Ringwald On 'The Breakfast Club': It's Timeless, But Don't Forget the Parents' Side
Molly Ringwald wouldn’t mind a sequel to the John Hughes 1985 classic The Breakfast Club — a sequel that tells the parents’ perspective, that is.
“It’s all from the kids’ point of view, so I would like to right now throw down the gauntlet and say there needs to be another movie from the parents’ point of view,” she told the audience at the Paramount Theater on Monday in Austin for a screening of the remastered 30th anniversary edition of the film. “There’s two sides to this story!”
Ringwald and co-star Ally Sheedy shared anecdotes from their time filming the teen classic before the screening at the South By Southwest Film Festival. Older now, and both mothers, they find themselves reminiscing of their years as teenagers but also having compassion for the struggle of parents who don’t always get things right. Fitting, then, that the event — a celebration that included free breakfast and commemorative T-shirts for attendees — began with the Barton Hills Choir from Barton Hills Elementary School singing Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” a hit released when their parents were kids themselves.
One day, those kids will probably watch The Breakfast Club, though, because its themes are timeless, the actresses said. “[It] affirms the experience of a young person,” Sheedy said. “You do matter; we are interested in you; and we’re gonna tell your story. For me, there’s something particularly loving about that. ‘Somebody really thinks that my life means something.’ “
“Our kids have Instagram, and Twitter, and there are still the same issues,” Ringwald said. “There’s still the same bullying issues, the same popularity issues. ‘Am I liked?’ Now they just make it really very tangible. Like, there’s a ‘like’ button now. It used to be slightly more subtle. ‘Am I liked? How many likes do I have?’ It’s the same stuff.”
Ringwald watched the movie with her daughter, then 10, last year, which she documented for This American Life. She said she was surprised to learn her daughter related more with Anthony Michael Hall’s character Brian than the others. Turns out, her daughter felt the same kind of pressure about grades and homework.
“It was just this incredible moment where I realized, I was the parent,” Ringwald said. “So much of the movie is about how parents suck. And I was one of those parents.” Hence, her suggestion for a Part Two: Perhaps The Brunch Club?
Other tidbits from the stars:
— That was not Ringwald’s underwear Judd Nelson gazed at during the crotch-shot scene. “I would never wear underwear like that,” she said. “… Now you’re all thinking about my underwear, aren’t you?”
— Ringwald didn’t actually use her breasts to put on lipstick.
— That wasn’t Sheedy’s hand catching the Coke can Nelson threw her way (it was a producer’s).
— Filming the lunch scene, Sheedy went through at least three Pixie Stix and Cap’n Crunch sandwiches.
— Nelson improvised some of his best lines, including “Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?”
— The group dance sequence came about because Ringwald, the only one originally supposed to dance, begged Hughes to make it a group effort.
And we all thank her for that.
After the Q&A, the two joined the SXSW audience to watch the film, at times turning to each other and whispering about various scenes. Sure, 30 years have passed and a lot has changed. But then again, nothing has. There will always be Breakfast Clubs — just not another Breakfast Club.
Sarah Carlson is Television Editor for Pajiba. You can find her on Twitter.