This Week in 1986: 'Pretty in Pink'


You don't need us to tell you what an iconic movie 'Pretty in Pink' was. (Well, if you do, read this.) A quarter-century after its release (on Feb. 28, 1986), it remains the model for teen-romance movies, the dramatic peak of Molly Ringwald's career as a teen idol (also, the moment she graduated from John Hughes High School to enter the uncertain world of adulthood), and a defining pop-culture moment for Gen X–ers. Still, even if you've watched the movie dozens of times (as if this time, for once, maybe Andie wouldn't throw over Duckie for Blane), there still may be some things about it that you don't know.

1. Robert Downey Jr. almost played Duckie. He was Molly Ringwald's first choice, and she reportedly felt more of a romantic spark with him than the brother-sister vibe she felt with Jon Cryer. Ringwald and Downey did get to play a couple the following year, in 'The Pick-Up Artist,' but does anyone think those two had more chemistry than Ringwald and Cryer?

Related Links:
'Pretty in Pink' Cast: Where Are They Now?
50 Greatest Music Scenes in Movies


2. There was an ending where Andie and Duckie ended up together. But test audiences didn't like it, so Hughes re-shot the finale months later. Andrew McCarthy (Blane) was called back from Broadway, where he'd shaved his head and lost weight for a stage role. He wears a wig and seems notably thinner in the final sequence than in the rest of the film.

3. Yes, that's Andrew "Dice" Clay. Playing the club bouncer whom Duckie tries to sway is a pre-fame Clay, whose character in the movie, like Clay's stand-up comedy persona, is called the Dice Man. Other pre-fame walk-on parts in the movie went to Gina Gershon, Dweezil Zappa and (as Duckie's prom consolation-prize girl) future vampire slayer Kristy Swanson.

4. 'Pretty in Pink' with a sex change: That's pretty much what 'Some Kind of Wonderful' is. In 1987, Hughes essentially rewrote 'Pretty' with the genders reversed, only this time, the red-haired protagonist (Eric Stoltz) ends up with the bohemian lapdog instead of the conflicted rich kid. The movies even had the same director, Howard Deutch. Ringwald turned down role of the lovelorn girl, as she felt the movie was too similar to the work she'd already done. The role went to Mary Stuart Masterson, and Hughes never spoke to Ringwald again.

5. Was Duckie Gay? Ringwald suggested as much last fall in a reunion interview for Entertainment Weekly with co-stars Cryer and Annie Potts. Asked where their characters would be today, Cryer suggested that Andie would have eventually split from Blane but stayed lifelong friends with Duckie. "And I'm sure that Duckie came out by now," Ringwald added. Cryer disagreed, but c'mon, the guy had poufy hair, outrageous fashion sense and killer dance moves (see No. 18 on this list). And no girlfriend.

This Week in Movie History

1915 (March 3): 'Birth of a Nation' premieres in New York. D.W. Griffith's movie about Reconstruction-era America becomes trailblazing hit, pretty much inventing the feature-length epic and modern film storytelling as we know it. Its undeniable racism also makes it instantly controversial and the source of countless censorship battles that persist to this day.

1936 (Feb. 27): At a time when most movie actors are still studio staffers paid a weekly wage, 20th Century Fox signs seven-year-old Shirley Temple to an unprecedented $50,000-per-movie deal. Within two years, the singing, dancing moppet is Hollywood's top box office draw.

1978 (March 2): Just two months after his death, grave robbers steal the remains of Charlie Chaplin from a Swiss cemetery and try to ransom them to his family for $600,000. Five weeks later, police arrest the two corpse-nappers and recover the body, which is reburied under six feet of concrete.

1994 (March 4): John Candy dies of a heart attack at age 43 on the set of the movie 'Wagons East!' The Western spoof manages to finish shooting without him, but a huge void remains in the comedy landscape.

This Week in Celebrity Birthdays

Elizabeth Taylor has been frightening fans with her health scares for 50 years, but she made it to age 79 on Feb. 27. Fellow legend Joanne Woodward turned 81 the same day. Director Ron Howard turned 57 on March 1, and daughter Bryce Dallas Howard hit the big 3-0 the next day. Perpetual starlets Jessica Biel and Eva Mendes have birthdays this week; Biel turns 29 on March 3, and Mendes is 37 on March 5.




