Matthew Broderick reveals tensions with John Hughes over 'Ferris Bueller': 'He wasn't accommodating'

Matthew Broderick reveals tensions with John Hughes over ‘Ferris Bueller’: ‘He wasn’t accommodating’

In a new interview, Matthew Broderick says he occasionally “butted heads” with John Hughes during the making of the 1986 comedy classic Ferris Bueller’s day off.

“It wasn’t accommodating somehow,” says Broderick, 61, of the late writer-director legend on The Hollywood Reporter‘S It happened in Hollywood podcasts. “He was nervous that he wasn’t going to come out right.”

Broderick fondly recalls hours spent by Hughes’ Brentwood pool during filming, “smoking cigarettes and eating potato chips” as they discussed the role that would propel the then 23-year-old actor to superstardom.

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But things turned sour when filming began on location in Chicago in September 1985.

“I remember we had a costume fitting at the beginning,” Broderick recalls. “We walked the streets of Chicago in our costumes and they filmed us: me, Alan (Ruck), Jennifer Gray and Mia (Sara).

“It was a big drama. When the footage came back, she said none of us were “fun to watch.” We were “boring” in our tests. Actually, some of us liked it, but some of us didn’t, and I was one that didn’t like it,” he continues.

Broderick, who had already acted in numerous films and on Broadway in Neil Simon’s Brighton beach memories and its sequel Biloxi Blueshe was taken aback by Hughes’s harsh criticism.

“I had already done some work,” he says. “I did War games and all this. I was not a total newcomer. So to make him say, “I’m not used to seeing someone this dead” or whatever he said to me. I wasn’t really “in” or anything like that.

“It happened and I was like, ‘So get someone you like,’” she continues.

Broderick admits Hughes wasn’t the only director to confront him on set.

“I’ve heard it from other directors as well. Sometimes I drive people crazy because sometimes it seems like I’m doing nothing, it seems. But, hopefully, I eventually do. He’s not the first director who at some point takes me and says, ‘What’s wrong with you?’” says Broderick.

While that initial confrontation only lasted “half a day,” the two later found themselves at odds at other points in the shoot.

“He was someone who could get mad at you,” Broderick says of Hughes, who before Bueller had revolutionized teen comedies with Sixteen candles, Pretty in pink AND The breakfast club. “Not outwardly angry, but it showed. He would be dead. Without a face, I’d say, ‘What do you think?’ And he was like, “I don’t know.” Just nothing. ‘OK. John doesn’t like it.’”

“He said, ‘I love it when your eyes widen, and then narrow, and then wide again.’ I said, “If you tell me exactly what my face is doing, I get a little uncomfortable.” Now I’m thinking about my face. And he said to me, ‘Well, then I’m not going to direct you at all.’ … And for a few days he gave me nothing. Until finally I had to say, “John, you have to direct me, come on.” This was our worst movie,” he continues.

However, Broderick points out that disagreements with Hughes were short-lived.

“He took the job very seriously, that’s what I mean,” she says. “(John) was not a loose person. But he didn’t hold a grudge and knew how to get out of it ”.

Hear Broderick’s recollections of creation Ferris Bueller’s day off below and make sure you subscribe to It happened in Hollywood for more first-person accounts of the making of cinematic history.