36. Keeping It in the Family
The car that Claire is brought to school in in The Breakfast Club was Hughes’s own BMW, and the mother who drops off Brian is Anthony Michael Hall’s real mother.
35. Helping out
In order to help out a young Macaulay Culkin in Uncle Buck, John Candy had the dialogue attached on top of his own head during the interrogation scene so that Culkin could more easily keep up with the pace of the scene.
34. Historically Significant
The films of John Hughes have proven to stand the test of time. In 2014, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was chosen to be preserved by the United States National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. But that’s not the only one: In 2016, The Breakfast Club was also chosen.
Ben Stein has a degree in Economics from Columbia University and was a speechwriter for President Richard Nixon before shooting Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Knowing this, John Hughes didn’t give him any lines but instead told him to simply give an actual economics lecture to the class.
32. Actors’ Favorite
You know you’ve made a great film when two of your generation’s greatest comedians name it as their favorite film they’ve acted in. Those two actors are Steve Martin and John Candy, and the film is Planes, Trains & Automobiles.
31. On Standby
John Hughes was inspired to write Planes, Trains & Automobiles after a flight he was on was diverted and put him in travel limbo for five days in Wichita, Kansas.
30. Scar Tissue That I Wish You Saw
To this day, Macaulay Culkin still has a scar on his finger from when Joe Pesci went a little too method and actually bit his finger during the shooting of Home Alone.
29. Don’t Scare the Spider
A tarantula on the face is nothing to mess with. Before the days of good CGI, Home Alone had to resort to using a real tarantula to crawl on actor Daniel Stern’s face, something that required a great deal of nuance. Stern agreed to shoot the scene only once, and he had to fake the scream he lets out in the film in order not to spook the spider and get bit.
28. Carried Away With a Kiss
Weird Science got…well, weird during filming. In the scene where Ilan Mitchell-Smith gets to kiss Kelly LeBrock, the 14-year-old kid got a little bit carried away and went for it all with his tongue. Yeah, LeBrock wasn’t having it, and bit back by scolding him with the line, “If you ever do that again I’m going to kick your ass!”
27. Crappy Time
Robert Downey Jr. had some ups and downs with John Hughes on the set of Weird Science, and took it out the best way he knew how to: by taking poops in the trailers of his co-stars. In 1997, Downey Jr. admitted to being a “serial dumper” while on set.
26. Famous Choreography
The famous “Twist and Shout” group dance number in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off looks familiar, doesn’t it? That’s because the choreography sequence was lifted directly from the iconic “Thriller” video by Michael Jackson. Hey, why mess with a good thing?
25. Parental Engagement
Ferris Bueller’s parents sure had some good chemistry in the movie. So good that the actors who played them decided to actually get together and get married after the movie.
24. Sibling Love
Not only did the Bueller parents get hitched after the movie, but onscreen siblings Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey also got engaged afterward.
23. May the Best Actor Win
As a testament to Matthew Broderick’s acting chops, he beat out a who’s who of actors for the role of Ferris Bueller. The other actors considered were Johnny Depp, Jim Carrey, John Cusack, Michael J. Fox, Robert Downey Jr., Rob Lowe, and Tom Cruise.
22. Wiggin’ Out
After Pretty in Pink wrapped, the cast and crew had to re-unite and reshoot the ending to the film. Because they were working actors, some had moved on to other jobs, like Andrew McCarthy, who took a role in a play that required him to shave his head and lose a bunch of weight. This means that at the end of Pretty in Pink, he is actually wearing a wig.
21. Fake Ferrari
Ferris Bueller goes out for a joy ride in his father’s Ferrari. Except, well, he didn’t. The film’s production didn’t actually have the funds to rent a real Ferrari, so instead, they produced three fakes for the film, all made with a fiberglass body to mimic the real models. Imagine how much a Ferrari costs to merely rent if you can make three other fake cars and still come in under budget.
20. Super Senior
In order to do research for his role as Bender, Judd Nelson decided to enter into his local high school and pretend to be a student there. As a way to grow close to the students at the school, the 24-year-old actor bought the kids beer with his really, unbelievably good “fake” ID.
19. Strung Out
Charlie Sheen looks really, well, I guess like we’ve come to expect him to look, when he shows up in the police station during Ferris Bueller. This wasn’t acting. Sheen claims he had kept himself awake for over 48 hours in order to get the desired wasted look. Sure, Charlie, sure you did. Anything for the job, right?
18. Busy, Busy
When John Hughes finally got his big break, he made sure to start grinding. Within only 15 months he directed Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Weird Science.
