Ferris Bueller's Day Off 25th anniversary DVD
Get ready to feel ancient, Gen Xers: Yesterday, Paramount released a 25th anniversary DVD and Blu-ray of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, John Hughes's neo-classic comedy about self-determination—and the writer-director's ode to his native Chicago.
The cover of this "Bueller... Bueller... Edition" features a curious fold-out map. Apparently designed by someone with no knowledge of Chicago, it purports to chart the adventures of Ferris, Cameron and Sloane around the city and surrounding suburbs. But there are enough glaring inaccuracies to make the geographically meticulous Hughes spin in his grave. According to the map (which I didn't expect to be scaled, of course, just not flagrantly wrong): Addison Street and Wrigley Field are blocks south of Chicago Avenue, Roosevelt Road is north of Adams Street, Western Avenue is west of Harlem Avenue, Shermer Road (the street that leads to Hughes's alma mater, Glenbrook North, in Northbrook, which is used in exterior shots of Ferris's high school) inexplicably sits in the middle of what you might call Jefferson Park were it possible to find your bearings on the map.
If you can get past the cover, though, the extra featurettes are well worth a look. FBDO completists will particularly eat up "Vintage Ferris Bueller: The Lost Tapes," in which Matthew Broderick interviews costars Alan Ruck (Cameron Frye), Mia Sara (Sloane Peterson) and Jeffrey Jones (principal Ed Rooney) during breaks in filming. In other extras, Hughes discusses the charmed casting and Ben Stein (the economics lecturer) waxes philosophical about what the character Ferris Bueller represents. Here are some of the highlights:
- Producer Tom Jacobson confirms the legend that Hughes wrote and turned in the script for Ferris Bueller's Day Off in a week to beat an impending writer's strike. Matthew Broderick says it only took Hughes six days.
- "I was making the classic third-wheel situation," Hughes says of FBDO. "Which was always the situation I was in. There was always me, my girlfriend, who's now my wife, and some guy in the backseat saying, 'What are we gonna do?'… I was always very fond of that triangle."
- Besides Broderick, the only other actor casting agents had in mind to play Ferris was Evanston native John Cusak.
- Casting agents initially asked Emilio Estevez to play Cameron. Now Ruck thanks Estevez every time he sees him for turning the role down.
- The closest thing to a Bueller-esque perfect day ex–Richard Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein says he ever had was working on the film. "This movie was the high point of my life ever since I wrote Richard Nixon's resignation speech," he says. "I felt as if an angel of god were shining his light down on me."
- Stein once met Kurt Cobain on an elevator in Europe. Stein said to the Nirvana frontman, "Oh, you're really famous!" Cobain drolly replied, "Bueller... Bueller." President George W. Bush had the same response when he met Stein, the actor says.
- Ferris's parents, played by Cindy Pickett and Lyman Ward, met during the film's casting and are now married. "By the time we got to Chicago [to start filming], it was more than casual," Ward says.
- Ruck reveals the secret stunt engineering behind the climactic scene in which he sends his father's Ferrari (a fiberglass model of the original GT California) careening out of the window of the Ben Rose House garage in Highland Park: "They had a very elaborate set up to send this thing out the window," Ruck says. "They had a pulley system. There was a cable attached to the car, and then it went around a pulley and out through some other pulleys out the driveway, down the street, around the corner, down the block, and it was attached to a pickup truck, like a tow truck. And so when I lean against the car and it starts to go, two blocks away or whatever, the truck took off. It shot that thing like a top and it crashed through the glass."
- "As a kid I was always on that street," Hughes recalls thinking as he was filming the parade scene in the Loop. "When I was in advertising, I'd slip out of work and watch the parades go by. Here I am, ten years later, having my own parade."