We’ll now go back to the ’80s – you remember that era: big hair, big shoulder pads, watchmans and a new kind of movie star.
Andrew McCarthy has starred in popular movies like Saint Elmo’s FireAnd the Pretty in pink And the Weekend in Bernie. He considered one of the so-called Pratt Bucks – think Emilio Estevez, Demi Moore, Presence of Nelson, and flaunted young stars who have been in all the hot movies that cater to young people’s desires and dreams for the first time.
McCarthy has spent much of his life running away from this label. But in his new diary, Brat: The Story of the EightiesHe looks back at his twenties when he first became famous.
With the name “Brat Pack” which came from 1985 New York Magazine Article
Well it was a shock, I guess, to all of us, because she was on the magazine cover. I think it was originally supposed to be a small feature in Emilio. Then he invited the writer with some of his buddies to go to a drink at Hard Rock Cafe one night, and the writer turned to his topic and evolved into this cover story titled “The Brat Pack.” This is interesting because the image on the cover was a still shot from Saint Elmo’s Fire, Who you were in. Then I was removed, and cut for the cover shot. And when I saw the cover I went, oh my God, they cut me off. Then I read the article and went, oh my God, thank God, they cut me off. Soon after, she was drawn into it anyway.
About how Molly Ringwald chose him Pretty in pink
They were looking for a square-jawed, broad-shouldered quarterback type to play the boyfriend, and to play the guy from the other side of the tracks – the right side of the tracks, as it were. And you just entered Saint Elmo’s Fire, Which hasn’t been brought up yet, but there was some hype around the movie. And it will never be hotter than when no one has seen anything you have done. And so I got this kind of courtesy test, because I wasn’t the middle, square-jawed, broad-shouldered type.
And anyway, I got in and Molly was there reading with people, and Molly and I read the scene together and John Hughes kind of went, well, thank you. It couldn’t be less. And when she left the room, it seemed like Molly turned to John, and said, Well, that’s the man. Was John such a weak man? It’s like, yeah, it’s poetic and sensitive. This is the kind of guy I’m falling in love with, not a proud fool. And John, to be credited with, didn’t just pay lip service to young men in his films, he is [actually] I did. And he said, Well, I really don’t see it. But if you say he’s the man, you’ve got it.
About John Hughes movies
They were … about, you know, respecting young people and honoring that their feelings they feel are greater, deeper, fuller, and more comprehensive than their feelings or emotions. You know, as adults, we kind of go for it, it’s just a kid. And no, like, my son is 19 years old and he’s in love for the first time. He is the first person to fall in love. She is strong, beautiful and comprehensive in his life. And we were this way at some point. And John honored it in a way the other big boys hadn’t. And so the kids saw that and went, yeah, that’s me, that’s my world, and they got attached to us in a very, very deep way. And that’s all the credit for John.
About his relationship with alcohol
The first thing I always say when discussing this is that I did not drink alcohol in any way in response to my success. I didn’t feel, oh, he’s too young to handle, so I turned to drink. not at all. I started drinking kind of a parallel, one at a time. And my drink was all about drinking. I drank because I was drawn to alcohol, a penchant for it, an alcoholic mood and neuroscience, you know, and it coincided with the movies. And it definitely was detrimental to my career, certainly in the later stages of it. But it wasn’t a reaction to my career. You know, I drank better vodka because I was in the movies. It didn’t make me start drinking.
How the fame affected him
Oh, I think fame changes you on the cellular level … As you grow up, you are the center of the world and the center of the universe. And then when you get older, you go out into the world and realize that maybe your mom was wrong. You are not really the center of the world. Then you became famous and all of a sudden, no, no, no, no, you are the center of the world. And so you stop growing a certain way, and in evolutionary terms it is perhaps not the best thing to be treated that way because you are a good adult. You know, I always want to be treated privately. Who is not? But is this the best thing for me? And you know, when you are young, when you are 20, 22, 23 years old, and as I was when I started getting successful in this way, you don’t even know who you are in a certain way yet. So stepping out onto the hollow floor of fame is risky when you aren’t sure who you are yet. So I found there was a lot to go through for sure.
On the longevity of Brat Pack era movies
I think that’s beautiful, you know, I think those kids who find it this way really respond to their very invested parents. And you know what I stand for right now, I am like an avatar of the youth of that generation. They don’t just look at movies, they look at themselves when they were young, and at that moment when they were twenty years old, and at what time, and in the world, they were exploding in the world when their lives were a blank canvas to paint on.
And there’s no more exciting and exciting moment in our life than there was when we were little – get out of my way. I’m coming, the world! And these films represented that to a lot of people. And so I somehow document that to people. And I grew up finding it very satisfying, as I ran from it for the long haul. But I really thought of it as a gift. However, the sentiments about it are true in those movies – I think they are very honest. No matter how dated as movies, the emotions underneath are immortal in this way. And so children can deal with that. Maybe not the hair, but, you know, the feelings.
This story was edited for radio by Isabella Gomez and Melissa Gray, and adapted for the web by Petra Mayer.