‘Brats’: Andrew McCarthy Reveals the Real Reason Molly Ringwald Didn’t Appear in Brat Pack Doc

The Brat Pack was a group of young actors who rose to fame in movies such as Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire, and The Breakfast Club. In the documentary Brats, filmmaker Andrew McCarthy spoke to this group of celebrities, whose lives were forever changed by the title. However, one of its most recognizable faces, Molly Ringwald didn’t appear in the film. Here’s why.

Why didn’t Molly Ringwald appear in ‘Brats?’

The documentary Brats looks back at the “Brat Pack” moniker and its impact on a select group of actors. It explores the narrative that took hold of their lives once the phrase was coined. 

However, one of the era’s biggest stars was conspicuously absent from those who appeared in the documentary; Molly Ringwald. She was the star of Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and The Breakfast Club and an icon for millions of movie fans worldwide.

McCarthy addressed Ringwald’s absence from Brats in an interview for Us Weekly. “She said she’d think about it, and that was the end of it,” he explains.

Instead, McCarthy used archival footage to share Ringwald’s thoughts about the label. However, he added that it “would’ve been great” to speak with her, as they co-starred together in the iconic John Hughes film Pretty in Pink.

“She’s so articulate and insightful about these things,” McCarthy continued. “The Brat Pack’s a funny thing. It’s like an octopus — it has these long tentacles you still reach out, and you can either feel them as an embrace or as something [else]. People are at different places in their lives.”

Who does appear in ‘Brats?’

For Brats, instead of circumventing the story of The Brat Pack, Andrew McCarthy went right to its source. He reunited with his former co-workers, many of whom he had not seen for over 30 years.

McCarthy spoke to Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez, Jon Cryer, Lea Thompson, and Timothy Hutton. Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Jr., and Matt Dillon are sometimes also mentioned in association with the Brat Pack, but as the movie notes, they’ve never technically been attached to the label.

McCarthy’s contemporaries from that era admitted that the “Brat Pack” name had a stigma. Some actors reportedly wouldn’t work together again after being grouped together in that manner.

Surprisingly, actor Judd Nelson was also absent from the documentary. However, he did speak to McCarthy off-camera.

“Judd [is], I think, in an undisclosed location,” McCarthy explained of the actor, whose portrayal of John Bender in The Breakfast Club endeared him to movie fans. “But we did speak.”

Why were the young actors labeled ‘The Brat Pack?’

Andrew McCarthy, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore and Jon Cryer at the premiere of Hulu's 'Brats'
Andrew McCarthy, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore and Jon Cryer at the premiere of Hulu’s ‘Brats’ | ABC/Michael Le Brecht II

“The Brat Pack” title was not a moniker Andrew McCarthy and his contemporaries sought out. It came from New York Magazine writer David Blum, who coined the phrase in a story about the 1980s actors as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the 1950s Rat Pack.

He wrote, “This is the Hollywood ‘Brat Pack.’ It is to the 1980s what the Rat Pack was to the 1960s—a roving band of famous young stars on the prowl for parties, women, and a good time. And just like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis Jr., these guys work together, too—they’ve carried their friendships over from life into the movies.”

It continued, “They make major movies with big directors and get fat contracts and limousines. They have top agents and protective P.R. people. They have legions of fans who write them letters, buy them drinks, follow them home. And, most important, they sell movie tickets.”

For Brats, McCarthy sat down with Blum and asked about the article that changed the trajectory of his and his fellow actors lives. McCarthy asks Blum if he regrets the label that defined a generation of actors. “I mean, I guess in retrospect, yes. At the time, no. I was proud of creating the phrase,” the writer says.

Brats is streaming now on Hulu.

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