Welcome back to How’d They Do That? In this series, we check out what it took to make some of cinema’s classics! Event Cinemas “In The House” cult film program kicks off its new season with the 80’s hit, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off , so we thought we’d take a look back at this essential teen comedy.John Hughes is the quintessential teen comedy writer, everything that he produced in the 1980’s was a sure fire hit. After 16 Candles and The Breakfast Club and in the heat of a writers strike, writer/director Hughes was stuck with the problem of producing a script for a movie that he hadn’t even conjured up yet. Six days later he had the first draft for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The titular character of Ferris was written for actor Matthew Broderick as Hughes knew that:
“He was the only actor that had the charisma to pull it off”
He had based the character of Cameron on an old friend from school:
“He was sort of a lost person. His family neglected him, so he took that as license to really pamper himself. When he was legitimately sick, he actually felt good, because it was difficult and tiring to have to invent diseases but when he actually had something, he was relaxed.”
John Hughes had a way of bringing out the best in his actors, taking numerous takes for scenes and allowing the actors to ad-lib parts of the script and even just play around while the camera was rolling. He was after something real, something that might only come out once the actors had left their shell. For example, Cameron’s “He can’t hit, he can’t hit” call from the Cubs game, was completely spontaneous and not part of the script. The shot of Ferris playing the clarinet was done on the spot. Someone spotted the instrument as part of the set and Matthew Broderick said he could play it, which of course he couldn’t.The infamous car of the film, the 1961 Ferrari 250GT was valued at $350,000 at the time of filming, so rather than waste the film’s budget on the insurance of such a car, replicas were produced from an old MG chassis with a fiberglass shell to make it appear like the original. Recently the same car sold for over $10 Million.It’s hard to think of Ferris Buller’s Day Off and not think of the city of Chicago. Hughes grew up in the area and saw this movie as a chance to get out make the movie into a sort of love letter to the city of Chicago. This is evident in all the shots and locations used throughout the movie including the Sears Tower and the Art Institute of Chicago.The biggest sequence of the film comes from the parade scene. While it was in the script, the film crew got lucky with a Von Steuben Day Parade that was scheduled to be happening during their shoot. The scene called for over 10,000 extras, most of which were there to see the parade, others showed up after the producers made a radio ad, calling for volunteers for a John Hughes film. Kenny Ortega (choreographer for Michael Jackson’s This Is It) had laid out an entire dance sequence that Matthew Broderick would perform but after weeks training for the sequence, Broderick had an injury on set that stopped him from performing most of the moves. The dance moves that we do see in the final film are mostly spontaneous.Broderick had said in a previous interview:
“For the final shot, I turned around and saw a river of people. I put my hands up at the end of the number and heard this huge roar. I can understand how rock stars feel. That kind of reaction feeds you.”
While the film itself didn’t go through all the special effects and character creation that you would expect from a regular How’d They Do That, the crew was forced to paint the leaves of the trees green throughout a lot of the filming of the movie as it was shot in autumn but was set in spring. The season had caused a lot of the trees to go orange.Well, that’s it for this How’d They Do That. Did we miss something, or would love to see some behind the scenes of your favourite movie? Let us know in the comments below!