To Live and Write in LA

SXSW: Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy Come Back to ‘The Breakfast Club’

(Originally published on Blogcritics.org)

SXSW hosted the premier of the restored classic, The Breakfast Club, written and directed by John Hughes. But the event wasn’t so much a premier as it was a celebration of a movie that has touched a generation or two. With its upcoming special theatrical showings and release to Blu-ray and video, it is sure to touch a few more.

Molly Ringwald

Molly Ringwald at the premier of the restored ‘The Breakfast Club’

For those few of you who have never seen this film, it is about a group of teens trapped in a day-long Saturday detention in a prison-like school library. Claire, the princess (Molly Ringwald); Andrew, the jock (Emilio Estevez); John, the criminal (Judd Nelson); Brian, the brain (Anthony Michael Hall); and Allison, the basket case (Ally Sheedy) begin the day with nothing in common, each bound  in place in the high school caste system. By the end of the day, they are all changed.

The crowd outside Austin’s historic Paramount Theater was as excited as any at a Hollywood premier. Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy definitely have a strong fan base in Texas.

When the doors opened, we were given Breakfast Club t-shirts and treated to a breakfast (albeit at 1:30 pm) of donuts, coffee, and mimosas. Thank you, Universal Studios.

When the crowd was seated, we were treated to a performance of  the song most closely associated with the film, “Don’t You Forget About Me,” by a local junior high school choir. The audience sang along.

The Q&A with Ringwald and Sheedy before the showing revealed funny and sometimes touching insights.

Ally Sheedy

Ally Sheedy on the red carpet at SXSW

There is a dance segment in the film. Ringwald explained that the script had just her character doing “an interpretive dance” ; “I begged John to let me out of it. I cannot dance. That’s when he came up with the idea of everyone dancing.” She added, “Ally is the only one who had any good moves.”

There was a question about the punch line to a joke being told by the character Bender, played by Judd Nelson. Bender is telling the joke as he is navigating the crawl space above the ceiling while escaping from a closet where he had been locked up. He never gets to the punch line because he falls through the ceiling.

“There was no punch line,” Sheedy explained. “Judd just made up the joke as the scene was being filmed.”

Both women had high praise for Hughes’ talents as a director. Sheedy said that she was pretty sure he told each of them individually “I’m you,” meaning, “I see myself in your character.”

Ringwald countered, “Except maybe for the janitor character.”

The two actresses agreed on what made the film so powerful and emotionally compelling. “At times,” Ringwald said, “we are all of those characters.”

Andrew Meyer

Andrew Meyer, Executive Producer of ‘The Breakfast Club’

Before this filmic-religious experience began, I had the opportunity to sit down with the executive producer ofThe Breakfast Club, Andrew Meyer and talk about the film. I was joined by Spencer Fornaciari of MACGUFFIN Podcast, where you will be able to see the entire interview.

Meyer shared that, of course, when the film was being made, no one thought that in 30 years there would be a celebration like this. He recalled that he read the script and liked the concept, but when Hughes said he had to direct and it would all take place in one room, “red lights began to go off.”

Meyers said that he envisioned the production as a low budget, under 1 million, indie. “Then Universal called,” he said, “with more money and distribution, so we produced it with them. They surrounded John with the best people and built the library from scratch in an abandoned gym. There were no negatives.”

Meyers now teaches at the Savanah College of Art and Design. “Kids still go bananas over this movie,” Meyers said. “Not only here, but everywhere I go kids have seen The Breakfast Club. I was in Santiago, Chile, recently and even there everyone knows and loves it. When everyone tells me they like it, it makes me feel great. Inspiring young minds and making people happy is a pretty good life.”

The Breakfast Club 30th Anniversary Edition is available on Blu-ray with Digital HD & DVD now. For two nights only, March 26 and 31, Fathom Events will present the film in select theaters across the country. For ticket information check http://www.breakfastclub30.com/.

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