Children of the eighties got a great big dose of nostalgia Saturday night at Denver Comic Con when the stars of the classic movie Weird Science came together for a very rare reunion. Actors Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith and actress Kelly LeBrock came together for the 30th anniversary of the cult film about two social outcasts in the fictional Shermer, Illinois who use their computer, some inspiration from Frankenstein and some paranormal energies to create Lisa (LeBrock), the perfect dream girl who also happens to wreak havoc on their lives. With supporting turns from actors Bill Paxton and Robert Downney, Jr., the film quickly became a cable staple and a goofy favorite of fans around the globe.
After a dynamic introductory film that cherry-picked the film’s funniest moments, MC Angie Wood, in full cosplay mode as her alter ego Taffeta Darling, introduced the cast to thunderous applause.
One consistent theme of the evening was the cast’s obvious and earnest affection for the film’s late writer and director, John Hughes, who died of an unexpected heart attack in 2009.
“He was a great collaborator,” said actor Anthony Michael Hall of the Hughes, who directed Hall in Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Weird Science. “He was such a cool guy and he was very down-to-earth. He would sit right there with us behind the camera and it was like he was our first audience. “
“He was like one of the kids,” said actress Kelly LeBrock. “He wasn’t just the director. He was a friend and a mentor and he had this tremendous talent that he wanted to share.”
Hall, who became one of the director’s favorite actors, remembered the film shoot in Chicago as being fun and filled with laughter, as opposed to the intensity of The Breakfast Club, which he likened to shooting a play.
“He came to me and said you’re going to be in this movie and he already had like the first thirty pages of script,” Hall said. “We were right in the middle of shooting The Breakfast Club and I was like, ‘What the hell is this now?’ and then I was in Chicago shooting the film. John had clout so he was able to shoot in Chicago, which was his hometown, which was always cool.”
But it wasn’t always serious. LeBrock recalled getting the part very suddenly when she was still living in France, only to be transplanted to suburban Illinois and be expected to shoot that famous shower scene with two teenaged boys.
“I could have killed you guys a couple of times,” said Kelly Lebrock.
Asked by a fan what the difference was between teen films of the 1980s and now, LeBrock immediately responded, “John Hughes. You know, people had more time back then to spend with each other and go to the movies. The eighties were great. It was really a magical time. I don’t think the Hollywood of today is the Hollywood of yesterday. I think there are some Hollywood stars who are still around but the old Hollywood film studios are really gone.”
Hall also recalled a few other films roles including a supporting part in The Dark Knight Returns, during which he worked with the late Heath Ledger. Asked if there were any memories that stick with him about the range of films he called, “the puberty years,” Hall said that working with Hughes was always about laughter.
“There’s a consistent theme to John’s films where the people in them end up just a little bit better than they were before,” Hall said. “Without getting too heady, I think redemption is a very key theme in films. One of the brilliant things about John’s writing and one of the reasons he was such a genius was that he was never precious about his writing. He was always encouraging us and kind of egging us on. It’s taken me years to reflect on it, but there is this incredible quality to his writing and direction that really made him unique. “