John Hughes wanted Jennifer Beals, not Molly Ringwald, to star in ‘Pretty in Pink’

02.17.16 1 year ago

In an alternate universe somewhere, a homemade pink dress was the prom attire that stuck it to the snobby rich kids, worn not by Molly Ringwald – but by Jennifer Beals.

And that”s almost what happened in our universe. On the latest episode of Alec Baldwin”s podcast Here”s The Thing, Ringwald revealed why she nearly lost her Pretty in Pink lead role to Beals, who was fresh off of the success of 1983″s Flashdance. Turns out John Hughes was pissed at his red-headed Breakfast Club star at the time Pretty in Pink production was about to begin, and he decided Beals could play Andie – a character Hughes had written specifically for Ringwald.

Here”s the conversation between Ringwald and Baldwin about how she almost lost, then managed to keep, her role in Pretty in Pink – which celebrates its 30th anniversary later this month.

Ringwald: I have Howie [Pretty in Pink director Howard Deutch] to thank for that movie because John had written it for me, but by the time it was time to make this movie, and he had moved from Universal to Paramount, John was mad at me and didn”t want me to do the movie. They were going to cast Jennifer Beals cause she had just had a success with Flashdance.
Baldwin: In which movie?
Ringwald: In Pretty in Pink! The movie that was cast for me, they were going to cast Jennifer Beals, and Howie was actually the one that said, ‘But no, Molly has to be in this. This is for Molly.”
Baldwin: But why was John mad at you?
Ringwald: Because that”s what he did. Maybe you didn”t work with him enough or know him well enough – 
Baldwin: No, I only worked with him the one time [in She”s Having a Baby].
Ringwald: If you got close to John, then, inevitably, you were not close to John cause he got mad at you.

The discussion begins at about the 17-minute mark on the February 16 episode of Baldwin”s podcast.

Ringwald has spoken in the past about the the rift that developed between her and Hughes when she decided to move away from the teen comedy genre. After Hughes” death in 2009, in a piece published in the New York Times, Ringwald revealed that she hadn”t spoken to her Sixteen Candles director in 20 years. “Most people who knew John knew that he was able to hold a grudge longer than anyone – his grudges were almost supernatural things, enduring for years, even decades ,” she wrote. “I wanted to grow up, something I felt (rightly or wrongly) I couldn”t do while working with John. Sometimes I wonder if that was what he found so unforgivable. We were like the Darling children when they made the decision to leave Neverland. And John was Peter Pan, warning us that if we left we could never come back.”

Ringwald”s projects since her “80s “It Girl” days have never really elevated her in the public consciousness beyond the Hughes teen comedies she is best known for. Though she did leave Neverland to work on projects like Stephen King“s The Stand, Ringwald confessed on Baldwin”s podcast, “If I had to do it over again, I would have worked with [Hughes] more.”

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