‘City on Fire’ Star John Cameron Mitchell Was Cast in the First Attempt at ‘The Breakfast Club’: ‘I’m So Glad It Didn’t Happen’

The actor in the upcoming Apple TV+ series recalled to TheWrap how he discussed his near-Brat Pack status with Molly Ringwald

John Cameron Mitchell, Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club
John Cameron Mitchell (Getty Images), Molly Ringwald in "The Breakfast Club" (Universal Pictures)

John Cameron Mitchell was originally cast in John Hughes’ “The Breakfast Club,” but that incarnation of the movie never happened due to lack of funding, the actor told TheWrap.

The actor, best known for his role in the 2001 cult classic “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” plays a sinister step-uncle to Jemima Kirke and Nico Tortorella’s characters in the new Apple TV+ series “City on Fire.” He had the occasion to revisit his brush with the Brat Pack when he and Molly Ringwald, who played rich girl Claire Standish in the ’80s high school classic, were both on the same flight.

“I was flying from New York and I was on the plane with Molly Ringwald, who was off to do ‘Riverdale,” he said. “So we we bonded a lot and talked about the old days. And I told her, actually, we had met once before. I said, ‘Molly, you know, actually, I was cast in “The Breakfast Club” before your cast was established. It was Joan Cusack and me and I think even John Cusack,” he said. “So she was like, ‘I heard about that. I didn’t know you were in that.’”

Reflecting on the fact he might have been rocketed to fame along with Brat Packers Rob Lowe and Andrew McCarthy, Mitchell said, “I’m so glad it didn’t happen. You know, there’s certain things I wanted at the time at 22. And I’m glad they didn’t happen because I wouldn’t have made some of the things I’m proud of. I would have been in L.A. and I think I would have been less happy there. I always like to work there, but I’m not really an L.A. person.”

When Hughes lost the funding for the first version of “The Breakfast Club,” he went on to make “Sixteen Candles,” which made a hugely bankable star out of Ringwald, who then headed up the newly recast “Breakfast Club” with Anthony Michael Hall taking on the part of nerdy Brian Johnson.

The cast went through several changes, with Emilio Estevez originally cast as rebellious outcast Bender, the role that went to Judd Nelson, while John Cusack and Nicolas Cage were also considered for the part.

And Mitchell and Ringwald may yet end up collaborating: “She sings too, and I invited her to sing with me at Joe’s Pub [in New York City],” said Mitchell.

Ringwald played Sally Bowles in a Broadway revival of “Cabaret” and Mitchell received a special Tony Award in 2015 for returning to the stage in his self-written musical “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

The first two episodes of “City on Fire” premiere Friday, May 1,2 on Apple TV+, followed by new episodes each Friday.