Dusting 'Em Off
Revisiting an album, a film, or an event on its anniversary

Save Ferris: A Chicago Guide to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

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Casting and Wardrobe

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Cast: Michael Roffman as Ferris Bueller, Heather Kaplan as Sloane Peterson, Justin Gerber as Cameron Frye, and Matt Melis humbly as John Hughes.

Great productions are often made or sabotaged during auditions. As a director, it’s my job to know perfect casting when it drops into the backseat of my friend’s dad’s Ferrari. On rare occasions, an actor is born to play a certain role, able to instinctively tap into the essence of the character they’ll be portraying — like Ed Rooney doing Dirty Harry. When that happens, a director need only step back and roll camera. Broderick, Sara, Ruck — absolute no-brainers. Roffman, Kaplan, and Gerber — not so much. I’d like to tell you that Michael Roffman is as naturally smooth as Ferris, Heather Kaplan as wildly untamable as Sloane, and Justin Gerber as emotionally damaged as Cameron, but only the observation about Justin would be true. It took all of my skills as a director to coax remarkable performances from these three, a feat that should not go ignored come awards season.

Day Off on a Budget: Also critical to final casting decisions was the fact that Michael and Heather had dressed as Ferris and Sloane a couple Halloweens ago (both Ferris’ vest and Sloane’s jacket actually made by Heather). Given our tight budget, having two costumes already accounted for largely secured a green light for our project. Justin didn’t own a Gordie Howe jersey, but I’m sure they didn’t ask Olivier to bring his own tights to play Hamlet either.

— 1 Gordie Howe Red Wings jersey x  $70 = $70

Running Production Budget: $70

–Matt Melis

WLS 890 AM (Soundtrack): “Love Missile F1-11” (Extended Version) by Sigue Sigue Sputnik

Odds are you’ve never heard of London’s Sigue Sigue Sputnik. What country do you think this is? Right. Led by former Generation X bassist Tony James, the new wave outfit’s first single brings us into the world of Ferris Bueller with its manic pop sensibilities that oscillate between a happier Suicide and a more frantic Devo. Wouldn’t you know that Giorgio Moroder produced this ditty; listen carefully at the beginning, and you’ll hear a sample from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.

You can find this track on Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s 1986 debut, Flaunt It.

–Michael Roffman


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