Anthony Michael Hall

  1. C Thomas Howell, The Outsiders, 1982.    Part of Francis Coppola’s intensive  ensemble casting sessions at Stage Five of his Zoetrope Studios – “go right on Marlon Brando Way. Follow it to Budd Schulberg Avenue  and it’s just next to the commissary.”  During the auditons, Coppola would switch 30young actors around from this role to that role, back to this and then a whole other one…  

  2. Ralph Macchio,The Outsiders, 1982.   … or, in AMH’s case, from Ponyboy Curtis to Johnny Cade (which Maccho bagged: “he was the most like me”). So AMH didn’t work with Emilio Estevez this time, but Hall’sCoppola, auteurJohn Hughes, was around the next corner with Sixteen Candles, 1983, and (with Estevez) The Breakfast Club, 1984.

  3. Jason Lively, European Vacation, 1984.   AMH started a running gag when he preferred to be top dog in his mentor John Hughes’ other script, Weird Science, rather than reprising the son of Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo from National Lampoon’s Vacation, 1982. His sister, Dana Barron, likewise became Dana Hill,  prompting  Chase to suggest changing his kids  in each movie – to  show how the  great family man never knew one from another!  Thus, playing a  Griswold kid (Juiette Lewis,  Johnny Galecki being the best in 1988’s Christmas Vacation) became a one-and-done deal… until Barron  reprised Audrey in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2, which strangled  the franchise, stone-dead, in 2003. 
  4. Jon Cryer, Pretty In Pink, 1985.   The John Hughes regular passed on being Duckie as the film seemed little more than a reworking of his first Hughes film, Sixteen Candles, 1983. Robert Downey Jr was also considered.
  5. Matthew Broderick, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986.      After basically playing John Hughes in successive John Hughes teen comedies (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science), the Brat-Packer was trying for a new image. And so Bueller’s high school chum was played…  by a 30-year-old!
  6. Andrew McCarthy, Pretty In Pink, 1986.      He was now going serious, like “I never do interviews while I’m working on a film.”  He preferred Out of Bounds –  an instant flop.
  7. John Cusack, Hot Pursuit,   1986. Hall nearly got the lead, but Tom, one of the exec co-producers, decided upon John Cusack in his first lead. (And the villain  in his first lead, was  Ben Stiller.

  8. Matthew Modine, Full Metal Jacket, 1987.
    This is a long tale.  The longest on my site. And it’s worth it… The #1 factoid has always been that, on the London set, the young Hall told Kubrick, how to make his movie… “I never even started shooting the film,” Michael told me in Monte Carlo, July, 2004. “I’ll be glad to straighten it out for you… I was doing Weird Science, a comedy for John Hughes, in 1985, when I got a call from my agent: ‘Stanley Kubrick’s gonna call you on Saturday at 9am. He’s going to do a Vietnam war epic and he wants you to play the lead.’ I dropped the phone. Oh, my God!  Even at 18, I knew who Stanley was, I’d watched all of his movies. I was so excited. You sure you got the right room..? It’s like going to Oz with Dorothy and the gang…  I’m up at 7am, pacing my room, Stanley Kubrick’s gonna call me.”
    That he does and he hooks Hall and reels him in with an enormous, mind-blowing highest compliment: “I want you to know: I just screened Sixteen Candles three times and…    You’re my favorite actor since I saw Jack in Easy Rider! “Well,” laughed Hall, “I just went to the bathroom in my pants! I’m like: Whaaa? Am I fucking hearing this? I received the greatest compliment of my life, and I owe that to John Hughes. Then, he starts talking about Chaplin and Eisenstein, all these film-makers – and I’m thinking: I gotta rent some of those!”
    The friendly overture developed into protracted negotiations – and Hall had had enough after eight months! “To be honest with you, it was two-fold. It wasn’t just economics, it wasn’t that he was trying to maintain his sense of power and authority by cutting my salary by a third or whatever it was. It was also psychological, as I’d read about him, as had my step-father, who was working for me at the time, helping me manage my career. To Kubrick, life is chess. I even had to go his lawyer Louis Blau’s house in Bel Air to read a numbered script – he would not send it to me. At 18, I didn’t know if I was psychologically ready to do a film for a year… with 30 takes per set setup. That’s what happened.”   
    In the course of negotiation, Hall’s Weird Science, co-star, Kelly LeBrock, took him to talk to Jack Nicholson. “We drive up to his house and there’s Jack in sweats, shooting hoops – ‘C’mon in, lemme take a shower and I’ll be right down.’ [perfect impression]. Angelica Huston opens the door! Exquisite paintings everywhere but a very modest house. Except on this coffee table in front of us, there’s this beautiful silver tray full of ripped money… Jack comes down, pours some wine… Isn’t this the greatest story: Jack Nicholson. Kelly LeBrock. Anjelica Huston. And all this shredded money. What am I doing here?!!” 
    He was learning about Stanley. Nicholson loved him and was not warning Hall off, simply relating some facts about making The Shining. “Shelley Duvall had made all these demands, she wanted to stay in London town not be stuck out in Evergreen or Pinewood or wherever it was… And Jack said what you see in The Shining is Stanley Kubrick driving Shelley Duvall crazy. She came undone, he really would push her. And, yes, Kubrick would do like 30 takes of each set-up. But Jack said he’d do it again – in a second…
    “But for me, it just didn’t work out. “I had the funniest, final conversation with him – I kinda knew it was gonna end. He wasn’t going to budge: ‘Michael, I really want you to do this movie, but I have budgetary constraints…’ And I swear to God, I’m just 18, and I go: ‘Stanley, you do a movie once every five years, you don’t have budgetary constraints.” That took balls… I do regret it sometimes. Now, if I look back – I would have done it. But this is me at 36, not 18.”
    A few years later, Michael ran in to Matthew Modine on 57th Street in New York. ‘So, Matt,’ I said, ‘how long did you shoot the movie for?’ ‘Fifty-four weeks!  A year and two weeks.   Like Chaplin!”

  9. Tim Robbins, Bull Durham, 1987.      Fox disliked first-time director Ron Shelton’s line-up.  Kevin Costner was no star! Susan Sarandon was over  the hill! “They really hated Tim Robbins – his only credit to date had been Howard The Duck!” Two weeks into the shoot, the studio called Shelton in North Carolina: “We’re getting rid of Robbins and replacing him with Anthony Michael Hall.”  “Then, you’re replacing the director as well,” said Shelton, “and your cast will walk off.”  (He was bluffing,  even unaware that  Sarandon and  Robbins were falling in love – for 21 years!).   “I really had to fight…  Hall was 20… just so wrong. Tim has gravitas. Even when he’s playing the goofball, you know there’s something there.” Fox pulled back and once the film was edited, the executives chorused:  “Oh,  he’s great.  We were wrong.”  “Well, thanks,” said Shelton, “for putting me through a year of hell.” Ron’s other notions had been Davjd Duchovny and Charlie Sheen (who won three other baseball movies: Eight Men Out, Major League I and II).
  10. Clive Owen, Sin City, 2004.     Thanks to his comeback – heading Stephen King’s Dead Zone on TV since 2002 – AMH was in the frame for Dwight in Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s  “live” comic-strip. 

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  10