Movies

Anthony Michael Hall Almost Played Ferris And Other Facts About ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’

John Hughes was the king of the ’80s, and his movies are still considered classics to this day. Hughes was able to tap into a certain aspect of the teenage experience that really resonated with audiences in a way that is rarely seen today. While he definitely created a number of iconic characters of cinema, perhaps his most well-known is Ferris Bueller.

In Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Hughes created a hero that wasn’t particularly likable. He isn’t kind to his best friend, he strings along his girlfriend, and really buys into the cult of personality around himself at school. However, he’s so darn charismatic that you can’t help but root for him.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of the biggest movies from the ’80s, so take a look at some interesting facts surrounding one of the ultimate teen wish-fulfillment films.

Love Was All Over That Set… At Least Temporarily

Despite playing a brother and sister onscreen, Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey were engaged during the filming. They would eventually call it off, with Broderick marrying Sarah Jessica Parker and Grey marrying Clark Gregg. Additionally, Cindy Pickett and Lyman Ward, who played Mr. and Mrs. Bueller, met and fell in love on set as well. They would eventually marry and have two children before separating in 1992.

The Ferrari Was A Model

Cameron’s father’s car and Ferris’s destruction of it serve as a focal point of the film and a real generator of strife between the friends. Driving and destroying a real 1963 Ferrari California Spyder just wasn’t in the budget for the film, so three replicas were made by a company called Modena for a fraction of the cost. Just last year, one of the replicas sold at an auction for $235,000.

The Cast Was Almost The Breakfast Club 2.0

Molly Ringwald really wanted the role of Sloan, but Hughes didn’t think that the role was big enough for her. Anthony Michael Hall is convinced that Hughes wrote the part of Ferris for him and that a falling out between the two affected that, despite Hughes saying that Matthew Broderick was his first choice for the role from the beginning. Emilio Estevez also turned down the role of Cameron.

Most Major License Plates Reference A John Hughes Film

If you look closely, you can see that most of the primary license plates in the film references other films from Hughes oeuvre. While the Ferrari’s was “NRVOUS” (appropriate), Mr. Bueller’s was “MMOM” for Mr. Mom, Jeannie’s was “TBC” for The Breakfast Club, and Principle Rooney’s was “4FBDO” for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

No, Charlie Sheen Was Not High

While it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Sheen, he was not going method for his scene in Bueller. Instead, he stayed up for two days straight to get the disheveled, strung out look of a junkie.

Though Set In Chicago, The Bueller Residence Was In California

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is considered Hughes’ “love letter to Chicago,” but all the scenes at the Bueller residence were filmed at a home in Long Beach, California. The production team simply walked up to the Balkman residence and asked if they could film there. The family obliged and even remained in the home during the ten days of filming. Ferris’s bedroom was styled after their oldest son’s, and the dog door that Principle Rooney crawls through was added for the film. Also, since it was supposed to pass for Chicago, the crew meticulously modified the giant eucalyptus trees in the yard to look like pines.

Robert Smith Wrote Some Music For The Film That Was Never Used

The Cure’s frontman apparently wrote some music for the art museum scene, and had been working with music supervisor David Anderle on the project. However, during production, Anderle and Hughes had a falling out, and Anderle eventually walked away from the project. Consequently, Smith’s score wouldn’t appear onscreen.

Ben Stein Was Supposed To Give His Monologue Off Camera

Stein wasn’t supposed to be onscreen during his monologue, but the extras kept cracking up at his work, so Hughes decided to put him on camera. Stein wrote his own monologue, because Hughes asked him to write about something he knew, hence the economics. Can you imagine the film without the oft-quoted “Bueller? Bueller?” line?

Broderick Couldn’t Do Most Of The Choreography He Was Taught

The parade scene was choreographed by the legendary Kenny Ortega, but Broderick had injured his knee so he wasn’t able to do most of what he had been taught. Also, during that scene, the footage of the construction worker busting a move was spontaneous and unscripted. And despite her character not being in the scene, Jennifer Grey wanted to be a part of the parade, donning a wig to go unnoticed by viewers.

An Early Screening Of The Film Was An Utter Disaster

The end product is a real testament to Hughes’ skill as a filmmaker. Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, and Jeffrey Jones saw an early screening of the film a few months before it’s release and didn’t laugh once. In the book You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried, Paramount executive Ned Tanen explained the panic that everyone felt after that screening, but how Hughes took it all in stride.

“It was a disastrous screening,” said Tanen, who was top brass at the studio at the time. But John Hughes could sense what needed to be done to turn things around. “Hughes said, ‘Leave me alone for two weeks,’” remembered Tanen, “And he took the thing and edited it, and it was brilliant. There was an editor, obviously, but Hughes did it — he was that good.”

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