John Hughes Humiliated the Cast of ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ by Telling Them Their Work ‘Sucked’

John Hughes didn’t get along with the cast of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. At least in the initial stages of the filming process, Hughes was so uninspired by Matthew Broderick (Ferris,) Alan Ruck (Cameron,) and Mia Sara (Sloane) that he nearly quit making the film altogether.

And during the beginning stages of the filming process, Hughes took one look at the actors and decided that they “sucked.” It’s safe to say that this left the cast in a state of panic. At that point, they were willing to do anything to prove to their director that they were destined for their roles.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off | CBS via Getty Images

John Hughes initially disliked the stars of ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’

Hughes is known for his classic ’80s films, such as The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink. Ferris Bueller was a pivotal movie for the director, who would be working with an entirely new cast in a coming of age teen flick for the first time. No longer would he be working with the essential members of the Brat Pack, including Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall.

While he looked at several stars for Ferris’s role, (including Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr.,) he ultimately went with Broderick.

Yet despite Broderick mastering his role, Hughes was extremely against the casting choice at first. According to the Brat Pack memoir titled You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried, the director began missing his old movie stars from previous films.

“One of the days before Ferris started filming, when Hughes was looking at the pictures from a wardrobe test shoot featuring Broderick, Ruck, and Sara, he may have been missing the comfort and familiar camaraderie of his beloved coterie of earlier teen stars,” the memoir reports.

And as a result, Hughes quickly turned a cold shoulder to his new cast in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

John Hughes insulted the cast of ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ by telling them their work ‘sucked’

According to the Brat Pack memoir, Hughes told the cast that their wardrobe test “sucked.'”

The actors were confused because wardrobe tests are to determine whether the costumes are working, nothing more. “But somehow, Hughes had looked at the wardrobe test shots and seen something lacking in the actors themselves.”


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“Everybody was sitting around in a foul funk,” Broderick reveals. “It was like the world ended. John was very distraught because we had not shown any excitement in our wardrobe test. He felt that I looked dull and out of it. I thought the test was for the clothes, but it was also, I guess, to show that we were charming. And John was in a panic. He said, ‘I am not used to working with people who don’t- you don’t seem into it.'”

Apparently, this left Hughes very upset. But the director wasn’t the only distraught person. The entire cast, who had just essentially been told that they “sucked,” felt humiliated by Hughes’ insult. As a result, they were willing to do anything to win him over.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off became one of John Hughes’ most successful films

According to IMDb, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is Hughes’ second most successful film of all time. Followed by The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is still regarded today as one of his most unforgettable movies. It turns out all the drama and turmoil from the initial stages of filming paid off big time.