Weird Science star Anthony Michael Hall pays tribute to late greats John Hughes and Bill Paxton
Actor Anthony Michael Hall was shooting writer-director John Hughes’ 1985 high school dramedy The Breakfast Club when the filmmaker first told him the idea for his next movie, Weird Science. Just one month later, Hall was reading Hughes’ script about two nerdy teenagers and the stunning — and stunningly intelligent — woman they create. “He wrote 30 pages that night,” says a still-astonished Hall, who also worked with Hughes on 1984’s Sixteen Candles. “He was truly prolific. I mean, to go home and write the first act of another screenplay [when] you’re shooting The Breakfast Club? He was amazing.”
Hughes cast Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith (The Wild Life) as sad sacks Gary and Wyatt, and Kelly LeBrock (The Woman in Red) as their creation, Lisa. The only person who could come close to stealing the movie from those three? Bill Paxton, playing the odious Chet, older brother and chief tormentor of Mitchell-Smith’s character. “Bill was a champ,” says Hall. “He was a great, great guy. There was a lot of Bill in Chet — he had that Texas swagger.”
Hughes encouraged cast members, including Paxton, to ad-lib — “John was very cool on the set; he was very fluid about people making up stuff” — and Chet’s offer to make Hall’s Gary “a nice greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray” is actually something Paxton’s father would say to the actor when he was hungover. Chet eventually receives his comeuppance when Lisa transforms him into what seems to be a giant, Paxton-voiced poo. “He looks very similar to the emoji for s—,” Hall says, laughing, of the triangular monstrosity. “This was before CGI. It was actually a small person sitting inside that big lump of s—.”
To this day, Weird Science remains in the teen-angst canon. “Teenagers or millennials come up to me, all the way to people in the 40-to-50-and-up range,” says Hall. “John’s films just hold such a place in their hearts.”
Watch the trailer for Weird Science, above.