The Breakfast Club – Bender Mocks Claire
The Breakfast Club is still, to this day, one of the most iconic teenage dramas of all time. Written and directed by the late John Hughes, the film kickstarted the coming-of-age genre with five distinct characters and nothing but an engaging script to work from. The most problematic member of the quintet was John Bender, played by Judd, who stars in a new film Iceland Is Best.
Judd spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about creating the ethereal Iceland Is Best, and the future of The Breakfast Club franchise.
Watch Judd Nelson in Iceland Is Best at a special Q&A preview screening at Everyman Cinemas Here
Judd was eager to talk about the film he is arguably best-known for, despite being asked about it consistently for the past 36 years.
He yelled down the phone: “I was very fortunate to be able to ride a very fast horse, I was just lucky I didn’t fall off! I am very honoured and thankful to have been a part of it.”
After The Breakfast Club – and other Hughes movies such as St Elmo’s Fire and Pretty In Pink – Judd and his fellow young actors were deemed part of the Brat Pack; a group of young stars destined for greatness in Hollywood.
Although the press placed the spotlight firmly on actors, including Andrew McCarthy and Molly Ringwald, Judd gave all the credit to Hughes.
He said: “I think that Hughes wrote a script that had so much in it… it was so dense.
“I’ve always believed you have to start off thinking every script is like Hamlet … if you’ve asked a question and you don’t have a satisfactory answer you haven’t read it enough. Keep looking at it, keep studying it. It will reveal itself to you.
The Breakfast Club: John Bender star Judd Nelson spoke about the future of the series
Judd plays Mr Sonquist, a poetry teacher in Iceland
“And with Hughes… he had these things in it. Upon the first reading of that script, when I read it that day, I was like: ‘Ohhh, this is not like anything else I’ve read! This is an adult discussion movie.
“‘There’s no sensationalist aspect – well, maybe the dancing in the middle – but for the most part it’s believable that this happened.'”
Despite Judd’s almost deific view of Hughes’ creativity and direction, he added that The Breakfast Club was borne of teamwork, beginning with him and fellow star Emilio Estevez.
He revealed: “For four hours Emilio and I read all four of [Hughes’ Breakfast Club] scripts.
“He was really a collaborator. Other people use that word, but they’re not collaborators. He didn’t say: ‘Improvise!’ He said he wanted [the dialogue] to sound as real as we thought it should sound. [He said] make it authentic to your speech. Yeah, the script supervisor didn’t like that so much, but John did. And we were working for John.”
It is this specific style of direction, encouragement and creativity that would be missing from any sort of follow-up movie or sequel to The Breakfast Club, Judd explained.
The Breakfast Club was directed by John Hughes and starred Nelson, along with Molly Ringwald
“And that’s why,” Judd sighed. “Over the years, before his unfortunate and much too early passing, people would say: ‘Hey, is there going to be like a sequel or a remake or?’ I’m like, look, that question has to be addressed to John Hughes.
“If John Hughes wanted any kind of sequel or any kind of ‘two’ or whatever, I’m sure he has our [support] – he certainly had my participation.”
After a quiet moment, Judd added: “It’s a different thing when he’s not around. Then it’s not… anything. He is the brand.”
When pressed on whether he would ever appear in The Breakfast Club 2 if he were ever offered it, he set the record straight.
Judd said: “Well, it would be different. I’m not going to say I would never consider it, but I’m saying without Hughes… [he] is the most important piece to all of it. It’s him. Without him, it really doesn’t exist.”
The passion Judd has for his former director seems to be a theme running through his career.
Judd Nelson stars in Iceland is Best
Iceland Is Best hits cinemas next month and was written and directed by Max Newsom – a man Judd brands “incredibly intellectual”.
In the film, Judd plays Mr Sonquist, a poetry teacher guiding a young woman, Sigga (Kristín Auður Sophusdóttir), through her desire to leave Iceland for California.
Speaking about first becoming interested in the film, the 61-year-old said: “So, I read the script because it’s got Iceland in the title – I loved the script. Whoever wrote it is a pretty smart person.
“I meet the writer, director Max, and he is incredibly intellectual. Very smart. He can discuss and explain almost anything. So I was thrilled at the chance to work with him.
“And I thought all the actors were incredible – all from Iceland – everyone was just so professional, so prepared.”
Judd revealed how he was “fascinated” by the almost Robin Williams / Dead Poet’s Society role.
Although the Hollywood star packs a punch in his short role, it seems curious that he would accept such a small part in the film.
On this, he retorted: “I think that’s a cliche. There are no small roles only small actors. With that in mind, any role is equally in service to the material. Whether you’re on screen or not, the actors don’t really decide.
“Films, the way we know them, are pretty much created in post-production. You hope you have enough pieces to put it together. I just treat all the roles as an important part of a much bigger story than my character, then you let all those pieces fall where they may.”
The Breakfast Club is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video now.
Iceland is Best is due for release on September 8.
Buy tickets to a special Q&A preview screening at Everyman Cinemas Here