For those who know the backstory, there’s a certain irony behind Matthew Broderick lip-synching the 1964 Beatles hit “Twist and Shout” in one of the most memorable moments from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the beloved 1986 teen comedy released 35 years ago today, on June 11, 1986. In the scene, Broderick’s wiseacre school-skipper finagles his way onto a float during Chicago’s annual Von Steuben Day parade, where he grabs a mic and launches into Wayne Newton’s cover “Danke Schoen” before really livening up the massive crowd with “Twist and Shout.”
A few weeks before Broderick and company filmed that sequence, the young actor twisted himself into a painful injury.
“I had destroyed my knee,” he told Yahoo Entertainment during a 2016 Role Recall interview (watch above, with Ferris Bueller kicking off at 1:25), “while I was doing a scene while I was running through [a] yard. I had twisted it and it was, like, swollen, so I couldn’t do all the choreography that we had worked on.” (Fun fact: The film’s choreography was staged by Kenny Ortega, who went on to work on Dirty Dancing before directing Disney movies like Newsies, Hocus Pocus and High School Musical 3).
The support Broderick and crew, including hometown hero writer-director John Hughes, received buoyed the actor’s spirit.
As Broderick explained, the parade scene was shot over two weekends — first at an actual parade, but the second merely as a start-from-scratch, on-location film shoot that required hundreds of extras. Hughes relied on local radio stations to broadcast word across Chicago that locals were needed to fill the streets for the scene.
“There were concerns that we wouldn’t get enough of a crowd, and then we got there and there were 10,000 [people there],” Broderick explained. “And it was like a party, everybody was so delighted with that music. It was very spontaneous, actually, but I had rehearsed that scene for months.”
Beyond those mass gatherings, Broderick also fondly recalls the moments where it was just Ferris, all by his lonesome, delivering witty monologues straight to camera at the beginning and end of the movie.
“When he’s alone getting ready or at the end of the movie when I’m alone talking to camera were really fun because John Hughes would sort of make stuff up and I would make stuff up and we would have the freedom to try anything,” the actor said.
“I love that for some reason. And he said, 'You’re an interesting actor because you’re best when you’re alone,’ John Hughes told me, which I hope isn’t true.”
Stream Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on Amazon Prime.
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