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Trivia / Ferris Bueller's Day Off

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  • Ability over Appearance: Cameron Frye was originally envisioned as being chunky and "homely in a lovable way". John Hughes then remembered the tall, thin, very attractive (29-year-old!) Alan Ruck from auditions for The Breakfast Club (he didn't make the cut that time), and cast him based on that performance. What followed was what is considered to be one of the most soulful, enduring portrayals in Hughes' oeuvre. It probably also helped, however, that Ruck and Matthew Broderick had previously co-starred together in Biloxi Blues, and as a result of this, according to Ruck, "We didn't have to invent an instant friendship like you often have to do in a movie. We were friends."
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  • Actor-Shared Background: Alan Ruck has the same birthday as Cameron.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Ben Stein as the economics professor never says, "Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?" He does say these lines but separately. He first says, "Bueller? Bueller?" while taking attendance and then later during his lecture asks, "Anyone? Anyone?"
  • California Doubling: Ferris' house is actually in Long Beach, California and the restaurant they go to is in West Hollywood.
  • Cast Incest: On-screen siblings Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey dated and were even engaged for a while after appearing in this film together.
  • Cast the Runner-Up: Kristy Swanson was originally cast in the small role of the girl who talks on the phone with Ferris in the school hall. However, the role was re-cast with Kristin Graziano, because John Hughes felt it was better to film the scene in Chicago. Hughes had liked Swanson so much, though, that he offered her the part of the Economics student, which was shot in Los Angeles.
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  • Colbert Bump: Together with The Secret of My Success, this movie provided a huge amount of newfound international publicity for "Oh Yeah" by Yello, to the point where the two films turned the song into the duo's One-Hit Wonder outside of their native Switzerland and galvanized it in popular culture as the song for greasy excess and sleaziness.
  • Dawson Casting: Mia Sara, (Sloane) who was 18 (playing a high school junior), Matthew Broderick (Ferris) who was 23, Jennifer Grey (Jeannie) who was 25, and Alan Ruck (Cameron) who was 29 when the film was shot during the fall of 1985.
  • Deleted Role:
    • In an early draft of the script, Ferris had two additional younger siblings named Todd and Kimberly, and Jeanie was to be the middle child. If you look closely, you can see a child's drawing on the Buellers' refrigerator.
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    • The flower deliveryman had a dialogue scene with Rooney that was cut down to him leaving the house.
    • Lara Flynn Boyle made her film debut in a small part, but none of her scenes made it into the final movie.
  • Deleted Scene:
    • Ferris asks his dad on the phone about bonds his father purchased when he was born, he then takes one of them from a shoebox in his father's closet, cashes it at the bank with his girlfriend (telling the hard-of-hearing teller they are pregnant with a jeep), and uses the money to pay for his day off. It was removed because it made Ferris look like a thief rather than a lovable rogue
    • At one point in the film there was a scene in which Ferris, Cameron, and Sloane would visit a Chicago radio station and Ferris would talk about how "come next year, I'll be the first kid to ride on the Space Shuttle". It was even featured in the film's trailer. Unfortunately, however, less than five months before the film was to be released, the Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds after launch, resulting in the deaths of all seven aboard, including New Hampshire school teacher Christa McAuliffe. Because of this, John Hughes had the trailer recalled from theaters and the line was edited out of the final film.
    • Ferris orders something in French on the menu, and after everyone at the table tastes it, he is informed by the snooty waiter that he ordered "sweetbreads", which is a French dish made from the thymus gland. It was removed because it showed the waiter getting the better of Ferris, but later in the movie when Ferris is recounting the day to Cameron, he remarks "we ate pancreas".
    • Extended scenes with the garage attendant and his co-pilot in Chicago avoiding run-ins with Ferris, Cameron, and Sloan; such as at Wrigley field.
    • The trio go on a Chicago riverboat.
    • Extended Cab scene downtown where John Kapelos plays the cab driver.
    • Extended dialogue between Cameron and Sloan while Ferris sings Danke Schoen in the parade.
    • Extended scene where Charlie Sheen's character's name is revealed to be Garth Volbeck.
