Some Kind of Wonderful is a teen drama written by John Hughes and directed by Howard Deutch. It was released in theatres in February 1987. The DVD came out in 2002 and the Special Collector’s Edition was released in 2006.
For all the info you need about the film, see: SomeKindofWonderful.org.
A young tomboy, Watts, finds her feelings for her best friend, Keith, run deeper than just friendship when he gets a date with the most popular girl in school. Unfortunately, the girl’s old boyfriend, who is from the rich section of town, is unable to let go of her, and plans to get back at Keith.
Eric Stoltz (Keith Nelson), Mary Stuart Masterson (Watts), Lea Thompson (Amanda Jones), Craig Sheffer (Hardy Jenns), John Ashton (Cliff Nelson), Elias Koteas (Skinhead), Molly Hagan (Shayne), Maddie Corman (Laura Nelson), Jane Elliot (Carol Nelson), Candace Cameron (Cindy Nelson), Scott Coffey (Ray)
One of my favourites is “Some Kind of Wonderful”. How did that come about?
We just did the 20th anniversary DVD, so I have actually thought about that one recently. How did it come about? I think I was just sent the script.
I heard the character was written for you?
Really? I didn’t know that. I think I was just sent the script and met with the director, at that time – who was Martha Coolidge. It was an entirely different script [from the film you know] – it was almost a silent film, because Martha had this interesting idea of trying to make it as much of a non-verbal, non-jokey teen film as possible. Clearly, the powers that be didn’t go for that.
When did John Hughes come onboard?
He was always onboard, because he was the writer/producer, but as we get closer to shooting he replaced her because he didn’t like what was being done to his material. He fired Martha – and a lot of the cast. I stayed onboard – I don’t know how that happened – but even then, I think I barely stayed onboard. We had shot two or three weeks with my hair below-my-shoulders and I was very greasy and odd looking – because the guy was someone who wasn’t able to fit in, we thought that was a great way to go. Anyway, they shut down production. Someone at Paramount came down and said “We’re going to cut your hair, and clean up your act.” I said “But the role is a rebel who doesn’t fit in.” They said “You’re going to cut your hair, and we’ll clean you up’. I said “Oh, so this is how the world works.”
Is it true you suggested Lea Thompson for the role of Amanda Jones?
I did, yeah. After the purge of the cast, I brought her the script. She was lovely. — Moviehole, 2007
DVD EXTRAS (Special Collector’s Edition):
Interview with Martha Coolidge (tBlog, January 2011):
Q: It is reported that you were supposed to direct Some Kind of Wonderful (1987), but had a falling out with John Hughes which prevented that from happening. Howard Deutch was re-hired to direct the film. Would you consider taking us through how that really went down?
Martha: I have actually never talked about this before. I was hired to direct Some Kind of Wonderful, Some Kind of Wonderfuldeveloped the script, then fully prepped the film for months and was fired four days before shooting. The press release claimed we had “creative differences” but that wasn’t it. I actually had a great time with John, rehearsing and getting the film ready to go. There were no signs of any problems. Mary Stuart [Masterson] was attached and I cast Eric [Stoltz], Kim Delaney and Kyle McLaughlin in the other two leads. I had Eric get long extensions and make his hair a darker red to give him some darkness and mystery. He was very steamy. Mary Stuart is always gorgeous as was Kim Delaney.
Prior to my involvement, apparently Howard Deutch had been involved with John and the film and they had a falling out. I didn’t know it, but on the weekend prior to our shoot, John and Howard met and made up. John decided in a gesture of friendship to make the studio give the movie to Howard to direct. John never spoke to me. When I came in on Monday morning I got a call to come over to see Michael [Chinich], John’s partner and producer. No one said anything to me, but I could feel that something was wrong. The walk to the next building felt like I was walking a gang plank. Michael was in tears when I got there and talked about his crushing disappointment in the film and his company. He directed me to sit and told me what a great job I was doing. I thought maybe Eric had died and the movie was off. Then he said that they would be making the film but not with me. He said that I was fired, with no reason, and I had to leave the lot right away. I was in shock. I insisted on talking to my actors before I left. They were already on the lot meeting with Howard. Kim and Kyle were also fired and they wanted to fire Eric Stoltz as well. He was traumatized. He had just had a terrible experience on Back to the Future before this. The studio drew the line with Eric though and said no, he was to stay. I was called to Ned Tannen’s office, the president of Paramount, and he apologized. He said I hadn’t done anything wrong, I was a pleasure to work with and this was a whim of John’s, but John was very important to the studio so they had to do it even though it would hurt the film, and me. He promised to make it up to me and get me a film as soon as he could. Even in shock, I realized that until I started shooting I wasn’t even “pay or play”. But my full check for the entire salary was waiting for me by the time I got home.
Then I found something out about Hollywood. I got about a hundred phone calls from people I knew and didn’t know. They told me not to be too upset, that it happens to everyone and that I was in good company being fired by John Hughes. Major heads of companies called me and were very kind. It was one of the first times I felt truly like I was a member of the community. The experience was awful, a real artistic coitus-interruptus and I hired a publicist to help me through the “Artistic Differences” public story that the company and my agents had agreed upon. After a couple days, I left town.
Years later, I ran into John on an airplane in a small first class cabin flying back from Japan for 12 long hours. He greeted me cheerfully and acted like nothing had ever happened and he had never caused me such pain. I was polite to him but felt good that I was returning from Japan with Rambling Rose and he had Curly Sue.
The thing that galled me more was I had told him my story about my disastrous plane and train trip back and forth to New York one week. My plane was delayed then diverted, the train had a collision, the food ran out, a heat wave hit, etc. I wanted to make a film out of the experience. Before I knew it, he wrote Planes, Trains and Automobiles and it was in production. The moral of that story is to never tell a good writer your best stories.
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