John Hughes: A Life In Film by Kirk HoneycuttJohn Hughes: A Life In Film by Kirk Honeycutt

John Hughes: A Life In Film

byKirk Honeycutt

Hardcover | March 10, 2015

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John Hughes wrote 46 movies, produced 23, and directed 8. He never went to film school, never spent time studying film and its history, but was unusually adept in three key areas—writing, directing and producing.

Classics like Mr. Mom; Sixteen Candles; The Breakfast Club; European Vacation; Weird Science; Pretty in Pink; Ferris Bueller's Day Off; Planes, Trains, and Automobiles; Uncle Buck; Christmas Vacation; Home Alone; and Beethoven will forever live on in the history of film. Launching the careers of Andrew McCarthy, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, and James Spader, and working with greats like John Candy and Chevy Chase, John Hughes's influence can still be felt today.

John Hughes: A Life in Film, by Kirk Honeycutt, former chief film critic at The Hollywood Reporter, is the first complete illustrated tribute to the legendary writer and director, and includes fresh interviews with Judd Nelson, Matthew Broderick, Christopher Columbus, Steve Martin, and more.

About The Author

Kirk Honeycutt is the creator of Honeycutt's Hollywood(www.honeycuttshollywood.com), the popular film review website. Honeycutt was the chief film critic for many years at The Hollywood Reporter and was a member of the prestigious Los Angeles Critics Association for over 36 years. He was a regular contributor to The New York Times, a c...

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Title:John Hughes: A Life In FilmFormat:HardcoverDimensions:0.64 × 9.25 × 10.88 inPublished:March 10, 2015Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1631061631

ISBN - 13:9781631061639

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Table of Contents

The Breakfast Club
“When you grow up, your heart dies.”
If ever a movie should have been shot on a Hollywood soundstage, it was The Breakfast Club.
Five characters in a single room needed no location shooting, hotel bookings, or per diems for cast andkey crew. But John had other ideas. He didn’t want to leave his family in Chicago, and he was adamant about doing the movie out of town since he felt the ensemble nature of the piece would benefit from everyone being in the same hotel.
Sure enough, a family atmosphere soon developed among the cast in the triangle of the Westin O’Hare Hotel, the Hughes family home, and a library set constructed in the gym of the shuttered Maine North High School nearby. In late winter and early spring, the cast had nowhere to go unless John invited them to dinner at his house or took them into the city to hear blues at a nightclub.
In the rehearsal period, he would give each of his young cast members a weekly cassette tape of mixed music styled for their individual tastes.
When Hall, who was staying with his mother and younger sister, had his sixteenth birthday, the whole cast went to Chuck E. Cheese’s. (John gave him a bass guitar.)
Closed down two years before, Maine North High had, due to its ugly cement-block structure, inspired an urban legend that the Mob was involved in its construction. The atmosphere was oppressive: so much, including the school hallway sets, was jammed into the high-school gym, not to mention the editing facility.
As the set was being constructed, John and his young cast went into “rehearsal” mode. This for John was an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other and to make changes in the script. In this case, though, the cast deconstructed it.
When John happened to mention a first draft of the screenplay, Estevez asked him how many drafts he had.
“A few,” John answered.
“Can we read them?” asked Estevez.
He brought out every draft of his script.
Everybody read through them and cherry-picked what worked best for his character.
“John sat on the floor cutting and pasting, and the next morning he brought in a new draft of the script,” said Manning. “He’d stayed up all night, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, and listening to music not released in the U.S. yet. He just power-wrote.”
For instance, Nelson recalled that Estevez’s monologue about taping a student’s butt together—which explains why Andrew got detention in the first place—actually came from an earlier draft. So the script was essentially rewritten even as the set was built.
At the first actual rehearsal of the opening scenes—held in another section of the school with tape on the floor and a few tables and chairs to indicate the set—roughly, everyone initially sat at the same table. Nelson turned to his director and said, “I’m not sitting with them. I don’t like them.”
“Where would you like to sit?” asked John.
Nelson looked at Hall. “I know Michael comes in before me so wherever he sits, that’s my seat.”
“That okay?” John asked Hall.
“It’s okay with me,” said Hall.
“I’m not going to sit with any of them either,” chimed in Sheedy.
“Where do you want to sit?” asked John.
“Way in the back, as far away as possible.”
“Fine,” said John.
And so the cast and John choreographed the movie’s opening moments, where wary students, who barely know one another, take seats in the deserted library in accordance with their prejudices and preconceived notions.
“Hughes encouraged collaboration, which was great,” said Nelson. “I thought all directors would be like that. I didn’t know how rare it is for directors to like actors. For most directors, actors are necessary evils.”
“I felt more and more open to do whatever I wanted to,” agreed Sheedy. “John was open to everything. It was a pretty incredible atmosphere to work in.”