Anthony Michael Hall ‘Politely Declined’ to Be in ‘Brats,’ Still Hasn’t Watched Brat Pack Doc

After watching Andrew McCarthy’s documentary “Brats” about the group of young actors dubbed “The Brat Pack” in the 1980s, many fans wondered why some key players from back in the day weren’t in the film, including Anthony Michael Hall.

When TheWrap caught up Hall, who costars in the Jessica Alba Netflix movie “Trigger Warning,” he said he “politely declined” to be in the doc but that he wishes McCarthy well.

TheWrap: I recently talked to Andrew McCarthy about his “Brats” doc. Did he ask you to be part of it?

Anthony Michael Hall: He did. And I can go on record saying, I politely declined because I’m always making new stuff and always moving forward and looking ahead. So that was my own impetus for why I chose not to be a part of that.

To be very honest, I’ve wholeheartedly embraced my John Hughes work because I wouldn’t be on the phone with you if it was not for John Hughes. I’ve been talking about my work with him and my start in the industry since [the ’80s], so it’s not like I’ve been avoiding that conversation. But with respect to Andrew’s project. I haven’t seen it. I heard it was interesting. Did you watch it?

I did watch it. I have a lot of nostalgia for those movies.

To be fair, I never really paid attention to the article [that created the Brat Pack label]. It never really meant anything to me. Like, the Rat Pack is interesting to me. But the Brat Pack thing, it was just a moniker. Maybe it speaks more to the writer at that time, if anything.

I think Andrew felt it affected his career negatively.

Is that right? I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve seen him lot of times at Comic-Con. Last year, we had a really nice chat. And the documentary was in post, it wasn’t out yet.

He’s carved out a great career for himself. He directs a lot of television. He’s a travel writer, he wrote that book a couple years ago that led to this, so good for him.

I think the healthiest attitude to maintain is just to wish everybody success, to not trip on it because everybody deserves to be successful and they’re on their own path to getting there. I haven’t read his book or seen that film, but I wish him well.

So the Brat Pack label didn’t really affect your career? You’re saying you didn’t feel like it personally applied to you?

If anything, it motivated me to keep moving forward. I always have and the truth is, I’m grateful for that. People ask, “What does it take to be in an industry like this for so long?”

And the word “unstoppable” comes to mind, because at a certain point, you need to become unstoppable. You have to decide, “This is what I’m going to do.” And there isn’t really a Plan B.

I was thrown into the industry at such a young age and I had these incredible opportunities from John Hughes, Harold Ramis and Lorne Michaels, these were the giants whose shoulders I stood on. [Hughes] saw something in me as a kid. So if anything, it gave me the impetus and the courage to keep going and move forward. And that’s what I’ve always opted to do.

Is it true that John Hughes wrote the parts of Duckie in “Pretty in Pink” and Ferris Bueller for you?

He wanted me to do both of those films. Even though I had done all that work with John [and we were] so close, I just chose to go in a new direction. That may have hurt his feelings and for that, I’m terribly sorry.

I felt like it was important that I grow and just keep moving forward and try some other stuff. So that led to a rupture in our friendship, unfortunately. I felt that had less to do with being typecast than the fact that [“Pretty in Pink”] mirrored “Sixteen Candles,” like the girl had one guy chasing her and she’s wanting the other guy, that whole thing. And all due respect to him. I never intended to be hurtful to him in any way.

You said you did have a rough patch finding roles in your 20s.

I struggled, but I hung in there. And when I would get things like “Murder She Wrote” or an episode of “Touched by an Angel,” it meant so much to me to work with legends like [writer] Robert Van Scoyk. To me, that was like getting a big studio feature or a big tentpole movie.

There’s so many stories where the industry can eat people up and it’s sad. I had a tough, Irish-Italian Catholic mom, and she raised me in New York City. I had that East Coast sensibility and upbringing.

And I also just understood that it was a job and it was work. So I developed a work ethic, from a very young age, and I thank God that I’ve been able to endure it and to continue all these decades later.

There are always other people with bigger careers. There’s always somebody looking to take your spot, all that is true.

I think that embracing change [gives you] longevity. And truthfully, it was in my thinking even as a little boy, I remember thinking, “I want to keep doing this until I’m an old man.” And I’m more than halfway there now.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Anthony Michael Hall can be seen in “Trigger Warning” now streaming on Netflix and “Brats” streaming on Hulu.

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