Matthew Broderick’s Challenging Moments on the Set of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
In a recent appearance on The Hollywood Reporter’s “It Happened in Hollywood” podcast, Matthew Broderick shared anecdotes about the tense dynamics he experienced with director John Hughes while filming the iconic 1986 movie. Contrary to the carefree and lively atmosphere depicted on screen, the actor revealed instances of “head-butting” between him and Hughes. Broderick described Hughes as a filmmaker who carried deep concerns about the film’s outcome, fearing it wouldn’t meet his expectations.
One memorable incident involved an early costume test where Broderick, along with co-stars Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, and Jennifer Grey, roamed the streets of Chicago. However, what should have been a routine process turned into a major ordeal. Broderick recalled the aftermath, explaining how Hughes bluntly expressed his disappointment, deeming their performances in the test footage as “uninteresting” and “boring.”
Broderick further clarified, stating that while Hughes had a favorable opinion of some cast members, he personally fell into the category of those who didn’t meet the director’s expectations.
Broderick Surprised by Hughes’ Criticism and Reflects on On-Set Tensions
Matthew Broderick expressed his surprise at the negative feedback he received from director John Hughes, particularly after already having a notable role in the 1983 film War Games. Recounting the experience, Broderick shared that Hughes remarked on his performance, stating that he appeared “dead” or lacking in presence. While acknowledging that he sometimes frustrates directors with his seemingly inactive approach, Broderick clarified that Hughes was not the first to question his acting choices.
Nonetheless, the critique still bothered Broderick, leading him to suggest that Hughes find someone he preferred if that was his preference. Broderick described Hughes as someone who could become silently angry or distant when displeased, recounting instances when Hughes withheld feedback or appeared indifferent to his work.
Another disagreement arose when Hughes attempted to provide a note on Broderick’s facial expressions, which quickly escalated into a confrontation. Broderick explained his aversion to overly specific direction, causing Hughes to refrain from giving any guidance at all. The stalemate persisted until Broderick urged Hughes to resume directing him, resulting in what he considered their worst clash.
Fortunately, Broderick emphasized that these tensions were short-lived, often resolving with laughter and camaraderie. He portrayed Hughes as someone who took his work seriously and didn’t hold grudges, adept at diffusing conflicts and ensuring a positive atmosphere on set. Broderick humorously speculated that perhaps his own behavior was reminiscent of Ferris Bueller’s knack for annoying his parents, jokingly comparing Hughes to Frankenstein and himself to the monster.
Looking back, Broderick recognized Hughes’ dedication to his craft and his ability to foster an enjoyable working environment, noting that their disagreements never persisted for more than a day.