Going Out? New and Noteworthy This Week


'Rango' (PG)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina, Bill Nighy, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Winstone, Timothy Olyphant
Directed By: Gore Verbinski
What's It About? It's the classic Western tale of the unlikely outsider who rides in and saves the town - only this time, all the characters are odd-looking animals.
Why Should You See It? Because the lead chameleon is played, aptly, by Johnny Depp. Who's reuniting with his 'Pirates of the Caribbean' director, Gore Verbinski. Advance buzz suggests this movie is clever enough to appeal to parents while delighting their kids.
You Might Like It If You Like: 'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,' 'Blazing Saddles,' 'High Plains Drifter'

Showtimes & Tickets | Reviews
Family Film Guide: 'Rango' | 'Rango' Review: 'Endearingly Weird'

Watch Trailers, Clips and Reviews for All of This Week's New Releases


'The Adjustment Bureau' (PG-13)

Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, Shohreh Aghdashloo, John Slattery
Directed By: George Nolfi
What's It About? A rising politician (Damon) sees his romance with a ballerina (Blunt) thwarted by a shadowy organization of fedora-wearing men who can change destiny.
Why Should You See It? It's based on a story by Philip K. Dick, whose sci-fi tales have produced several reality-warping film classics. Damon is a reliable action lead. The visuals seem to be aping those of 'Inception' - not that that's a bad thing.
You Might Like It If You Like: 'Blade Runner,' 'Total Recall' 'The Bourne Identity'

Showtimes & Tickets | Reviews
5 Best Philip K. Dick Movies | 'Adjustment Bureau' Review
Unscripted: Matt Damon and Emily Blunt on Fate, Free Will and Monkeys

'Beastly' (PG-13)

Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen, Peter Krause, Neil Patrick Harris
Directed By: Daniel Barnz
What's It About? An unearthly freak played by Alex Pettyfer romances a girl played by an actress best known as a singing high schooler (Hudgens). Sound familiar? In this case, he's not an alien but an arrogant, bitter young man under an ugliness curse, in this modern-day version of 'Beauty and the Beast.'
Why Should You See It? We're due for a wave of stylish horror updates of classic fairy tales (next up: 'Red Riding Hood'), so you might as well get in on the ground floor.
You Might Like It If You Like: 'Twilight,' 'I Am Number Four,' 'High School Musical'

Showtimes & Tickets | Reviews
Exclusive Vanessa Hudgens Interview

'Take Me Home Tonight' (R)

Starring: Topher Grace, Dan Fogler, Anna Faris, Teresa Palmer, Chris Pratt
Directed By: Michael Dowse
What's It About? In this long-shelved '80s-nostalgia comedy, Grace plays a nerdy college grad who gets a last shot at romancing his high school crush (Palmer) at a big end-of-summer house party.
Why Should You See It? The film means to evoke the days of John Hughes; for teens too young to appreciate that, there's always the dependable comic skills of Grace, Faris, Fogler, and Pratt.
You Might Like It If You Like: 'Hot Tub Time Machine,' 'Can't Hardly Wait,' 'Sixteen Candles'

Showtimes & Tickets | Reviews
'80s Songs That Could Be Movies | Demetri Martin Interview

In Limited Release

'happythankyoumoreplease,' which marks the writing/directing debut of Josh Radnor ('How I Met Your Mother'), also stars Radnor as leader of an ensemble cast playing a group of thirtyish New York pals negotiating the transition into maturity. Showtimes & Tickets | Watch the Trailer


'Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,' which won the top prize at Cannes last year, is Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's otherworldly drama about a dying man who sees spirits of family members guiding him towards the unknown.
Showtimes & Tickets | Watch the Trailer

Still in Theaters, Still Awesome

'Hall Pass' -- The Farrelly brothers are back to introduce their gross-out comedy to a new generation of viewers, albeit via midlife crisis geezers Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis. Showtimes & Tickets | Watch the Trailer

'Drive Angry' -- Depending on who you ask, this is either a lame Nicolas Cage hotrod thriller or the best bad movie Cage has ever made. Showtimes & Tickets | Watch the Trailer

'Cedar Rapids' -- Ed Helms and John C. Reilly star in the indie version of 'Hall Pass.' Showtimes & Tickets | Watch the Trailer

Staying In This Weekend?

New on DVD: Don't be squeamish about seeing '127 Hours.' By the time you get to the notorious scene near the end where hiker Aron Ralston has to cut off his own arm with a dull knife, James Franco's astonishing performance and Danny Boyle's dazzling direction will have you well prepared. It's certainly less painful than watching Franco's performance as Oscar co-host. Buy or rent the DVD | More new DVD releases

On Our Netflix Queue: Jane Russell's death this week has us returning to the film that marked her career peak, 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.' Made when Russell was an even bigger star than co-lead Marilyn Monroe, the iconic musical showcases both women at the height of their appeal as comic sex bombs, and its tale of two gold-diggers on the make offers a slyly subversive (and for 1953, pretty radical) satire of sexual double standards. Buy or rent the DVD

On TV: Easter comes late this year, on April 24, but Paul Newman is already prepared, chowing down on his infamous 50-egg feast. Watch his legendary performance as a rebel without a Zantac in 'Cool Hand Luke' (Turner Classic Movies, Saturday, 8PM). Check your local listings


Follow Gary Susman on Twitter: @garysusman.