Ferris Bueller: Matthew Broderick Reveals Clashes With John Hughes

A star was born in 1986, when Matthew Broderick stole the attention of moviegoers around the country in John Hughesiconic teen comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. His turn as the titular Ferris made Broderick a household name, and the film is still remembered as one of the quintessential comedies of the ’80s. As fondly as we remember Ferris Bueller now, Broderick and Hughes had some issues working together to bring it to life.

Appearing on The Hollywood Reporter‘s It Happened in Hollywood podcast, Broderick opened up about the on-set disagreements between himself and Hughes.

“He was not easygoing in some ways. He was nervous it wouldn’t come out right,” Broderick explained. “I remember we did a costume test early on. We walked around the streets of Chicago in our costumes and they filmed us — me, Alan [Ruck], Jennifer Grey, and Mia [Sara]. That was a big drama. When the footage came back, he said none of us were ‘fun to watch.’ We were ‘boring’ in our tests. Actually, some of us he did like, but some he did not, and I was one he did not.”

“I had already done some work,” Broderick continued. “I had done War Games and all that. I was not a total newcomer. So to have him say, ‘I’m not used to having somebody be so dead,’ or whatever he said to me. I wasn’t really ‘in it’ or something. That happened and I said, ‘So get somebody you like.'”

Broderick went on to say that other directors had similar reactions to him at times during different productions, so the issues with Hughes were nothing new.

“We was somebody who could get angry at you,” Broderick said of the filmmaker. “Not outwardly angry, but you could tell. He would turn dead. Dead-faced. I would say, ‘What did you think of that?’ And he’d say, ‘I don’t know.’ Just nothing. ‘Okay, John doesn’t like that.’

“He said, ‘I like when your eyes go wide, and then smaller, and then go wide again.’ I said, ‘If you tell me exactly what my face is doing, I get kind of self-conscious. Now I’m thinking of my face.’ And he was like, ‘Well, then, I won’t direct you at all.’ And for a few days, he didn’t give me anything. Until finally I had to say, ‘John, you have to direct me, come on.’ That was our worst one.”

Ultimately, Broderick thinks that it all just came down to how seriously Hughes took his work. He never stayed angry for a long time and there weren’t any grudges between the two.

“He took the work very seriously is what I mean,” he said. “[John] wasn’t a loosey-goosey person. But he also didn’t hold a grudge and knew how to get himself out of it.”