The film that kicked off the John Hughes 1980s teen comedy streak is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Sixteen Candles put so well into perspective the emotional aggravations and insecurities that come with being a teenager. It also, of course, made huge stars out of Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall. Plus, it gave us the line, “no more yanky my wanky.” That’s gotta be up there with anything from The Godfather or Casablanca, right?
With Sixteen Candles rolling into its 30s, there’s no better time than now to dig up some trivia on how John Hughes went about making the 80s teen favorite.
1. Anthony Michael Hall won John Hughes over from his performance in Family Vacation. Hughes was so impressed with Hall’s geeky behavior in Vacation that he wrote Sixteen Candles‘ “geek/farmer Ted” character with Hall in mind — which of course then lead to his Breakfast Club part.
2. Viggo Mortensen was almost cast as Jake Ryan. It seems weird to think about, but we almost had Aragorn as Samantha’s love interest. Viggo Mortensen went up against Michael Schoeffling for the part, but lost because producer Michelle Manning thought Schoeffling was “dreamier.” Molly Ringwald later admitted that she was hoping Mortensen would get the part: “Michael Schoeffling did not kiss me during the audition – Viggo Mortensen did.”
3. Viggo Mortensen wasn’t the only future star to audition for the movie. Jim Carrey reportedly tried out for Hall’s part of “the geek,” and both Laura Dern and Robin Wright auditioned for Molly Ringwald’s role.
4. John Hughes gave a nod to himself with the cars’ license plates. The license plate on Jake Ryan’s Porsche reads 21850, which happens to be director John Hughes’ birthday (2/18/50). The plate on Samantha’s father’s car reads “V58”, which stands for “Vacation ’58”, a story written by Hughes while working for National Lampoon Magazine.
5. Hughes wrote a rough draft of the script over the course of a weekend. Hughes wrote the first draft of Sixteen Candles over the course of a weekend with Molly Ringwald specifically in mind for the part of Samantha. In a “completely not at all a little bit creepy way” Hughes posted Ringwald’s headshot on his bulletin board for character inspiration.
6. New York Magazine editor, David Blum, coined the nickname “Brat Pack.” Sixteen Candles might not feature the complete brat pack of Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson and Anthony Michael Hall, but it did kick off the Hughes teen movie run. Blum coined the term after profiling Emilio Estevez and noticing that Estevez and his buddies Lowe and Nelson, acted in a rather “bratty” behavior, asking to get into movies for free and just bringing a lot of attention to themselves.