  • Disowned Adaptation: John Hughes actually disliked the TV adaptation and actually tried to block its release. Unfortunately, however, he was unable to do so, and the best that he could do was to stipulate that NBC and Paramount not use his name to promote the series.
  • Distanced from Current Events: As mentioned above, John Hughes originally shot a scene in which Ferris would discuss on a radio show wanting to be the first kid to ride the Space Shuttle, but ended up excising that scene due to the Challenger accident.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Charlie Sheen stayed awake for 48 hours before filming his scene so that he would appear tired and strung-out.
  • Flip-Flop of God: The DVD Commentary pegs Ferris as a spoiled jerk. However, Hughes intentionally cut a scene that explicitly makes Ferris a thief, and cast Matthew Broderick in the role because he felt Broderick was the only one who could make Ferris likable. So do we empathize with Ferris or not? Either interpretation of the character is equally valid. And it doesn't help that both interpretations can work concurrently with each other (i.e. Ferris is a jerk and trickster, but he's OUR jerk and trickster).
  • Follow the Leader: After this movie became hugely successful, many teen shows throughout the next decade or so (particularly those aimed at children) implemented a Ferris Bueller-like character (i.e. Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell, Ronnie Pinsky from Salute Your Shorts, Parker Lewis from Parker Lewis Can't Lose, etc.). Some of these were just shallow/one-dimensional caricatures of Ferris; others weren't.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: Ben Stein originally only had his iconic "Bueller......Bueller" scene, but John Hughes thought he had such distinctive voice that he asked Stein to just talk about any subject he knew a lot about, which led to the short scene of him teaching a class on the Great Depression.
  • Hey, It's That Place!: The restaurant Ferris and co. visit is the same one from The Blues Brothers. It also featured in St. Elmo's Fire.
  • I Am Not Spock: For a long time, Matthew Broderick never liked talking about this movie, though it seems he's eased up about it, since he appeared in a 2012 Super Bowl commercial that parodied the film.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The movie didn't have a soundtrack album for decades because Hughes himself blocked one back in the 1980s, because he felt the movie's music was too eclectic to make a coherent album. La La Land Records released an official album in 2016 (there have been bootleg releases over the years).
  • Method Acting: In the cab, when Ferris tickles Sloan. Actress Mia Sara's laughter was real, because Matthew Broderick and Alan Ruck actually took off her shoe and tickled her foot.
  • Old Shame: Charlie Sheen said a few years later that watching his one scene in the movie made him want to punch himself in the mouth. He seems to have made peace with it, reprising his character in his exact scene from the John Hughes tribute episode of The Goldbergs in 2015.
  • Orphaned Reference: When telling Cameron about how great the day was, Ferris says, "We ate pancreas". The restaurant scene originally had Ferris order sweetbreads, only to later be told that it's in fact pancreas. As mentioned above, it was deleted because it portrayed Ferris as a complete Butt-Monkey as opposed to the Loveable Rogue John Hughes wanted to portray him as.
  • Playing Against Type: Most of Matthew Broderick's roles, before and after this film, are more milquetoast than Ferris.
  • Recycled Set: The hall scenes in which Jeanie is seen walking down the hall and the kid collecting money to save Ferris are the halls from The Breakfast Club. Possibly intentional as Hughes later revealed both films take place in the same town.
  • Recycled: The Series: Lasted barely a season, mainly because it was heavily changed to the point where it could be considered In Name Only. Among other things, the setting was changed from Chicago to L.A., Ferris was now an obnoxious nerd who only believed he was wildly popular (and attended school without complaint!), Cameron was still neurotic but lacked the tragic Backstory from the film, thus making him a figure of fun, Sloane was now catty and shallow (the spelling of her name was also changed to Sloan), Ferris's parents were now named Bill and Barbara instead of Tom and Katie, and the list goes on and on. Not even a very young Jennifer Aniston (as Jeannie) could save it.
  • Romance on the Set: The actors who played Ferris's parents (Cindy Pickett and Lyman Ward) later got married in real life. Unfortunately, however, they divorced in 1992.
  • Star-Making Role: Three years prior, WarGames is what got Broderick noticed. But this movie clearly is what made Broderick a star, and it is arguably his most famous role.
