When looking back on the eighties, there’s a lot to reflect on. The decade started with the assassination of John Lennon and ended with the Berlin Wall coming down. Outside of that, timeless movies and songs made their way through to the mainstream. The legacy of The Breakfast Club is as one of those films that speak to every teenage archetype.
John Hughes’ sophomore film was incredibly relatable to audiences. From the social pressures as the pretty girl to Bender’s abusive relationship with his dad, the cast was rooted in everyday problems. Still, fans of the film or Hughes won’t know all of the details behind one of the best movies ever made.
It wasn’t an easy road to make the film. Hughes was turned down by Universal for a few reasons and the brutal honesty of the characters was a prominent moment.
It Was Never Called Breakfast Club
The original script had the name The Lunch Bunch. Casting director, Jackie Burch, would reveal that the title was changed thanks to the son of one of John Hughes’ friends, who attended New Trier in Northfield Illinois.
Interestingly enough, the school was a film location for Sixteen Candles and Weird Science. The students and faculty created “Breakfast Clubs” for early detentions. Hughes, who’s an Illinois native, used the idea as the newer title.
An Early Draft Of The Screenplay Was Found In A High School
You never know what you might find when you’re moving. Superintendent Ken Wallace found a file that had a manuscript from The Breakfast Club.
While moving to a building next door, the superintendent made the discovery, including that Universal gave the green light to rent out the school for $48,000. It’s the first draft of the screenplay. The cover has “Reviewed and approved by Dr. Murphy” scrawled in blue pen on the right side of the sheet.
The Cast Went Undercover At A Real High School
To get a real understanding of the suburban high school life, Hughes encouraged the cast to go undercover as students at Glenbrook North High School. But then, things escalated real quick thanks to Judd Nelson’s antics.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, the actor told some teens he was underage. On top that, Nelson even used a “fake ID” to buy them beer in exchange for a ride back to his hotel.
Emilio Estevez had discomfort on-set with one of his co-stars. The details are just around the corner!
Molly Ringwald Criticized The Movie’s Treatment Of Female Characters
The actress penned an honest essay in the New Yorker. Speaking specifically of the Breakfast Club, Ringwald brought up a scene where John Bender hides from a teacher by crouching beneath a desk to Claire. That’s when Bener looks up her skirt.
Discussing the topic of female subjugation, the Sixteen Candles star was concerned over similar scenes in a timeless classic that re-enforces hostile acts towards a woman.
The Iconic Poster Was Shot By Annie Liebovitz
Iconic photographer Annie Leibovitz has a history of shooting some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. She was best known for photographing John Lennon on the night of his assassination.
With the Brat Pack huddled in front of a white background, the five castmates were correctly put together in a single group shot. The image with Ringwald lying down on her side in front of the others would be the only one to serve as the film’s poster.
Emilo Estevez Had On-Set Discomfort
John Kapelos, who plays Carl the Janitor, got into a feud with Emilio Estevez. Kapelos took his role quite seriously, but the bad blood began when the actor was trying to film a scene while Estevez and Nelson were trying to make him laugh.
Angered by the lack of seriousness, Kapelos reference the heart attack of Martin Sheen. Little did Kapelos know, but Estevez was Sheen’s son, making the rest of their time together more uncomfortable.
Just ahead shortly, Molly Ringwald and the fired actress from the film are worth the read.
A Lot Of The Dialogue Was Improvised
Hughes was no rookie when it came to teenagers. The director was encouraging enough to the cast, especially with the ad-lib their dialogue. The cast brought in sincere aspects of their characters by adding their own personal experiences.
According to the actors, the crucial moment of the improv came when they were asked to tell their detention stories. Nelson was known for coming up with stuff on the spot, including the insult phrase “Neo-Maxi Zoom-dweebie.”
The Female Stars Had A Tasteless Scene Removed
Once Hughes pitched the concept for this movie, Universal wasn’t sold on how kids in detention would gather interest. Hughes re-worked the script, which contained some ideas reminiscent of his National Lampoon days.
According to Ringwald and Sheedy, the original script had something different. The scene had the boys peek at the school’s synchronized swim team, stumbling upon a topless P.E. teacher. When both actresses confronted Hughes, he cut the scene from the film altogether.
The Fired Actress And Molly Ringwald
Karen Leigh Hopkins landed her supposed breakout role before her writing career. Hopkins, whose writing credits include Stepmom, recalled her banishment from the film. She was supposed to play a P.E. teacher visiting the school for synchronized swimming practice.
She revealed that her role was much more revealing. Hopkins’ firing may have been over the scene, but instead of making tweaks for the scene, something else happened. Ringwald wanted Hopkins to be let go for good.
One of the cast members almost got fired. Find out who that was just ahead!
