21 Facts About The Breakfast Club On Its 35th Anniversary

Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, and Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club (1985).
Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, and Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club (1985).
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

On February 15, 1985, John Hughes made his first foray into more adult territory when he gathered together a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal to spend an entire day together and realize that, despite their labels, they weren't so different from each other. On the 35th anniversary of The Breakfast Club's debut, we're looking back at some surprising facts about the film.

1. One of The Breakfast Club's key scenes was improvised.

The film’s gut-wrenching heart-to-heart, where all five kids spill deep, dark secrets, was ad-libbed.

2. The Breakfast Club was supposed to be the first movie in a new film series.

The movie was initially conceived of as a franchise-starter, with subsequent entries “checking in” on the characters.

3. The Breakfast Club originally included a dream sequence.

A dream sequence, in which Allison (Ally Sheedy) imagines Andrew as a gluttonous Viking, Bender as a prisoner, Claire as a bride, Brian as an astronaut, and herself as a vampire, was cut from the final version.

4. The Breakfast Club originally featured a scene between two of the school's teachers.

Another scene, that featured a pair of high school teachers—Dr. Lange, a social studies teacher, and gym teacher Robin—was also chopped from the final version.

5. The Breakfast Club's janitor, Carl, had once been a star student at Shermer High School.

Universal Home Pictures Entertainment

As a student, Carl the janitor was Shermer High's 'Man of the Year.'

6. Rick Moranis was originally cast as one of The Breakfast Club's key characters.

Rick Moranis was originally cast as the janitor in The Breakfast Club, but was eventually replaced due to "creative differences" (he wanted to play the part as an over-the-top Russian stereotype). The role was ultimately played by John Kapelos.

7. The Breakfast Club's actors took a Broadway-like approach to rehearsals.

The film was rehearsed in a manner more similar to that of stage plays.

8. Emilio Estevez was originally going to play The Breakfast Club's bully.

Emilio Estevez was originally slated to play Bender, but Hughes couldn’t find anyone else who was right for the Andrew role, so Estevez ultimately switched and the Bender gig went to Judd Nelson.

9. Molly Ringwald was originally asked to play Ally Sheedy's role.

Similarly, Molly Ringwald was first asked to play Allison, but she wanted the Claire (named "Cathy" in the first draft of the script) role. Hughes eventually let her have it.

10. A lot of now-A-listers auditioned for The Breakfast Club.

Other actresses that could have played Claire? Robin Wright, Jodie Foster, and Laura Dern, who all auditioned for the part. Meanwhile, John Cusack was considered for the role of Bender, as was Nicolas Cage.

11. The Breakfast Club was a family affair for Anthony Michael Hall.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Anthony Michael Hall’s mother and sister appear as his character’s mother and sister in the beginning of the film.

12. John Hughes made a cameo in The Breakfast Club.

Another parent to look out for? Hughes, who had a cameo role as Brian’s father at the end of the film.

13. Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, and Ally Sheedy played high school students in The Breakfast Club and college graduates in St. Elmo's Fire in the same year.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Brat Pack members Sheedy, Estevez, and Nelson starred (as college graduates) in St. Elmo’s Fire the same year that The Breakfast Club hit theaters.

14. Cheese stood in for the "snow" in Ally Sheedy's hair in The Breakfast Club.

Allison’s dandruff, which she sprinkles to “make it snow,” was made of Parmesan cheese.

15. The Breakfast Club's location is a familiar one to John Hughes fans.

Like a number of other Hughes films, including Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and National Lampoon’s Vacation, the film is set in the fictional Chicago suburb of Shermer, Illinois.

16. Not all of The Breakfast Club's cast members were quite high school-aged.

Judd Nelson was the oldest cast member at the time of filming; he was 26.

17. Ally Sheedy didn't speak until a third of the way through The Breakfast Club.

Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club (1985).Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Ally Sheedy doesn’t speak for the first 33 minutes of the film, which has a 97-minute runtime.

18. The Breakfast Club cast members each took a piece of the library home with them.

As an end-of-filming present, Hughes gave each actor a piece of the “library’s” banister.

19. John Hughes had wanted The Breakfast Club to be his directorial debut.

Hughes had planned for The Breakfast Club to be his directorial debut, but the studio went for Sixteen Candles first.

20. Though The Breakfast Club takes place in Illinois, Brian must have been born in Connecticut.

Brian’s social security number, as filched by Allison, indicates that he was born in Connecticut.

21. Oregano stood in for an illegal substance in The Breakfast Club.

Anthony Michael Hall stars in The Breakfast Club (1985).Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

The marijuana the kids smoke in the film was actually oregano.

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Wa Wa Wee Wa: The Origin of Borat's Favorite Catchphrase

Wa wa wee wa! Sacha Baron Cohen is back in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2020).
Wa wa wee wa! Sacha Baron Cohen is back in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2020).
Courtesy of Amazon Studios

When Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan was released in 2006, a new audience was exposed to Borat Sagdiyev, a “journalist” portrayed by Sacha Baron Cohen who had made frequent appearances on the comedian’s Da Ali G Show.

Soon, in our country there was problem: People mimicked Borat’s catchphrases, "very nice" and “wa wa wee wa,” incessantly. The latter phrase was used to denote surprise or happiness on Borat’s part. While some may have assumed it was made up, it turns out that it actually means something.

Wa wa wee wa is Hebrew, which Cohen speaks throughout the film and which helped make Borat a hit in Israel. (Cohen is himself Jewish.) It was taken from an Israeli comedy show and is the equivalent of the word wow. Reportedly, the expression was popular among Israelis, and they appreciated Cohen’s use of it.

The original Borat also sees Cohen singing a popular Hebrew folk song, “Koom Bachur Atzel,” or “get up lazy boy,” among other Hebrew mentions. It remains to be seen how much of it he’ll be speaking in the sequel, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. It premieres on Amazon Prime Friday, October 23.

[h/t The Los Angeles Times]