In 1986, acclaimed writer/director John Hughes released his teen comedy classic Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The carefree Ferris Bueller ditches school to take his hypochondriacal best friend Cameron Frye and sophisticated young girlfriend Sloane Peterson out for the adventure of a lifetime through the city of Chicago.
Since its release, Ferris Bueller's Day Off has been lauded as an American classic and an must-watch coming-of-age story for young cinephiles everywhere. Here are 13 pieces of trivia from the quintessential teen film that even the biggest FBDO fan may not have known:
1. Ferris's Parents Were Married In Real Life
Ferris's parents were played by Cindy Pickett and Lyman Ward. After meeting on the set of the movie, the actors married in real life in 1986. The couple had two children together but divorced in 1992.
2. John Hughes Has A Secret Cameo
John Hughes' hand can be seen pressing the speaker button in the scene where Cameron answers the phone from his bed. The director found that no one could nail the shot the way he wanted it so after the crew left he filmed it himself. Looks like he was able to sneak in a little cameo right under our noses.
3. John Hughes Considered Casting Molly Ringwald
Molly Ringwald was briefly considered to play Sloane, but the role ended up going to Mia Sara because she had a level of elegance that Ringwald — who played the classic all-American teen so well — lacked. In the book You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation, Ringwald said:
"John wouldn't let me do it. He said that the part wasn't big enough for me."
4. These Young Stars Also Got The Call To Play Ferris
Even though Hughes wrote the role of Ferris with Matthew Broderick in mind, the list of casting might-have-beens for the role of Ferris includes some pretty familiar names and a handful of John Hughes favorites. Apparently Rob Lowe, Robert Downey Jr., John Cusack, Michael J. Fox, Johnny Depp, and Tom Cruise were considered for the part, but Hughes stuck with his gut.
5. Ferris Owned A Number Of Pricey Gadgets
Ferris shouldn't really complain that he got a computer instead of a car. Other than using the computer to help erase a few absences from his record, he also owned some expensive toys, so don't feel too bad for him. The E-MU Emulator II synthesizer that he owned cost a whopping $8,000 when the movie was filmed.
6. Ferris And Cameron Were Far Too Old To Be High School Students
Even though they play two 18-year-olds, Matthew Broderick and Alan Ruck were far older than their characters at 23 and 29, respectively. Mia Sara, was a far more age-appropriate 18, which reportedly shocked Hughes as he was initially looking to cast an older, more mature actress.
7. The Crash Scene Drew Hate Mail From Car Lovers
The famous scene where Cameron crashes his dad's rare 1961 Ferrari GT250 drew a lot of negative attention from car aficionados after the film's release. What they didn't know, however, was that the wrecked car wasn't a real Ferrari. They didn't have room in the budget for a real one, so they modified three MG sports cars with fiberglass bodies.
8. Matthew Broderick Improvised Some Of His Best Lines
Matthew Broderick was a natural improviser, and a couple of those lines actually made it into the movie. The scene where he plays the clarinet was improvised after he spotted the instrument on set and lied about knowing how to play. He then added the classic line, "Never had one lesson!" Broderick also came up with the bit using the coughing keyboard samples.
9. John Hughes Wrote The Movie In Less Than A Week
Although widely considered an iconic piece of American filmmaking, John Hughes — a famously fast writer — wrote the screenplay in under a week. Still, it wasn't nearly as quick as Sixteen Candles, which was written over the course of a weekend.
10. John Hughes Filmed Outside His Old High School
The high school that Sloane and Mr. Rooney can be seen standing in front of when waiting for "Mr. Peterson" was actually John Hughes' alma mater.
11. Charlie Sheen Seriously Committed To His Role
Charlie Sheen was able to achieve his very tired and strung out look for his police station cameo by staying up for two days before filming. Sheen recently reprised the role briefly in an episode of ABC's The Goldbergs.
12. There Was A Short-Lived Ferris Bueller Spin-Off Series
There was a Ferris Bueller TV Series that starred Charlie Schlatter as Ferris and Jennifer Aniston as Jeannie. The show was canceled after just one season. In an interview with William Ham, John Hughes confirmed he wanted nothing to do with the show, saying:
"Same with the TV shows. I tried to talk them out of doing 'Ferris Bueller' as a series — talking to the camera is real hard, a lot harder than it looks, and I knew it'd never work, but they didn't listen."
13. Hughes Added Easter Eggs Referring To His Other Movies
In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a number of the cars license plates refer to his other movies.
- Jeannie — TBC (The Breakfast Club)
- Ferris's dad — MMOM (Mr. Mom)
- Ferris's mom — VTN (National Lampoon's Vacation)
Of the many impressive titles in John Hughes' filmography, none have ever had such a resounding effect on my teen years as Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It's always important to be reminded that "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Which John Hughes movie is your favorite?