  • Stillborn Franchise: The idea of a sequel had gone around for years, with Ferris in college, or on the job somewhere, but the idea was dropped. Matthew Broderick felt that the film didn't need a sequel, that this film was about a specific time and place that we'd all like to revisit, and didn't need updating.
  • Technology Marches On:
    • If mobile phones were as widespread then as they are today, it'd be harder for Ferris to bluff his parents if he could be contacted anytime, anywhere.
    • A video of Ferris dancing on the parade float or him catching the foul ball at Wrigley Field would have most likely made its way to Youtube today, and the jig would be up.
    • Ferris' line, "I asked for a car. I got a computer. How's that for being born under a bad sign?" doesn't work the same as it did. While any teen expecting a car would still be disappointed to only get a computer, computers are now much more desirable for teens than they were in the 1980s, and virtually every teen would expect to get their own eventually. For that matter, plenty of teens back in the '80s would have dreamed of having their own computer.
    • A contemporary viewer born after the 80s might be caught off guard to hear that Ferris's suggestion to run the car in reverse to take miles off the odometer isn't him being naive or a smart aleck. Before the 1970s, there was no mechanism to prevent it from running backwards when the car ran in reverse; this didn't come around until the Federal Odometer Act of 1972. Of course, his suggestion proves to be moot anyway since it inexplicably has an anti-rollback odometer (because the prop vehicle was a replica built for the movie and was legally required to have an anti-rollback odometer).
  • Throw It In!:
    • "They think he's a righteous dude" was improvised by Edie McClurg, the actress who played Grace. She also improvised the bit where she pretends to be Rooney on the phone.
    • 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 short scene, with the coughing keyboard, was also improvised by Broderick.
    • Ben Stein improvised the entire lecture about the Hawley-Smoot Tariff.
    • Rooney's line about leaving "my cheese in the wind" was ad-libbed. John Hughes wanted a comment that was complete nonsense.
    • During the parade several of the people seen dancing (including the construction worker and the window washer) originally had nothing to do with the film. They were simply dancing to the music being played, and John Hughes found it so humorous, that he told the camera operators to record it.
    • Matthew Broderick throwing Mia Sara into pool after pushing Cameron in was unscripted. Her screams of surprise were genuine and the playful nature of the moment convinced Hughes to include the shot in the final cut if the film.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Ferris' leopard pattern vest he wears throughout the film places it firmly in the eighties. '80s Hair and suspenders add to it.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Michael J. Fox was John Hughes' first choice for the role of Ferris Bueller before Matthew Broderick was cast, but turned it down due to scheduling commitments to Family Ties, as well as exhaustion from shooting Back to the Future the year before.
    • Anthony Michael Hall and Emilio Estevez were approached for the role of Cameron Frye before the casting of Alan Ruck. Hall turned down the offer due to fears of being typecast as the geeky best friend.
      • John Candy auditioned for Cameron Frye as well before the casting of Ruck. However, Candy was turned down due to the fact that he was considered "too old" for the character.
    • Molly Ringwald expressed interest in portraying Sloane Peterson, but John Hughes turned her down as he described the part as "not being big enough" for her.
    • Kenny Orteganote  had originally choreographed an elaborate dance sequence for when Matthew Broderick sang atop the float at the parade. Unfortunately, however, Broderick had dislocated his knee a few weeks earlier filming the scene at the end of the movie where he’s running through yards on his way home, so the choreography had to be scrapped. Despite this, however, Ortega still remained credited in the closing credits.
    • The script contained a scene where Ferris, Sloane, and Cameron go to a strip club. Paramount executives told John Hughes there were only so many shooting days left, so the scene was scrapped.
    • When Cameron is looking down the Sears Tower and says, "I think I see my dad.", he actually was looking at his dad (according to the original script) who was standing on the sidewalk. Later, there was supposed to be another scene where Cameron's dad sees his Ferrari parked along the street downtown. When he attempts to reach in the glovebox to confirm it, the garage attendant confronts him.
    • In the original script, Jeanie and Ferris were originally supposed to have two younger siblings, who would’ve been 7 and 12 years old
    • Check out the original script.
