It’s been 35 years since the birth of the “Brat Pack” — a moniker coined in a New York magazine article that ended up defining a generation of iconic young actors during the 1980s.
The original article named Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson, Sean Penn and even Tom Cruise as members of the “Brat Pack.” As a number of other actors — including Anthony Michael Hall, Demi Moore, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy and Andrew McCarthy — began to appear together in the hottest teen-centered movies of the decade, they also became part of the unofficial “club.”
“What the ‘Brat Pack’ was … was this kind of a hit piece by New York magazine,” Hall told Page Six in a recent interview. “What they did, was sit all those guys down [Estevez, Lowe and Nelson], got them kind of drinking and talking about their exploits and yada yada, being dudes and all that crap, and I think what happened, was a lot of things got misconstrued and they titled the piece the ‘Brat Pack,’ and and it kind of stuck.”
The now-51-year-old actor added of the nickname, “It’s never really offended me or anything. It doesn’t bother me, but that’s where it came from. The joke was, I wasn’t even at the interview!”
Despite his absence from the initial interview, Hall earned his place in the group, starring in four classic ’80s films written by John Hughes, including “The Breakfast Club.”
Hall’s break came at 14 years old when he was cast in the 1983 comedy “Vacation” as Chevy Chase’s son, Rusty Griswold. Although the movie was written by Hughes (and directed by Harold Ramis), Hall wouldn’t meet Hughes until the following year when he was cast as Farmer Ted in “Sixteen Candles.”
“There was a soul connection there. He was always like a big brother. He was such a big influence in my life,” Hall said of Hughes, recalling how the director — who was in his 30s at the time — would take him and Ringwald to record stores on the weekends.
In 1984, five young actors — Hall, Ringwald, Estevez, Nelson and Sheedy — were cast in Hughes’ movie “The Breakfast Club.” They shot the film over 35 days in the gym of Maine North High School, a shuttered school in Des Plaines, Illinois, close to where Hughes and his wife Nancy lived.
“Another memory I have is just him being on the set and we were doing all those heavy emotional scenes,” Hall said of working alongside Hughes. “Everybody is crying about their high school problems and you would look over and see John right there laughing or crying with you through the takes.”
In 2018, Ringwald wrote an essay for The New Yorker, in which she pointed out scenes from Hughes’ movies that would be deemed inappropriate or offensive by today’s standards.
Hall has not read the piece, but said scenes in “Breakfast Club,” like Bender putting his head between Claire’s legs, or “Sixteen Candles,” when Jake traded his girlfriend for Samantha’s underwear, are definitely problematic.
“I mean the current context, absolutely. I think in that time, they were done in a good-spirited way. It wasn’t meant to offend, but I think as time has gone by, absolutely,” he said. “The truth is, I think it’s a great evolution to see that people are more sensitive to people and where they’re coming from. I think that’s healthy.”
Like any group of friends who spend a lot of time together, various Brat Packers ended up dating each other over the years — including Hall and Ringwald, who had a short fling following the wrap of “The Breakfast Club.”
“It was puppy love,” Hall said. “She didn’t have the time of day for me when we made ‘Sixteen Candles.’ We did ‘Sixteen Candles,’ and I was annoying to her! So it was really funny, it kind of hit me by surprise when we had our little thing there, but it was fun. She’s wonderful, a great lady. We’ve been friends since and I’ve seen her over the years.”
Hall went on to do “Weird Science,” the last film he would make with Hughes. He told us that Hughes — who died in 2009 from a heart attack at age 59 — wanted him to do both “Pretty in Pink” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” with him, but because of his schedule, he declined.
“It was, I think, upsetting for him,” Hall explained of Hughes. “It wasn’t a spiteful thing on my part or anything, it was more that I was moving on to new work and new opportunities. I hope that didn’t offend him, but I don’t really know. We didn’t stay in close contact in the years ahead. I kind of lost touch with him … but I can just hold on to the great memories I have. He welcomed me like a son.”
Hall has had a consistent career in Hollywood — a challenging feat for many in showbiz, especially former child stars. Following his Hughes films, Hall did a season of “Saturday Night Live,” a steady stream of films and possibly his biggest success since the ’80s — USA’s “Dead Zone,” which he starred in from 2002-2007.
However his career hasn’t been completely without scandal, including pleading no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge in 2017 after a fight with a neighbor. He was sentenced to 40 hours of community service.
Hall leads a quieter life these days. He runs a production company called Manhattan Films, which is set to go into production on their first series in the fall. It was recently announced that Hall has been cast in Blumhouse’s next “Halloween” movie, “Halloween Kills.”
He also mentioned that he’s developing a TV show, called “Singularity,” with fellow Brat Pack member Robert Downey Jr. as well as “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail.
This year, Hall is also set to wed his fiancée Lucia Oskerova. Hall has no children, and it will be his first marriage.
“We’ve been together for a bunch of years now and I’m very excited about it,” he said, adding they will tie the knot in Florida at the Fontainebleau.
Looking back at those first few films now, especially “The Breakfast Club,” Hall said, “It was all just so surreal, it all happened to me at such a young age.”
He added, “I look back now, and it seems so big and I seem so old in my head, but it’s just like that for all of us. You look back and you realize, ‘Wow, I was just a kid.’ In the context of a career and all that other stuff, I didn’t have any of those thoughts before working with John. It was just all new to me. I will forever be indebted to him and love him. I miss him.”
Source: Read Full Article