Anthony Michael Hall is an actor, Film producer, television producer, film director and a singer-songwriter.
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Good morning everybody. Glad to be here. If anybody has any questions, I'm game.
My latest film is RESULTS, now in theaters, on VOD and iTunes.
Victoria's helping me. AMA.
Update: Well, first of all, my thanks to everybody who was online with us today. I had a lot of fun.
Victoria, thank you as well, my dear. You did a great job.
And I hope you all go check out RESULTS this weekend. It's a fun film, with a lot of great actors in it - Cobie Smulders, Guy Pearce, Brooklyn Decker, Giovanni Ribisi, Kevin Corrigan - it's a fun movie. A true indie. It's set in Austin, and there are some really good performances in it. A lot of funny, good acting! Lot of talented, good actors in it.
Everybody, make sure you go offline and get outdoors for a while. And stay peaceful, positive and productive. How about that?
Ever hang out with Michael C Hall (Dexter)?
It's funny. I saw this guy - I never met him before - I saw him at a TV convention 8 years ago - and we were just passing each other in the hallway, saying a quick hello.
And I'm taking my name back.
I don't know who he thinks he is.
Add that! I think it's funny! I don't know who he thinks he is! Hahaha!
He should Michael C about getting a new name!
What was it like working with James Roday and Dule Hill on Psych? Your chemistry with the rest of the cast was hilarious and seemed super natural.
Hahaha! They're great guys. I had a lot of fun on the show. I was happy to be a part of it in the last season. And I thought it was a great opportunity, a really fun role.
Did you ever date a girl from Ohio whose parents owned a couple of Subway restaurants, or was the guy I was working with at Subway in the 90s full of shit?
I don't remember that, but I like Subway!
You know what would be cool? If during the very last “Vacation” movie, they would have all the Rusty’s and Audrey’s make random cameos.
Sure! That sounds funny.
That's a good idea!
What is your favorite memory of John Hughes?
Seeing him sit next to the camera, when we were filming and shooting, and he would always be laughing. He was always directing from that vantage point, so that was cool.
at the end of the Breakfast Club you ask if they'll remain friends, in your mind did they?
I hope so, because if not, what was the point of all that group therapy? Right? Haha!
But what's cool about it is to see the next generation, to see that it resonates. It really is that kind of thing. People project themselves onto the different characters, in an emotional way, which is cool and interesting.
I think it's rare for a film to do that.
And I think that's why it's held up, in some ways.
John Hughes had some great music in his movies...you dancing to Oingo Boingo's "Wild Sex in the Working Class" in Sixteen Candles is one of my favorite scenes.
Did he influence your music tastes? Did you ever turn him on to a new '80s band or influence his tastes?
First of all, I apologize for that lame scrawny dance.
Start with that.
And then to answer the questions - he TOTALLY did. He would take us, Molly and me, to record stores and stuff. He would be the one turning US on to music! And whether it was like, literally the Beatles - he used to make mixtapes, I swear, on cassette - so the thing is, this is another thing you can add Victoria - he had a room in his house that looked like a record store, and he had a computer in the corner, and every wall was ALL music. At that point in time, hip-hop wasn't really there yet, New Wave and everything was what was big then, we had bands from the US and the UK, he would have old Beatles albums, all kinds of stuff. He wrote in that room, the room full of 12 inch vinyls, and he would literally write music cues into his scripts.
Because he would be listening as he would write his scripts, so it started to seep through.
So a lot of the music in his films - that was him deciding it - a lot of times, people didn't know who those bands were! He was like a guy running a record store. And literally that room in the record store - that's what I'm saying, it became part of his style, when the characters would hook up at the end, or be so much happier, and there was a music cue - it would be from his own inspiration.
It's very interesting, how he incorporated that into his writing.
It's really awesome how enthusiastically you're laughing. Victoria would not put hahahaha in itallics unless you were having a great time. Question- Have you ever had a night at the Roxbury?
First of all, you're doing a great job, thank you Victoria. Props to Victoria.
And you know what's so funny? I did have a night at the Roxbury! There WAS a club on Sunset Boulevard - it's now called something else.
Interestingly enough, it was an old restaurant, going back to the 1940's, called Imperial Gardens, and that's where Humphrey Bogart gave the group of musicians the nickname "the Rat Pack." And all the guys would go there to drink with Bogart - Sinatra and so on.
So cut to the 1990's - the same place becomes the Roxbury. And I used to go there, back in the 1990's.
