What Happened to the Breakfast Club?

John Hughes’ 1985 teen drama ‘The Breakfast Club’ came to define 80s teen life while leaving an indelible mark on the movie industry courtesy of its timeless and universally recognisable themes. The movie also spawned the careers of many of its cast, some of whom peaked at its release and others who were just getting started. Here’s what happened to the cast of The Breakfast Club in the 30 plus years since its release.


John Bender (Judd Nelson)

Judd Nelson then and now

Judd Nelson’s alternative and rebellious teenager John Bender has become an icon of the screen due to his quick one-liners, distinctive look and that unforgettable grey streak of hair that seemed to disappear and reappear from scene to scene. He was perhaps one of the more notable members of the 80s’ so-called Brat Pack and his appearance in this movie coincided with a less notable but still important appearance in St. Elmo’s Fire in the same year. Later in the decade he’d provide the voice of Rodimus Prime in Transformers: The Movie and narrate the 100% fresh (Rotten Tomatoes) documentary Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam, as well as win a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Mini-Series for his performance in Billionaire Boys Club. He’d close the decade having worked with the likes of Bruce Willis, John Hurt, Nicolas Cage, Charlie Sheen, Robert DeNiro and Burt Reynolds, and he’d move into the 90s as a co-star to Max von Sydow in Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes (1990). The 90s would see him transition into the popular ‘urban’ genre of the time opposite the likes of Wesley Snipes, Chris Rock, Forest Whitaker and Rosario Dawson, but it would be his television work on HBO’s Suddenly Susan – a show that ran for 4 seasons with Nelson as one of the starring roles – that would see out the decade. In the 2000s a series of bad film and TV choices diminished his success significantly and the actor could be found in lesser roles on CSI by mid-way through the decade. The 2010s saw him step away from the industry and release four novels for Kindle and reprise his role as Rodimus Prime in Transformers: Animated. He is currently filming a film version of Billionaire Boys Club and working smaller independent movies




Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez)

Emilio Estevez then and now

Emilio Estevez’s typical high-school jock Andrew Clark was given a depth and character by writer John Hughes that was often overlooked in characters of his type in other movies, and Estevez’s portrayal was praised for its honesty and vulnerability following the picture’s release. This made him one of the bigger stars to come from the film, following in the footsteps of his father and brother, Martin Sheen and Charlie Sheen respectively, to become one of the more highly sought actors of the day. Like Judd Nelson, Estevez was a cast member for St. Elmo’s Fire, and was set to lead Oliver Stone’s Platoon before scheduling delays meant passing the role to his younger brother Charlie Sheen. The rest of the decade would be a mixed bag from an acting point of view having picked up a Golden Raspberry for his performance in Maximum Overdrive and starred in the successful action-westerns Young Guns 1&2, but Estevez would make inroads into other roles within the industry having contributed to the screenplay of three films and directed two feature length pictures by 1990. In the 90s, Estevez would look to make more films and negotiated a deal with Disney that allowed him to get funding for some of his passion projects in return for starring in the successful sports movies The Mighty Ducks, and this more artistic route would take him through the 2000s where Estevez would direct a number of episodes of The Guardian, Cold Case, CSI: NY and Numb3rs but would fade into relative obscurity as a star name after only appearing in 10 films/tv shows this century, including a handful of cameos alongside family members in The West Wing and 2 and a Half Men. Now seemingly unofficially retired from the industry, Estevez is attached to no future projects but has been heard speaking of the possibility of another Mighty Ducks movie in the near future.

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