Alan Ruck Opens Up About What It Was Really Like To Be Ferris Bueller's Best Friend
Most of us remember the first time we saw Ferris Bueller's Day Off and became completely fascinated by the charm and charisma that Ferris possessed. That guy could do anything he wanted to and convince anyone to do anything.
Seriously, he could really be dangerous if he wanted to be. He's the kind of person who could start a cult and you wouldn't even realize you were in it until 15 years later.
But it wasn't just Ferris that we all enjoyed, it was the people Ferris surrounded himself with. First of all there was his girlfriend Sloan, who was super awesome, wearing that epic fringe jacket that made everyone want to buy a white leather jacket.
But she isn't who we are here to discuss today. Nope, instead we've got to talk about Cameron Frye. The awkward, nerdy, hypochondriac best friend of Ferris, and begrudging accomplice to the day's adventures.
Cameron was played perfectly by Alan Ruck, and recently he opened up to AV Club to discuss his time in the movie and how he had to fight for the role.
He actually first heard about the project because he was in a play called Biloxi Blues with Matthew Broderick, aka Ferris Bueller himself.
"[The play] was a very fun thing to work on, though. The late Gene Saks was a wonderful director, and I was allowed to add little bits and pieces that got put into the show.
"It was one of those times where some of the improv that we did in rehearsal yielded fruit, so I felt pretty good about myself.
"We got in trouble in that show for being bad boys, for cutting up onstage and stuff. We were told more than one time that we were going to be fired, because we were just young and dumb."
Ruck went on to explain that while doing the play, Broderick was cast as Ferris. He found out about it at a particular weird time.
"The beginning scene and end scene in that play is all of us asleep on the train except for Matthew Broderick’s character, who’s speaking to the audience. And he’s a writer, so he was always writing in his notebook.
"So one night he nudges me after he’s finished talking to the audience, and he taps the notebook, and I look down out of the corner of my eye, and it says, 'They offered me Ferris Bueller. Should I take it?'"
He said he didn't remember whether or not he nodded his head, but he immediately started pursuing a role in the movie, even when they tried to turn him away.
"I went into my agent’s office in New York, and she called up Myrna Jacoby, and she said, 'Listen, we have an audition for you for that movie that Matthew’s doing.'
"So I go, and the casting people didn’t want to see me because they knew that I was, like, 28. They’re like, 'Nah, he’s too old.'
"And my agent says, 'Listen, he plays opposite Broderick every night. They look like they’re the same age. Why don’t you see him?' So they did, and they liked me—it was Jane Jenkins and Janet Hirshenson—and they had me come back and read with Matthew for John Hughes."
Ruck was happy that he had already met Hughes before, and he was relieved that Hughes original plan for the movie had fallen apart.
"They had originally offered the Ferris part to Anthony Michael Hall, and they had offered the Cameron part to Emilio Estevez, and I think Mike—that’s what everybody calls Anthony Michael Hall—had done four movies with John, so I think he wanted to do something different, and I think that was at the point where Emilio had been offered Repo Man. So they wanted to go do different things."
He was also relieved to be given the chance to read with Broderick because they were already so close.
"So they decide on Matthew, and when I read with him, we’re already friends, so we don’t have to pretend we like each other. It’s already there. So that was just fortuitous. That was just some good, good fortune."
As for that theory that people have where Ferris doesn't exist, Ruck thinks it's a fun thought.
"You mean the Fight Club theory? I think it’s fun. And I hope somebody got an A on that paper. I hope that was their dissertation and that they graduated with honors. Yeah, it’s a fun idea. You know, why not? It’s fun that people like a movie enough that they want to think about it in different ways."
Even though we've all seen the movie a million times, he was excited to introduce to the movie to his daughter for the first time recently.
"I just went to see it with my 7-year-old daughter. Her school had a little benefit night where they showed the movie, and they sold some tickets, and then I talked to the people afterwards and did a Q&A.
"And she couldn’t believe that my hair didn’t have any gray in it and that I looked like a kid. She got very involved in it, and she got very upset when I wrecked the car, and she was very worried that Ferris was going to get caught at the end of the movie on his way home. So that was fun."
Ruck also answered a question that a few people have wondered over the years: why the Redwings jersey? Apparently Hughes had a little backstory for the jersey that didn't make it into the movie.
"But his idea was that Cameron had this dysfunctional relationship with his father, but he had a really good relationship with his grandfather, who lived in Detroit. And the old man would take him to Redwings games, which was one of the happiest aspects of Cameron’s life up to that point."
He continued by explaining how the clothes really helped tell the story, even when it wasn't specifically explained.
"It was the kind of thing where John felt that—like, if you look at the clothes Ferris wears, he wears these really funky, hip clothes, like the crazy pants and the leopard-skin vest. Fun stuff.
"But besides the Redwings jersey, Cameron’s outfit is really square. I mean, he’s got chino pants and penny loafers. But because it’s a sports jersey that his grandfather gave him, he’s allowed to wear that.
"So this is kind of Cameron’s best look, the one that represents who he is. Of course, that was all just John’s backstory. It was never mentioned in the film."
He has gone on to have a long and impressive career, but it's always going to be Cameron we remember him for. At least it seems like he's okay with it!
There were a lot of details people missed in Ferris Bueller's Day Off when they watched it. How many of these have you noticed before?
At least Alan Ruck turned out pretty alright, it turns out the Principal from the movie was actually kind of the worst...
Source - AV Club