Molly Ringwald: I Was First Offered Ally Sheedy’s “Basketcase” Breakfast Club Role, and Other 30th Anniversary Memories

Molly Ringwald then and now
Molly Ringwald starred as Claire in the 1985 John Hughes classic film The Breakfast Club. Universal Pictures/Getty Images; David Livingston/Getty Images


Here’s a fun tidbit to make you feel ancient — The Breakfast Club is 30 years old! To celebrate the anniversary of the John Hughes’ ’80s high school classic, star Molly Ringwald appeared on the Today show to talk with co-anchor Savannah Guthrie about the film’s impact. 

“I always loved the script, and I loved the movie, but I never imagined that we would be talking about it 30 years later,” the Brat Pack star, 47, admitted. “I was originally offered the role of the ‘Basketcase’ [the character of Allison Reynolds played by Ally Sheedy], and I wanted to play Claire, just because it was my older sister. I thought it would be really fun to play a part that was my older sister. The challenge of it was for us to find the sympathetic parts of every character.”  

The film about different high school stereotypes, which took place over the course of one day in detention, still stands the test of time. Ringwald thinks that could be because there weren’t many outfit changes to highlight the ‘80s fashion. She also revealed that she picked out her pink top, brown skirt, and boots. 

Molly and family
Molly Ringwald and her husband Panio Gianopoulos pose with their children at the premiere of The Boxtrolls in 2014. Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

“Originally it was supposed to be something else, but it just didn’t quite work,” she said. “So [director] John Hughes took me out in Chicago, we went shopping and picked it out.”

Ringwald, who is now a jazz artist and actress, also got to look at the film through her daughter Mathilda’s eyes this past year when she watched it for the first time. 

“I never imagined that it would still speak to my kids. I have an 11-year-old  [Mathilda], who just saw it for the first time and I have 5-year-old twins [Adele and Roman], and I feel like it just keeps speaking to generation after generation,” Ringwald said. “We watched it because all of her friends had seen it. It was earlier than I intended. I thought she was going to watch it when she was a teenager. I still think 11 is a bit young.” 

Ringwald waited to show her little girl this particular classic from her impressive Brat Pack collection for a reason. 

“It mattered to me,” she explained. “I showed her Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink, but I realized I was holding out on that one because I realized it had a lot of significance for me.”

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