Eric Stoltz and Mary Stuart Masterson reunite to discuss their favorite John Hughes teen movie
When fans debate which of John Hughes’ teen movies is the best, they usually argue over the same four titles: The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But there’s an underrated gem in the Hughes canon that deserves to be on that list: Some Kind of Wonderful. The 1987 film, written by Hughes and directed by Howard Deutch, captures a charmingly scrappy flavor of teenage love-triangle angst: There’s Keith (Eric Stoltz), a sensitive artist from the wrong side of the tracks hopelessly besotted with Amanda (Lea Thompson), a popular beauty who dates the rich Hardy (Craig Sheffer). What Keith doesn’t know is that his best friend, the toughie tomboy Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson), loves only three things in life: herself, her drums, and him.
When Stoltz, 51, and Masterson, 46, meet on a sunny September morning in NYC’s West Village, the former costars figure it’s the first time in around seven years that they’ve seen each other (the last time was when they ran into each other while walking their dogs in California). Both went on to prolific film and TV careers; Stoltz is currently working as a director, shooting episodes for Fox’s Glee, while Masterson hopes to produce and direct a film written by her husband, Jeremy Davidson. (She also has a more imminent project in development: the couple’s fourth child, due early next year.) During a break at the photo shoot, they sat down with EW to talk about John Hughes, alternate endings, and what happens when casts get naked.
It’s Some Kind of Wonderful‘s 25th anniversary. Do you remember what it was like to audition for the film?
Mary Stuart Masterson That was a long time ago…but I do!
Eric Stoltz I don’t.
Masterson I had just finished filming At Close Range and had dark red hair. I didn’t have it professionally dyed from a dark color to a light color, so [when I did it] it almost all broke off. But when I auditioned, Howie was like, ”That’s perfect!” [Laughs] Hence the blond and the shortness.
When you were getting ready to shoot the film during the summer of 1986, how aware were you of its similarities to Pretty in Pink, which had come out earlier that year with the same writer and director?
Stoltz I had a lot of friends who were in Pretty in Pink. I remember visiting the set because you’d get free food. [Laughs] I was hanging out with James Spader, and I met John Hughes through him. I had auditioned for the Alan Ruck part in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Masterson Oh, that audition you remember! [Laughs] But, you know, [Some Kind of Wonderful] was very different originally. Very, very different.
Masterson There was the first draft that was sort of like a broader sex comedy. It opened with Keith [masturbating] into his pillow.
Stoltz Oh, the things that won’t make it into publication…
Masterson Also, my character was named Keith and she wanted to be male.
Did your characters still end up together?
Masterson Yeah, that was the strange part. But the script evolved, because [originally] there was another director.
Stoltz That version was much darker.
Did John Hughes write all of the drafts?
Masterson Yes, though [the other director] was also involved. It was more about the issues between parents and kids — that Hughes stuff, you know. It went deep.
Stoltz It was much moodier. I remember rehearsing and they’d say, ”Let’s cut lines.” So we almost had a silent film, which we loved. It was a much darker film. Of course, there was a whole other cast as well. Mary Stuart and I were the only [lead] retainees.
Masterson The final product was an amalgam between the first and the second draft. It evolved into being close to Pretty in Pink thematically. The ending was a revision. That thing with the earrings? That was an add-on.
Keith takes the money he put aside to pay for college in order to buy Amanda diamond earrings. The final scene is him giving them to Watts instead.
Masterson All anyone says to me a quarter of a century later is ”I love that part where you get the earrings!” It’s so weird! [Laughs] That materialistic aspect is not who Watts is.
I always fantasized that she made him take them back so he could pay for college.
Masterson Right? She would have walked away victorious, and then to the pawnshop.
What was it like working with Hughes?
Masterson We auditioned in his office. He also was known for doing the soundtrack first; he wrote to the soundtrack.
Stoltz He was a curious fellow, wasn’t he?
Masterson Very curious. He was this interesting mixture of childlike wonder and intelligence and almost unreachable solemnity.
What sticks out the most about filming the movie?
Stoltz Somebody was staying at the Chateau Marmont —
Masterson That was me!
Stoltz Was that you? We all ended up going skinny-dipping there. It was terribly innocent and wonderfully bonding.
Masterson Nudity does that.
And apparently there was a great on-set romance going on, considering Lea Thompson and Howard Deutch have been married since they met on this film.
Masterson I remember seeing them making out at the wrap party and thinking, Ohhhh.
Stoltz I sort of knew. When Howie came on the film, they were recasting, and he asked me if I knew her. Lea and I had done a few films together, and he asked if I could get her the script. I had a motorcycle and I rode up to her house and gave it to her and said, “This director is really into you.” So what do you think happened to Keith and Watts? Where are they today?
Stoltz I haven’t the foggiest idea. Though [he jokingly gestures to Masterson’s baby bump] you have seen this.
Masterson I definitely think the earrings were given back.
Stoltz What do you think happened?
I think they’re married and still the best of friends.
Stoltz Oh, that’s sweet.
Masterson That’s a good answer. Let’s go with that.