The best ’80s film of all time might have been radically different.
Three decades on from its 1985 release, The Breakfast Club remains the ultimate coming of age film.
The iconic movie explores the stories of a bunch of teens from different walks of life who find themselves stuck in detention. And it continues to resonate with viewers three decades on.
But it turns out that things could have been very different.
A new biography on the film’s writer and director, John Hughes, reveals that there was a sexist scene removed from the film before its release. And the women we need to thank for this change of heart are none other than Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy and co-producer Michelle Manning.
According to the book’s author Kirk Honeycutt, the young female stars of the film helped Hughes to acknowledge the misogyny of the original scene. This is the excerpt where he refers to that incident:
When Hughes came to shoot The Breakfast Club, the ex-Lampooner was still searching for the right tone for his own brand of teen film. During rehearsals in Chicago, his two young actresses, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy, joined swiftly by co-producer Michelle Manning, ganged up on him. They strongly objected to the gratuitous female nudity in the screenplay.
To break up a highly claustrophobic talkathon, Hughes had written a sequence in which the school’s synchronised-swimming team came by to practice with its extremely sexy P.E. teacher. The youngsters would sneak out of the library and find a peephole into the women’s locker room. There, they would spy the well-endowed P.E. teacher topless. Karen Leigh Hopkins, who would later find success as an actress and screenwriter, was cast in the role.
“This is really sexist and misogynistic”, they told Hughes. Why would you do this?
Hughes listened. That night he sat down to rewrite. The next morning Hughes came in with a new version, where a janitor replaced the P.E. teacher.
The original scene was not unlike much of Hughes’ work the time. His writing was largely shaped from his early career at National Lampoon magazine – a publication known for pushing the envelope.
But it was Hughes’ sensitive portrayal of teens, which developed during the ’80s, that carved him a name in Hollywood.
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Other favourites on John Hughes’ long list of accomplished films include Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Home Alone and Sixteen Candles. Flick through to check them all out for yourself. (Post continues below).
What’s your favourite John Hughes film? Do you think the scene deserved to be cut from the film?