And it was cheesy like that.
The movie did not do it a service. It was probably cheesier than it looked in the movie.
Like looking at these old movies - have you started to notice that the 90's are starting to look like the 80's on TV, as cheesy? The clothes and the hair, that's what they based that movie on. That's what it was like.
Wired Science was one of my favorite movie of all time, can you recall any moments from the set that standout today?
Let me see here, any moments that stand out - when Kelly LeBrock showed up, hahaha! She was a beautiful woman, totally cool, and we're still friends to this day. It was like in the film - Whoa! - when she showed up.
Did you keep any souvenirs from any movie sets such as clothing or props? If so do you still have them? Thanks!
Yeah! I took as much clothing from sets as I could! I usually try to ask, hahaha!
And I have a nice collection of suits.
Do I have any memorabilia? I keep certain scripts from projects, and photos.
Anthony, good to see you on here. Thanks for doing this AMA.
Your performance as Brian in The Breakfast Club is my favorite and your legacy with John Hughes is one that I hope you’re extremely proud of.
My questions to you are: What role or story would you like to try that you haven’t tried yet? Do you have a favorite performance of yours that you’ve done? And who would you like to work with that you haven’t yet?
Well, first of all, thank you.
I got to play Bill Gates about 15 years ago, it was a cable film that was a great experience, so any kind of real life story. I remember being amped in doing the research, and the way I approached it was really fun. So doings something based on a true story, real characters, yeah. And in terms of working as an actor, it's more about the director, so working with great directors in the future.
Let me see... There are a lot of great directors. Eastwood is great, Scorsese, all those masterful American directors, I'd love to work with some of those guys. I mean, comedy, Apatow is great, I love Sandler, it'd be great to work with them too.
Hey, what really happened with “Full Metal Jacket”? I hear different stories. Thanks for doing this!
Basically, it never came to fruition. It was a very long, drawn out negotiation with Mr. Kubrick, and I was unfortunately working on other projects, and there was a conflict.
Did you realize as you were filming it that the bar scene in Weird Science was the greatest few minutes of comedy film ever produced? It is you know.
Oh, thank you VERY much, whomever that is.
Thank you very much.
And this is kind of a cool story - that scene was improvised. And we kinda just went with it. And what happened was John Hughes set the scene up, and it was improvised - but there's a little more to it. Basically, when I was a kid on those sets, in between sets, I would be listening to George Carlin and Richard Pryor. So it was inspired by Richard Pryor, that voice that I did, by a character that Richard Pryor did in his stand-up called "Mudbone," so because I would imitate Mudbone for John Hughes, it would crack him up, so he set that scene up, and we all just improvised it!
You can't buy the necessities of life with cookies. You can't buy a car with cookies, am I right, Anthony?
I think that's from Breakfast Club.
There you go - absolutely!
Did all of you ACTUALLY get stoned in the breakfast club? This is literally the question I've had since I first saw the movie.
No, unfortunately we didn't.
They would use - oh, what was it called - clove cigarettes? They would use something like that. Or a tobacco substitute. So no, we didn't actually get high.
There's no way we could actually remember all that dialogue! We had like, 10 page scenes where we're all achin' and moaning about different high school thangs! Hahaha!
HUGE, HUGE fan! You were in a ton of classics that I can still watch today after seeing them a million times. You made “nerds” cool.
Looking back, do you wish that you would have taken those roles in Ferris Bueller and Pretty in Pink?
Thanks for taking the time to do this.
Well, that's nice. Thank you very much.
No, I don't have any regrets in regards to the work. I'm just grateful I've had a creative job I can continue to do. I like to keep it simple on that level is how I look at it. I think if you stay in a place of gratitude, it keeps you open for new opportunities and also just going very different things. So i've always looked at the work I've done as great. A lot of people are very skilled at playing the celebrity thing all year around, and then some people focus on the work, and me I've always preferred to do the work and then disappear into my own life, haha! That's the way I've always looked at it, to be honest.
You kick so much ass!
Can you tell us a bit about John Hughes? I just read a biography on him and he was a fascinating if enigmatic individual.
Which lesser known movie of yours are you particularly proud of?
I love Pirates of Silicon Valley and think it's one of the best TV movies ever made. Did you ever meet Bill Gates? How did you prepare for the role?
There's an awesome photo of you and Heath Ledger during filming of The Dark Knight. What was he like to work with? As intense on the set as he was on the screen?
