'Pretty in Pink': 15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About the John Hughes Classic
Thirty years have passed since the release of "Pretty in Pink" (on February 28, 1986), and yet we're still bewildered by the teen romance's climax.
Maybe we need to think of the John Hughes-scripted film as Gen X's own "Casablanca." The ending makes more sense if you think of Duckie (Jon Cryer) as Humphrey Bogart, letting the woman he loves (Molly Ringwald's Andie) go off with the dull-but-decent guy (Andrew McCarthy's Blane) because he's finally admitted to himself that he's a chivalrous romantic who values her happiness above his own. Yeah, it's a stretch, but it's just one of many interpretations to spin out of this Hughes classic.
In honor of the film turning the big three-0, here are 15 surprising facts about the best movie ever named after a Psychedelic Furs song.
1. Hughes wrote the role of Andie Walsh for Ringwald, but even though she'd starred in his hits "Sixteen Candles" and "The Breakfast Club," Paramount initially wanted someone the studio perceived as a bigger star: Jennifer Beals. Fortunately for posterity, Beals said no.
2. Before he made his feature directing debut on "Pink," Howard Deutch was best known for directing music videos for such stars as Billy Idol and Billy Joel.
3. Hughes and Deutch almost chose the then-little-known Charlie Sheen to play Blane. But Ringwald told them she preferred McCarthy, saying, "That's the kind of guy I would fall in love with." Sheen, of course, ended up with a small but key role that same year in Hughes' "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
4. The filmmakers wanted Anthony Michael Hall for Duckie, but he'd done four John Hughes films in two years -- two of them with Ringwald -- and didn't want to repeat himself. Fisher Stevens auditioned for Duckie as well before the producers hired Jon Cryer.
5. Cryer (pictured left) was not Ringwald's ideal Duckie. She wanted Robert Downey Jr., then a little-known actor who'd played one of the bullies in Hughes' "Weird Science." She felt she had more romantic chemistry with him than with Cryer. In fact, she even suggested, a few years ago, that Cryer's Duckie might secretly be closeted, and that if the movie were made now, he'd be the gay best friend instead of the romantic rival. Ringwald finally got to romance Downey in 1987, when they co-starred in "The Pick-Up Artist."
6. Cryer didn't get along well with Ringwald or McCarthy during the shoot. "I think they were irritated by me from day one," he said last year. As for the gay-best-friend vibe he gave off, Cryer has said he understands. He often calls himself "an effeminate heterosexual dork" in interviews. Even his wife, entertainment reporter Lisa Joyner, has said she thought Cryer was gay when they first became friends.
7.James Spader proved he deserved the part of Steff by behaving obnoxiously at the audition. He arrived smoking a cigarette and stubbed it out on the floor. During the shoot, however, Cryer remembered him as "perfectly friendly and lovely to work with."
8.Anjelica Huston and Tracey Ullman were both up for the role of record-store manager Iona. Huston turned the role down, while Ullman had yet to master the flat Midwestern American accent.
9. Hughes ultimately chose Annie Potts to play Iona because he liked her performance in "Ghostbusters."
10. Duckie's record-store dance, where he lip-syncs to Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness," wasn't in the script. During his audition, Cryer had done a similar routine, performing both Michael Jackson's and Mick Jagger's parts in "State of Shock." Deutch wanted to have Cryer move like Jagger to the tune of the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up," but the filmmakers couldn't get the rights. Deutch ultimately picked the Redding chestnut and hired no less than choreographer Kenny Ortega ("Dirty Dancing") to plot Cryer's dance steps.11. As most "Pink" fans know, the film originally ended with Andie and Duckie getting together, but test audiences rejected that ending, so McCarthy had to return well after the film wrapped to shoot an Andie-and-Blane ending.
12. But what fans may not know is why McCarthy looks so different in the sequence. Turns out he'd gone on to act in a play, "The Boys of Winter," for which he had shaved his head, so for the reshoot, he had to wear a wig. He'd also lost a lot of weight for the play and is noticeably more gaunt than in the rest of the film.
13. The initial ending had been scored to Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark's "Goddess of Love," but the new ending required a new song. When OMD received the request for a new track, the band was just two days away from going on tour. In 24 hours, the band wrote and recorded the swoony "If You Leave," which made the sequence and became OMD's biggest hit.14. Other now-classic songs composed for the movie include Suzanne Vega's "Left of Center," New Order's "Shellshock," and Echo and the Bunnymen's "Bring on the Dancing Horses."
15. "Pretty in Pink" cost a reported $9 million to make. It earned back $40.5 million in North America.