On June 10, 1985, a New York Magazine reporter walked into a bar along with the up-and-coming 80s actors, and wrote an article which would soon cause an uproar in the Hollywood industry.
It all started after the release of Joel Schumacher’s St. Elmo’s Fire in 1985. Successful names like Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy starred in the film, and grew quite close with each other, especially the boys. They would regularly meet in the Hard Rock Cafe to party, drink and mingle.
On one such night, a NY magazine reporter, David Blum, happened to be invited to their private gathering. Emilio Estevez himself invited Blum, knowing little about the consequences which lay ahead.
Originally David Blum’s article was supposed to focus on the actor Emilio Estevez only. However, as Blum paid more attention to the other members of the group, he realised what a unique relationship they had with each other. He then decided to change the centre of the article to the whole group of actors.
“At one round table in the middle of the room sat a group of boys who seemed to exude a magnetic force. As the boys toasted each other and chugged their beers, the prettiest of the girls would find some excuse to walk by the table, and they would eye the boys as languorously as they possibly could, hoping for an invitation to join them. […] There were many boys in the bar that Thursday night, many of them as handsome as those at this one round table, but these boys—these young studs, all under 25 years old, decked out in Risky Business sunglasses and trendish sport jackets and designer T-shirts—they were the Main Event.”
Throughout the article, Blum described the set of male actors as handsome and conceited. He wrote about the huge attention they received from the girls in the bar, and threw negative light on their reckless behaviour.
The introduction of the article mainly focused on the three male actors- Judd Nelson, Rob Lowe and Emilio Estevez.
“If Rob Lowe seemed to be inviting all too much attention from the girls, Judd Nelson acted as though he wanted nothing to do with it. […] Only one of the famous young boys seemed to take the attention in stride—perhaps because he grew up the son of a famous actor, Martin Sheen. Just 23 years old, Emilio Estevez looks like his famous father and is a star on his own.”
David Blum named the group as Hollywood’s Brat Pack.
The moniker is a play on the 60s Rat Pack, which included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis Jr.
Blum termed Emilio Estevez as the ‘unofficial president’ of the group.
“Emilio Estevez is the unofficial president of the Brat Pack. (He is also the unofficial treasurer; other members seem to forget their wallets when they go out together, and Estevez usually picks up the check.)”
The term Brat Pack has gained a lot of popularity since its introduction. While a lot of people argue about the members of the group, David Blum originally included the following actors, along with Estevez, as the members:
The Hottest of Them All—Tom Cruise
The Most Beautiful Face—Rob Lowe
The Overrated One—Judd Nelson
The Only One With an Oscar—Timothy Hutton
The One Least Likely to Replace Marlon Brando—Matt Dillon
The Ethnic Chair—Nicholas Cage
The Most Gifted of Them All—Sean Penn
Not Quite There: the Two Matthews—Broderick and Modine
Further into the article, Blum recounts an incident where Estevez took a few members of the group to watch the film Ladyhawke without paying for the $6 ticket. Another one mentioned him cutting the queue to get early entry into a club.
Although actor Andrew McCarthy is considered as a member of the Brat Pack himself, David Blum did not include him in the list. There is only one mention of the St. Elmo’s Fire‘s actor in the whole article.
“And of Andrew McCarthy, one of the New York-based actors in St. Elmo’s Fire, a co-star says, “He plays all his roles with too much of the same intensity. I don’t think he’ll make it.” The Brat Packers save their praise for themselves.”
Obviously, the article was a huge deal to the Hollywood industry.
It called out some of the most famous actors of that time, and put them in a bad light. The term ‘Brat Pack’ was etched into the actors’ resumes forever. It portrayed them as unprofessional and untalented— two adjectives no actor wants to be associated with.
Most of the members opened up about the negative publicity caused by the article, and called out journalist David Blum for writing such harsh words about people he didn’t even know.
Actor Andrew McCarthy recently published a memoir called Brat: An 80s Story, in which he voiced his thoughts about the Brat Pack and its members.
In an interview, McCarthy said:
“[…] it’s interesting because the photo on the cover was a still shot from St. Elmo’s Fire, which I was in. And then I was removed, cut out of it for the cover shot. And when I saw the cover I went, oh my God, they cut me out. And then I read the article and I went, oh my God, thank God they cut me out. And then soon enough, I was swept up into it anyway.”
The article caused the actors to associate less with each other, in order to avoid being typecast. However, with time, the term Brat Pack has lost its negative persona, and is now synonymous with the hottest stars who ruled the 80s.
After all, nothing’s ever permanent in showbiz.
[Source: Hollywood’s Brat Pack]