Lastly, you came to my table read on Sunday and it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I didn't get a chance to thank you then, but reddit comes to the rescue. Thank you!
1.) Well, thank you first of all. I've been trying to kick some ass!
And John Hughes - well, I can say this, and this kind of disarms all that - he was a really humble, down-to-earth, nice Midwestern guy.
And his wife and he had 2 young sons at the time, so he was a family man too, he was always with his family, and I felt like I was his other son when I worked with him, Victoria. He always felt like a big brother to me.
And he loved to laugh. He was really cool.
He saw the whole thing as an opportunity to make people laugh.
He wrote these great scripts. But he'd encourage everybody to ad-lib and have fun with it all. He would conspire with the actors to make them funnier, have them bring their own touch to it, you know?
2.) That's a cool one.
That's interesting. I did this really weird movie with Mickey Rourke and his wife at the time? And this other actress, I forget her name. Anyway, it's called EXIT IN RED.
That would be one to check out. I play this really crazy character, it's a really dark heavy love-triangle between me, and this woman, and Mickey Rourke's character. It was a European filmmaker. I did it a lot time ago. It's dark. But i thought it was kind of cool.
3.) Thank you for that! I didn't. You know what's so funny? I did call Microsoft, I did try to get a meeting with him, and it was denied, because when you're one of the richest guys in the world - you're kind of, you know, booked and scheduled for the next decade or two.
I remember the name of the guy who called me back from Microsoft! It was a Microsoft spokesman who called me back, so I thought it was cool that they asked.
So there's a lesson there - the only dumb question is one you don't ask.
Right! So I'm glad I asked, even though I was denied.
4.) He was really cool. I mean, he was very low-key. And quiet. But he was also very concentrated, in terms of when he was working. And I thought he was fantastic in that film. But a kind of low-key guy. He was from Australia, and was a very low-key kind of guy. But I also saw this other side when he was working, when he was focused on what he was doing, and that was cool.
Oh, thanks! I'm glad I was a part of it.
(Good luck with your project! You're a talented writer).
Hahaha no way man, it's from Edward Scissorhands.
"Uh that's true sir, you can't."
Brain fart! My bad! Ha!
How did you get your role in Edward Scissorhands? Was it a conscious effort to play more of a bully?
No, there was no thought put into it at all. I was asked to go meet with Tim Burton, and I thought he did some really cool art, and I was very happy that he gave me the role.
You still hold the record for being the youngest member of SNL. What was it like going in at 17 years old? And, I was hoping you might talk about filming that scene with Heath Ledger in TDK. Thank you so much for giving us so many iconic moments.
It was scary, and exciting, and a LOT of fun.
I was always a huge fan, even as a little kid in the 1970's. And what tripped me out is that I was a HUGE Eddie Murphy fan, right, in the early 80's when he was on the show and I was still in high school, and I never could've imagined that a few years later I would be on the show too.
It felt like you were in a play, a rock and roll tour, everything rolled together! And you're doing standup, live sketches in front of people. A great experience, although not one of the greatest seasons of the history of the show, I'm always grateful to Lorne Michaels for the opportunity. Because it was a great experience.
Sure! Well, there's actually a kind of cool story, Victoria.
We got to set at a place call Cardington - it was in England, a former Air Force base that they turned into studios - and we had been waiting round for a bunch of hours, and then all of a sudden, Heath and I were asked to the set, and we got there, and Chris Nolan turned to both of us, and he said "I'm going to let Heath direct the sequence" so then Heath and I went off to work with the stunt guys, and they hung me upside-down, and then we worked out the scene, and then Heath filmed it on a camcorder, basically, as he was - it's a ransom video, right? So that's how Heath filmed it, that's how he shot all the angles. It was fun, because we were cut loose by Chris Nolan. And the studio was amazing - it's probably the biggest soundstage I've ever been in! It's probably 10 blocks long, New York City blocks long, and 10 stories high.
They built all of Gotham inside there. A whole city inside a soundstage.
Which was your favorite ride at Wally World?
It actually didn't exist. Inside the park was Six Flags. And the parking lot was San Anita Race Track, which was pretty funny - and once we went through, they doubled it with Six Flags.
Hey Mr. Hall, thanks for doing this.
A Gnome Named Gnorm was a HUGE part of my childhood -- it still brings me joy. Can you talk about working with the late, great Jerry Orbach? I feel like he never got as popular as he should have been, but it seems like everyone who worked with him liked him.