    • A&M Records was annoyed at Hughes for not putting out a Ferris Bueller's Day Off soundtrack album. "A&M was very angry with me over that; they begged me to put one out, but I thought "who'd want all of these songs?" I mean, would kids want "Dankeschöen" and "Oh Yeah" on the same record? They probably already had "Twist and Shout," or their parents did, and to put all of those together with the more contemporary stuff, like the (English) Beat - I just didn't think anybody would like it. But I did put together a seven-inch of the two songs I owned the rights to - "Big City" on one side, and... I forget, one of the other English bands on the soundtrack... and sent that to the mailing list. By '86, '87, it was costing us $30 a piece to mail out 100,000 packages. But it was a labor of love. I cared about my audience and I cared about these movies."
    • The script called for a Mercedes AMG with gullwing doors, but John Hughes saw the Modena Spyder replica of the Ferrari 250 GT in an issue of Car and Driver and, after seeing it in person, knew he had to use it instead.
  • Word of Dante: A researcher discovered the titular day off was June 5, 1985, based on the Cubs game that Ferris goes to in the movie. If true, that would add extra relevance to Ferris' thoughts about life after high school, as the gang would be mere days away from graduating. The game where scenes from the film were shot was actually played on September 24.
  • Word of God: John Hughes said in 1999 that several of his "Shermer" movies, including Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles, are all a part of the same universe. According to Hughes, Samantha Baker knows Ferris.
    • Why Cameron stares at the painting. According to director John Hughes, Cameron sees himself in the little girl, as the closer he examines the painting, the less he sees, which is what he fears about himself.
  • Word of Saint Paul: According to Alan Ruck, the reason Cameron wears a Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings jersey is because Cameron had a grandfather in Detroit, whom he had a great relationship with, that used to take him to Red Wings games. He also claimed that an alternate ending had Cameron's father killing him by throwing him out the window upon coming home and that Ferris and Sloane later got married.
  • Write Who You Know:
    • Cameron and Charlie Sheen's character were both based on people John Hughes knew in high school.
    • Alan Ruck based Cameron's phony impression of Sloane's father on legendary stage director Gene Saks, who had previously directed both him and Matthew Broderick in Biloxi Blues.

Other Trivia:

  • Three 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California Modena replicas were used in filming.
    • The Hero car was two ("and a half") replicas built by Modena founders Mark Goyette and Neil Glassmoyer with steel tube frame by Bob Webb and leased to Paramount for filming. These were used interchangeably in almost all exterior shots. One had a 1963 Ford 289 and manual transmission, the other had a 1974 Ford 302 and an automatic transmission because Matthew Broderick couldn't drive a standard. When filming was completed, both were returned to Modena. The one in the jump scene, chassis #0001 had the exhaust crushed, the rear body panels cracked and the front suspension damaged (the scene took nine takes to film). Mark Goyette repaired it and sold it to a young couple in California. The husband ran it off the road, and Mark rebuilt the front end. The couple later sold it in the '90s, and it resurfaced in the early 2000s. Neil Glassmoyer acquired it and rebuilt it with an upgraded suspension and swapped the engine with a Chevy 427. It was sold at auction by Barrett-Jackson in their January 2020 auction for $396,000. The other one, chassis #0003, was kept by Glassmoyer after filming and sold in 2013 for $235,000 at Mecum Auctions and again in 2018, also at Mecum Auctions, for $407,000.
    • A kit (#0002) was sold to Paramount for a secondary stunt car, but they did such a poor job assembling it that it was unusable for anything but falling out the window of Cameron's house at the end. It was later rebuilt and ended up in Planet Hollywood Minneapolis, but fell off the map along with Planet Hollywood Minneapolis. Reportedly it was sold to Planet Hollywood Cancun and resides there now.
    • Another kit, meant to be a shell to be dropped out of the window, was bought but never completed. Mark Goyette mentions he heard it was completed and sold off, but it could just as likely be sitting in a backlot at Paramount.
    • A real Ferrari was used for the extreme closeup insert shots in Cameron's home.
    • The replicas were very unreliable and were hated by the crew. The scene of Ferris giving it to the valets had to reshot over a dozen times because the replica wouldn't start.

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