Maine North High School Was The Location Set For Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller
The school was used for the location of the movie after it closed in 1981. The library scenes in the film were shot in the school’s gym, where a set was constructed to make it look like one.
There was a plaque downstairs that commemorated the film being shot there too. Later on, the school was used as a training facility for the Chicago Blitz. In 1986, the school’s interior would be used for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
The Cast Suffered From Extreme Heat Exhaustion
Cinematographer Tom Del Ruth was among the few cast members responsible for one thing — capturing the opposing stereotypes of the film’s cast. With a closed set, he managed to capture the imaginations of the youths by giving a suffocating atmosphere.
This was a critical moment during the movie’s pivotal scene, but the lighting played an instrumental part of the film. The extreme heat from the lights would vary from 95 to 110 degrees.
Judd Nelson Was Almost Fired
Nelson remembered collaborating with Hughes to bring truthfulness to his portrayal of the rebellious John Bender. The St. Elmo’s Fire actor was the oldest of his castmates at 24 years old.
However, his method-acting approach became a bit troublesome. He developed a rivalry at times with Hughes, who nearly fired him. Encouraged by the director; Nelson played into his character’s no-rules, all-fun shenanigans by provoking his co-stars. For Ringwald, she was the butt end of her co-stars jokes.
One of Nelson’s co-stars got a major growth spurt. Guess who it was coming up.
Each Cast Member Took Part Of The Library Banister As A Souvenir
The cast got the opportunity to joke around on set and ad-lib many of their lines. Not only that, but the cast were pampered during the shoot. Speaking to USA Today, Ringwald fondly recalled having an excellent time filming her sophomore feature flick.
Like many of her co-stars, they became close when it was time to say goodbye. To make the last day of shooting enjoyable, Hughes gave each actor a part of the library’s banister.
The Dance Scene Was Almost Different
The dance scene is a classic. The scene is fitting as each character let loose during Karla DeVito’s “We Are Not Alone.” According to one cast member, the view was almost entirely different.
In the original script, only Claire dances. Ringwald went to the director about her insecurities as a dancer. Hughes revised the scene to have all the cast join in on the fun. To think, Ringwald worked as a jazz musician in her youth.
Anthony Michael Hall Had A Major Growth Spurt
Anthony Michael Hall was sixteen at the time the film was shot. However, the other cast-mates were already in their twenties. But, he did briefly date Ringwald while shooting. Recalling the ages of his co-star, Nelson spoke of Hall’s surprising growth spurt during shooting.
Nelson remembered being two inches taller than the actor during auditions. When it came time to shooting, Hall had outgrown his co-star. Of course, he jokingly stated he began “writing letters to geneticists.”
A bit of detailed information behind his characters are coming up soon.
Ally Sheedy Didn’t Like Allison’s Makeover
Allison Reynolds was the quiet loner of the group who was known as a basket case. Ally Sheedy spoke to Elle Magazine about her character. However, there was one scene she didn’t remember so fondly on.
In the scene where Claire gives Allison a makeover, the drastic change caught the eye of Andrew Clark. Nonetheless, Sheddy didn’t agree with the makeover. From her perspective, her character didn’t need a dramatic new look to appear beautiful.
Bender’s Blonde Joke Never Got An Ending
John Bender was the anti-hero of the group. There’s no denying his recklessness and joking mannerisms clashed with Vice Principal Vernon. Nelson let loose on set, mixing his personality into the character, including one scene where tells a joke.
While crawling through the air duct, Bender entertains himself with a blonde joke, a poodle, and a six-foot salami. Before he even goes into the punchline, he falls through the ceiling. The joke went unfinished.
Brian’s Social Security Number
As mentioned before, Hughes attended Glenbrook High School. Sherman High was the fictional name of the two-story library where the film takes place. Although Sherman is located in Illinois, not every character is from the same state.
With that being said, when Allison fetches Brian’s wallet, she reads off information from his ID. The most exciting bit was his social security number starting with “040”. That could mean Brian is from Connecticut.
It Was Originally Much Longer
After approaching Universal to direct The Breakfast Club, Hughes was asked to move on with Sixteen Candles. According to the now-defunct magazine Premiere, when it came time for filming to start, the studio asked the director to trim the film from two and a half hours to a shorter time.
With deleting many scenes, audiences missed out a steamier seven minutes between Claire and Bender. Hughes owns the only copy of the movie’s directors cut.
John Hughes Considered A Sequel
It’s no surprise that Hughes’ iconic film left a lasting impression on future generations. The Breakfast Club allowed the characters to reveal their emotional angst and familial issues that lie in the heart of coming-of-age stories.
Hughes’ thoughts of a sequel were heavy after the success of his sophomore film. He did have plans of revisiting the characters through prose. According to the director, the movie’s cast had “no excuse that could ever put them in the same room again.”