That's a sweet one.
Thank you, again, very much.
I had a great experience working with Jerry, and also the man who directed his name, Stan Winston, passed away. So I'd like to pay tribute to both men, Victoria. I really loved working with Jerry, he was a very nice man. And Stan Winston. And they were both really cool guys. You look back - and I'm 47 right, so right there in the middle aged guy group - and growing up, it really makes a big impression on you when you're a kid and established, great talented adults treat you really well. They were great guys to work with, both Jerry and Stan.
And growing up on sets and working with a lot of great stars and actors, it's always really cool when they're very gracious. And you never forget that. So I appreciate that.
Hi Anthony! What do you think about Ed Helms playing Rusty in the new Vacation movie?
I think it's cool, and I hope it's funny! I wish them all the success with it. The trailer looks great. I did see it, it does look very funny.
Did you ever get detention in high school?
No, I wasn't there enough, thank god! I was working! Haha!
What was your favorite role?
Hopefully it's ahead of me!
Hey there... Big fan and all of that! If they did a remake of Breakfast Club, who would you cast as Brian? The rest of the club?
I don't know!
Someone sent me the funniest - people can probably find it online - somebody did an animated thing of why the Breakfast Club would NOT work today- and every time they'd cut from the closeups, they would add an insert of everybody having a cell phone on their lap! Everybody had their cell phone on their lap, so nobody had to talk, they were texting in detention.
And the joke to me was that they wouldn't talk to each other anyway, because they'd all be on Twitter or deleting Snapchat videos or something. You know?
And then who would play it today... I'd put Bieber in detention as Brian. Hahaha!
He needs some more detention time.
What does your ideal breakfast consist of?
Uh...I like bacon and eggs. And orange juice. Throw that in there.
Hi Anthony!!! When can we expect Weird Science 2? Follow up: are you friends with the other guy in that movie and Chet in real life?
Well, now that I'm an old guy, I don't think it's going to be happen. But there has been talk that they're remaking the film. And I've heard that Jason Bateman would be directing it. He's great.
I am! I am. Yeah! Ilan is his name, and Bill Paxton is the other guy, and yes, I am.
And you know what's interesting? Ilan is a dad, with a wife and a couple of kids, and he's a professor of medieval literature. He's a smart guy! And Kelly is still a friend of ours. And Bill is super-cool, he lives up a few hours from me.
Thank you for doing this AMA Mr. Hall, I'm a big fan!
I was hoping you could give us your thoughts on the final season of Dexter, were you happy with how they wrapped up the show or were you disappointed in how it was handled?
I've never been on this show, but I heard he kills everybody, so it had to end! Hahahaha!
First of all, thank you for doing this AMA. You've been one of my absolute favorite actors since I fell in love with The Dead Zone when I was twelve and then discovered the rest of your work later on. I have a few questions if you don't mind!
You've worked several times with Robert Downey Jr, who is now Marvel Studios' leading man. Would you be interested in playing a Marvel character? If so, do you have one in mind? Or would you be open to doing another film with RDJ?
I absolutely loved your album Hall of Mirrors! Do you plan on releasing any more music?
I was super bummed when The Dead Zone was canceled and wasn't able to completely tie up everything. It's now 2015, the year of the apocalypse in the show. Do you think Johnny was able to stop the impending doom?
With so many cult television shows being revived for new seasons, would you be open to a Dead Zone revival?
I loved Hail Caesar. Do you have any plans to direct more in the future?
I remember you used to have an official MySpace account back in the day. Would you be open to having a Facebook or Twitter to interact with fans?
Finally, do you have any advice or words of encouragement for someone looking to break into business?
Thank you again for the AMA! If you're booking conventions, try to come to Ohio sometime! Also, here's a shameless plug for /r/tdz - my new Dead Zone subreddit!
1.) That's a good question, well, thanks a lot! Robert is a great friend to this day, and we're actually developing a project. We're co-writing a project right now. So we're working on a project now, with his company, Team Downey.
2.) No, not at this time. But maybe down the line. I'd love to be able to incorporate it into some films. I'd love to do some directing and producing down the line, so I think that would be a good outlet, to incorporate some original music in my films.
3.) Uh...I hope so! Hahaha! I don't think Johnny could save the world, but thank you for being a big fan of the show.