17. No Place Like Home
John Hughes created the fictional town of Shermer, Illinois for his films Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Sixteen Candles, but the town was based on his hometown of Northbrook, Illinois, whose original name was actually Shermerville.
16. Comedic Inspiration
Richard Pryor inspired just about all comedy during the 1980s, and Weird Science was no exception. During the shoot, Anthony Michael Hall and John Hughes would watch Pryor movies together, which led to the idea for Hall to walk into a bar and play a Pryoresque character of an old African-American bluesman.
15. Real Clothes
Judd Nelson showed up to audition for the role of Bender wearing the clothes that you see in the movie.
14. Just in Time
While Nelson waiting for his turn to audition as Bender in The Breakfast Club, the receptionist called for security to take him out of the room because of the trouble he was causing. Lucky for him, he was called into his audition right as they showed up.
13. Cheesy Hair
The dandruff that Allison shakes all over the place in The Breakfast Club was not real, thankfully. Rather, it was some parmesan cheese, which is a hard pill to swallow, because parmesan is not a thing to waste.
12. Pen Name
Just because Hughes retired from the public spotlight didn’t mean he stopped writing screenplays. Using the pseudonym Edmond Dantes (an homage to the lead character in The Count of Monte Cristo) he wrote the screenplays for some surprising films such as Drillbit Taylor, Maid in Manhattan, and even the Beethoven franchise.
11. Rapid Write
It took John Hughes only two days to write the first draft for The Breakfast Club. Sounds like genius to us.
10. Caging Bender
In what would have been a…well, interesting take on the character of Bender, Nicolas Cage was the original choice to play the troubled youth. This idea would be dropped though because Cage cost way too much money at the time.
“A naked blonde walks into a bar with a poodle under one arm…” Yeah, that’s it. When Judd Nelson started this joke as Bender, he didn’t have a punchline. Instead, he just improvised it and hoped for the best. They wanted to add a punchline when Bender walks back in for his pencil, but no one could think of any good ones.
8. A Kiss to Rule Them All
Molly Ringwald actually wanted Viggo Mortensen to play the part of Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles. When a young Strider auditioned for the role in the future classic, he didn’t pull his punches and kissed Ringwald, going for it. This made her lobby in his case for the part, but it would end up going to Michael Schoeffling instead.
7. Jimmy the Geek
Could you imagine Jim Carrey as “The Geek” in The Breakfast Club? Yeah, neither can we, as it surely would have been a different film. But, it almost happened, and Carrey was in the running for the part.
6. The Power of Music
You can taste the tension on screen between Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall in many of their onscreen appearances. However, at first at least, they couldn’t stand each other. Realizing that his two young stars needed to mesh, Hughes remedied this problem (for all our sakes) by bringing them to a record shop so that they could connect over music.
5. The Cake Is a Lie
The iconic kiss in front of a blazing cake at the end of Sixteen Candles is etched in all of our memories. But guess what? It was all a lie. The cake wasn’t real and was actually made out of cardboard! Ahhh! Everything we know is a lie!
4. Spot the Director
Can you spot John Hughes in his movies? He shows up uncredited in some of his hits. First, he plays Brian’s father in The Breakfast Club, and the following year he showed up, again uncredited, in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as the “Guy Running Between Cabs” during the Taxi scene.
3. Taste of Success
John Hughes’ first screenplay to be produced was the National Lampoon flop Class Reunion. He got another shot with National Lampoon, however, and this time made his name by penning the screenplay for 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation. When his screenplay Mr. Mom was also a hit, Hughes was given a three-picture deal.
2. Fraught Relationship
Judd Nelson nails the role of Bender, but it came with a price. John Hughes and the actor had a feud, which ruined the plans to film a sequel to The Breakfast Club. Hughes found Nelson so difficult to be around that Hughes said he would never work with him again.
1. The Darkest Timeline
Hughes originally intended The Breakfast Club to have a mammoth two-and-a-half hour run time. Unfortunately for Hughes-heads everywhere, most of the scenes were cut and the negatives totally destroyed, and John Hughes once said that he had the only uncut copy of the film. Even more unfortunately for Breakfast Club fans, some of the deleted scenes give further (and darker) insight into the beloved characters: in one, Carl the Janitor predicts that in the future, Bender will have committed suicide, Claire will have had multiple boob jobs and facelifts, Brian will die of a heart attack from his stressful job, Allison will be a great but unknown poet, and Andrew will marry an airline stewardess. In a reunion interview, Ally Sheedy confirmed that a director’s cut exists, but that Hughes’ widow would not disclose its whereabouts.