Matthew Broderick Recalls John Hughes Calling His ‘Ferris Bueller’ Performance ‘Boring’

Matthew Broderick is reflecting on having more than a few off days on the set of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

Broderick detailed working with director John Hughes on the 1986 teen comedy, which also starred Alan Ruck, Jennifer Grey, Mia Sara, and Charlie Sheen.

“He was not easygoing in some ways,” Broderick said of Hughes during The Hollywood Reporter’s “It Happened in Hollywood” podcast. “He was nervous it wouldn’t come out right.”

Broderick continued, “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, Jennifer Grey and Mia. 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.”

Broderick noted that he was a “not a total newcomer” prior to his breakout “Ferris Bueller” role, citing his part in “War Games.” However, Broderick had not experienced butting heads with a director like Hughes at the time.

“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,” Broderick recalled. “That happened and I said, ‘So get somebody you like.’”

Broderick shared another memory of working with Hughes on set, saying, “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 I finally had to say, ‘John, you have to direct me, come on.’ That was our worst one.”

The “No Hard Feelings” actor added, “He was somebody who could get angry at you, 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. ‘OK. John doesn’t like that.’”

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

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