4.) Well, never say never right! I don't know if it would be with me, but it might happen in the future. The film was with Christopher Walken, in 1980. So it could happen, it might not just be me.
5.) Yeah! I have a production company, Manhattan Films, and I'm developing a project now, and I'm definitely planning to write and direct in the future.
6.) Not right now!
7.) I would say pursue your passion, and educate yourself as much as you can in whatever you're focused upon - whether it's filmmaking, or the arts, or tech, whatever your fascination is, I think it's important to pursue it and work on cultivating the craft of whatever it is you're going to achieve.
Hello Mr. Hall,
With your work on 61* did you ever get to spend any time with Whitey Ford? Any good stories?
That's a good question.
You know what's so funny? I did meet Mr. Ford, but it was at the premiere of the movie.
Let me just tell you this, Victoria - I went up to him, actually, and I said "Hi sir, I'm Anthony Michael Hall, I played you in the movie, it's an honor to meet you." And then he looked at me, and then past me, and he said "I hope you had a good curveball." And then 10 seconds later he walked away. Like a coach would, haha! It was funny.
What is Tom Green like in person?
He's kind of a spaz, like he is on screen? But he's a good guy.
Haha! He's fun. He's like his on-camera image. He's kind of like that. Especially his earlier show. And he's a good guy. He's Canadian, and I like Canadians a lot. They have a great sense of humor built into them.
And he's great to work with, and much like his character.
What's your favorite vacation spot? Also, what were the 80's like? It seems like it was a fun time...
Bahamas or Hawaii.
Thank you very much! I feel 187 years old! Hahahahaha!
From what I remember, they were almost as good as the Middle Ages!
My neighbor's last name is Hall, do you know her?
Nope, but if I yell out the window, maybe she'll hear me!
What were some of the emotions on the set of "Foxcatcher?" Was it constantly intense? Was it just Steve who was keeping it somber? Were there any particular feelings the cast had to the story, in general?
Here's what i want to say to that. The three actors did phenomenal work. Channing (who goes by "Chan" for all those fans out there - his fans are called "Tatum-tots" by the way, I swear!), Steve, and Mark Ruffalo gave phenomenal performances. And off-set, they were very nice guys, very down-to-earth.
Now, it was a very concentrated and focused experience, working on-set. And that had to do with the director. It was very concentrated, focused, and Bennett Miller was really responsible for that - obviously he's a very great filmmaker, he's been nominated like 3 times already. And so I think it all stems from him. He did such a great job as a filmmaker, and everybody falls in with his vision - it really is true, when you work with a really great filmmaker, they really set the tone of what is needed and all that.
They were all just focused on their acting and that place.
I read somewhere that you were almost in Full Metal Jacket. Is that true? What was auditioning for Kubrick like?
I didn't actually audition. He just sent me the script and I was able to talk to him by phone, which was a real honor.
And that's it, yeah.
You are the man! What is one role you wish you could tackle?
You know, I love to read, so I'm always fascinated by great writers. So maybe a movie about a great writer. The problem is they don't make movies about writers that often.
But I think it's interesting.
What is your role in RESULTS and what was it like working with Cobie Smulders? Did she tell you anything about her time on the set of The Avengers?
Yeah, well that's what we're promoting today. It was a fun experience. The director was a great guy, and he also wrote the script. I flew to Austin to make the film, and I worked with Cobie and Guy Pearce and Brooklyn Decker who played my wife in the film, and they were all great.
I play a Russian kettle bell instructor. You know, those things? And the whole thing is that there are two trainers in the film, and it was really cool. Cobie and Guy were very funny, playing this couple - like all those movies where they're the LAST to figure it out, but they fall in love. And my character is a kettle bell instructor and online guru that Guy wants to meet so he can get advice on building his business.
Basically, the scene is all of us - they come to our house, me and Brooklyn, and we host Guy, and then Cobie crashes the party, which is HILARIOUS.
Cobie didn't mention her work on THE AVENGERS. It was like - kind of like filming a play - we all jumped into it, and the whole 2 days that we shot we were basically just doing the scene! But it's cool, we just went and saw THE AVENGERS the other night. It was cool.
I've contributed to Downey's new wing at his estate in Malibu!
What did you think of all the internet speculation surrounding The Dark Knight that you were going to be playing Robin?
I hadn't heard that before. I love the speculation. I hope it can be forwarded to Chris Nolan's email!
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Rocky Road! Chocolate with marshmallows.
Or coffee. I like coffee, too.