John Hughes may be gone, but he’ll never be forgotten – at least not as long as kids of every age roam the earth.
Shortly after the creative force such films as Sixteen Candles (1984), The Breakfast Club (1985) and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) passed away unexpectedly last week at age 59, five of his collaborators gathered on Movie Geeks United! to share their recollections of the wunderkind with hosts Jamey DuVall and Jerry Dennis:
Howard Deutch, who directed the John-penned Pretty in Pink (1987), Some Kind of Wonderful (1987), and The Great Outdoors(1988); Alisan Porter, who played the title role in Curly Sue (1991), which John wrote and directed; Edie McClurg, who played Grace the secretary in Ferris Bueller and a car-rental agent in Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), both of which were written and directed by John; composer Ira Newborn, who scored Weird Science (1985), Ferris Bueller, Planes, Trains and Uncle Buck; and casting director Jackie Burch (Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club).
Following are highlights from the two-hour special.
“John was the fastest writer I have ever seen, before or since. One night, he was supposed to do rewrites on Some Kind of Wonderful, and we started at like 11 at night in his office.
“There was a couch in his office, and I would many times just fall asleep, because he would write late into the night and into the early morning.
“So I fell asleep as usual. And at about five in the morning I woke up and he handed me 50 pages. And I was like, ‘You were supposed to do three pages of rewrites. That’s 50 pages.’
“He goes, ‘Oh, yea. I didn’t get to the hard stuff. I just wrote this and I’m curious what you think. I don’t know what it’s about, but what do you think?’
“And it was the first half of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
“He really tailor-made the [Curly Sue] part for me. He would ask me what I wanted – and I was just nine years old!
“I remember he found out I could sing, and that’s why he put in the national anthem scene.”
“Up to that point, most movies that had teenagers in them were all written by older people who’d forgotten what it was like to be in high school. But John never forgot what it was like to be in high school.
“And among that whole list of the Dweebies, the Dickheads – all that stuff – after we finished shooting [that scene in Ferris Bueller], we had a few minutes and I said, ‘OK, so John, which one were you in this list?’
“And he looked at me and he said, ‘Waitsoid.’”
“I could see [John] was a guy who was enthusiastic about music and loved what he was doing. So I was always happy to talk to him.
“Very often, a composer doesn’t want to talk to the director because the director doesn’t know anything about music. So it’s sheer torture trying to translate and pretend that you know what he’d talking about – even though you think he’s a big schmuck.
“With John, as far as music was concerned, he was tremendously enthusiastic. I remember we went to Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard and he must’ve bought $1,000 worth of records.
“We needed a truck to take them home!”
To hear the full Movie Geeks United! tribute to John, click here.