Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about any of them.
It’s been 36 years since a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal reported for detention at Shermer High in the Chicago suburbs, sacrificing a whole Saturday of their young lives and forming, in the process, The Breakfast Club.
The five principal stars of the classic dramedy, written and directed by John Hughes, all ended up as part of “the Brat Pack,” a term first prominently used in a 1985 cover story in New York magazine to describe some hot young (male) things who both worked and partied together.
The story referenced more than a few actors breaking out at the time and considered the first “Brat Pack” films to be 1981’s Taps (featuring newcomers Sean Penn and Tom Cruise) and 1983’s The Outsiders, and to this day there remain a slew of honorary members of the club, including Robert Downey Jr. But the moniker really stuck to the core five in The Breakfast Club and several other familiar faces from Joel Schumacher‘s St. Elmo’s Fire, which also came out in 1985.
Like it or not.
“The media made up this sort of tribe,” Andrew McCarthy, star of St. Elmo’s Fire and 1986’s Pretty in Pink, protested to People in 1999. “I don’t think I’ve seen any of these people since we finished St. Elmo’s Fire. I’ve never met Anthony Michael Hall.”
In February 2020, Hall told Page Six that the Brat Pack designation that started with the New York article “never really offended me or anything. It doesn’t bother me, but that’s where it came from. The joke was, I wasn’t even at the interview!”
But no one claimed that they all ran in a pack (McCarthy was notably on the outside of the Elmo’s inner circle even then). They were, however, a tribe of actors that (almost all) showed up more than once in these seminal coming-of-age films, akin to the pool of talent directors like Wes Anderson, Judd Apatow and Martin Scorsese have dipped into multiple times over the years.
“Brat Pack,” itself a play on the 1960s-era Rat Pack, was mainly just a catchy name that stuck. So much so that Vogue came up with a “New Brat Pack” in 2015 consisting of the likes of Justin Bieber, Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, real-life friends who didn’t act together but were growing up in public all the same, aided and abetted by reality TV and/or social media.
We know all about what the class of 2015 is up to, though. Time to check in on the class of 1985:
What were the chances, meanwhile, that Molly Ringwald, 33 years after she chose Blane over Jon Cryer‘s Duckie in Pretty in Pink, was going to end up in a movie with McCarthy’s son?
That’s right, she played the mom of Sam McCarthy‘s character in the indie drama All These Small Moments last year.
“So everything comes full circle,” Ringwald told Extra.
Hall mused to Page Six, “It was all just so surreal, it all happened to me at such a young age. I look back now, and it seems so big and I seem so old in my head, but it’s just like that for all of us. You look back and you realize, ‘Wow, I was just a kid.'”
Have You Seen Penn Badgley From “Gossip Girl” Lately?
Sheedy told NPR in 2010 that it was a “mixed bag” entering her 30s as an actress who was so closely identified with one character, and a teenage one at that, but ultimately she considered it a “blessing,” especially once she saw her daughter’s teenage friends still enjoying the movie 25 years later.
“Not a day goes by,” Sheedy said, “where I don’t have someone come up to me and tell me they were Allison in The Breakfast Club. Literally not a single day.” In 2015, Ringwald told TIME, ” If somebody told me that we would be on the phone talking about it 30 years ago, I don’t think I would have believed you. I always loved the movie, I loved it when I filmed it, I just didn’t know it would have the longevity that it seems to have had.”
(Originally published Feb. 15, 2020, at 3 a.m. PT)