Not only is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off regarded as one of John Hughes‘ best films, but it is also considered one of the greatest movies of the 1980s. Decades later, people still can’t stop talking about the iconic classic. But in the beginning stages of the filming process, there was a lot of tension on set.
Hughes didn’t get along with the film’s cast and insulted them before they even started shooting. In fact, he almost decided to end the movie altogether because of how much he didn’t like the actors.
John Hughes missed his old castmates from ‘The Breakfast Club’ and ‘Sixteen Candles’
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was a pivotal film for Hughes because it marked the first teen movie without Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall. Despite Hughes begging Michael Hall to star as Ferris, the actor refused and was ready to move onto new projects. So instead, the director got an entirely new cast of actors. Yet unfortunately, he was extremely critical of them before they even began shooting.
According to the memoir on ’80s films titled You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried, Hughes “may have been missing the comfort and familiar camaraderie of his beloved coterie of earlier teen stars.”
He was used to working with Ringwald and Michael Hall, who had collaborated with Hughes for years and had already developed a relationship with him. With the Ferris Bueller cast, Hughes didn’t have the same instant spark he shared with his previous set of actors.
And according to the memoir, this was extremely upsetting for him.
“Making Ferris Bueller’s Day Off gave John Hughes more money,” the book reports. “It gave him the chance to film in his hometown as a returning hero. It gave him even more power in Hollywood. But there was one thing it didn’t give him, something he’d grown to love on the set of his earlier teen films, perhaps even something he’d grown to need.”
“In the previous films,” says Mia Sara (who plays Sloane,) “he had developed very close relationships with a lot of those actors, and he really had created that environment that he sought to create, where he was one of them. And I think that didn’t happen with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
John Hughes almost quit making ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’
According to the memoir, the actor who plays Cameron (Alan Ruck) showed up for rehearsal in Hughes’s hotel room, where, he remembers, “Hughes was sitting ‘way far down at the other end of the room, smoking like a chimney.'”
“It was scary,” says Ruck. “Like, what’s going on? (We) asked John what was wrong. Then John said, ‘We saw the wardrobe test. It sucked.'”
The actors were confused because wardrobe tests determine whether the costumes are working, rather than one’s acting abilities. “But somehow, Hughes had looked at the wardrobe test shots and seen something lacking in the actors themselves.”
Matthew Broderick had to prove himself to John Hughes
After the wardrobe test, Hughes had a long talk with the cast where he suggested they end filming for good. He was upset that the actors hadn’t brought their charisma to the fitting.
“I thought the test was for the clothes, but it was also, I guess, to show that we were charming,” said Broderick. “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.’ He was very upset.”
But the actors were determined to make the movie and thus willing to take whatever criticisms Hughes had for them. And fortunately, by the time filming wrapped up, they all got along.
“By the end, we were at such ease with each other,” reports Broderick. “We just enjoyed each other, and we had absolute ease working together. By the end of shooting, we really did.”