While not a box office blockbuster or a major movie star vehicle, Ferris Bueller's Day Off has become one of the most popular comedies of all time. Now, on its 30th anniversary (do you feel old yet?), we're learning all sorts of new things about the film. Alan Ruck has given us some backstory on one of the film's many great sequences. When Cameron Frye was playing the part of Sloane's dad on the phone with Mr. Rooney, Ruck was doing a specific impression of an old Broadway director that he and Matthew Broderick once had, in order to try and get Broderick to crack up.
Alan Ruck and Matthew Broderick were already friends when they worked together on Ferris Bueller's Day Off. They had also previously worked together on Broadway, on Neil Simon's play Biloxi Blues. Ruck tells Oprah: Where Are They Now, that on the set of the play, Broderick used to do an impression of their director, Gene Saks. So, when Ferris Bueller director John Hughes gave Ruck the freedom to improvise his phone conversation with the school principal, the voice he's doing isn't a generic "dad voice," but rather, it's an impression of Broderick, doing an impression of their old director.
Alan Ruck didn't tell Matthew Broderick he was going to going to be doing the voice. Hearing the actor tell the story, it sounds like he was really just doing it for fun, and was actually surprised when that take was the one that ended up in the final cut of the film. He credits director John Hughes for letting the young actors improvise on the set. While he admits that not all of it worked, he thinks the opportunity to try was very special and was one of the pieces that helped make Ferris Bueller's Day Off such a special film. Check out the scene below.
In a movie that is full of great sequences, this may be Alan Ruck's comedic high point in the film. For a character who spends most of the film in an absolute panic, Cameron here is at his most confident. Honestly, if Ferris hadn't inserted himself at the end, we're sure Cameron would have had everything under control.
Alan Ruck has had roles in countless films and TV shows but he will likely always be remembered most for his part in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Overall, he seems ok with that. It's an experience he remembers fondly. What is your memory of Ferris Bueller's Day Off?