Anthony Michael Hall Explains Decision to Avoid New Brat Pack Documentary

Anthony Michael Hall Explains Decision to Avoid New Brat Pack Documentary

When Andrew McCarthy’s new documentary “Brats” premiered on Hulu, it reignited interest in the iconic group of young actors known as the “Brat Pack.” This group, which included stars like Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore, and McCarthy himself, defined a generation with their roles in films such as “The Breakfast Club,” “Sixteen Candles,” “St. Elmo’s Fire,” and “Pretty in Pink.” However, one notable absence from the documentary was Anthony Michael Hall, who chose not to participate.

Hall, who shot to fame in the 1980s with roles in “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club,” and “Weird Science,” explained his decision to avoid the documentary. “I just opted to pass,” Hall said. “But I have a healthy respect for Andrew. I think he’s carved out a good career for himself. He directs television and he wrote that book a couple of years ago that led to this film. I’m always someone who’s forward-thinking and forward-looking, and so I’m just busy making new stuff and staying alive and keeping busy. So I thank God for that. But no disrespect to anybody involved.”

For Hall, the “Brat Pack” label wasn’t a significant issue. “Look, I think sticks and stones… I mean, words have power and they have meaning, and people posit those meanings on them,” he said. “So for me, it never really mattered. It didn’t bother me at all. I just kept going.”

Hall also pointed out that he wasn’t included in the original 1985 New York Magazine article by David Blum that coined the term “Brat Pack.” “Truthfully, there’s a lot of great journalists in the world,” Hall said, “and sometimes people can be petty, and maybe it was a little bit pejorative in terms of that reference.”

Hall’s career began at a young age. He was just seven years old when he started acting in commercials, and by the time he was 17, he had appeared in several iconic ’80s movies. He was also only 17 when he became a cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” an experience he described as “kind of nerve-wracking at times,” but also “like rock ‘n’ roll theater” and “incredible to be a part of.”

Despite his early success, Hall has continued to work steadily in the industry. In his latest film, “Trigger Warning,” which is streaming on Netflix, Hall stars as a gang-boss villain opposite Jessica Alba’s Special Forces commander character. He will also appear in Season 3 of the hit Amazon Prime Video series “Reacher,” based on the book “Persuader” in Lee Child’s series of novels. “I play a character named Zachary Beck,” Hall said, “who on the surface is a wholesale rug dealer, but he’s living like the Great Gatsby, so there’s a lot more at play. He’s kind of living the life of Riley as kind of a mobster in a way. So there’s something else that gets revealed. I can’t give away too much of it, but it’s a great season.”

Hall also produced and starred in “Class” in 2022, an homage to “The Breakfast Club,” through his production company Manhattan Films. His new title, “Roswell Delirium,” examines whether a young woman is suffering from mental illness or has, in fact, been subjected to an alien abduction. “Roswell is making the festival circuit now,” Hall said. “And we’re in talks with some distributors about getting released.”

While Hall chose not to participate in McCarthy’s documentary, other members of the Brat Pack did share their perspectives. Rob Lowe and Demi Moore, whose careers and personal lives have soared beyond their “bratty” beginnings, provided some of the most insightful interviews. While they don’t fully embrace the Brat Pack label, they don’t reject it either. Lowe feels fortunate to have been part of this talented group of actors and filmmakers who ushered in the era of youth-focused cinema that continues to dominate. Moore, who filmed “St. Elmo’s Fire” with an assigned sober companion, approached the impact of that period on her life with a philosophical outlook. During their conversations, she and Lowe encouraged McCarthy to reframe his perspective on the entire experience. They possess a sense of gratitude for that launching point in their careers that McCarthy seemingly lacks, perhaps because he entered Hollywood considering himself a serious, theater school actor whose career never lived up to his expectations.

The directors and producers McCarthy interviewed for “Brats” also view the infamous label as a net positive for all involved. There’s a lot of verbal consolation, and by the end of the film, you can’t help but think it would have been more enjoyable for everyone if McCarthy had sought therapy to work through these issues and then simply thrown a party for his old friends to reconnect and filmed that instead. At one point, McCarthy stops himself mid-sentence, as if he too has arrived at this realization.

For fans of the Brat Pack, the documentary offers a nostalgic trip down memory lane, even if it lacks the fireworks or tales of ’80s excess and debauchery that some might expect. The soundtrack, filled with hits from the MTV era, helps these movies transcend moments that have aged poorly. As McCarthy wrote in a 2021 memoir that gave rise to his documentary, “It’s not just the work; maybe now more importantly, it is the memory of the work that’s so valuable to people.” The movies came out for all of us ’80s kids “when the future was a blank slate, when anything was possible.”

While Hall may not have participated in “Brats,” his decision reflects his forward-looking approach to his career and life. As he continues to work on new projects and explore new roles, he remains a significant figure in the legacy of the Brat Pack, even if he chooses to leave that part of his past behind.

Source: CNN, TheWrap

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