What the Hell Happened to Matthew Broderick?
Matthew Broderick is a triple threat. He has been a star of stage and screen. His filmography includes iconic roles like Ferris Bueller and the voice of the Lion King. He’s even fought Godzilla. But these days, you are far more likely to see the former Ferris Bueller on Broadway than starring in a hit movie. The former A-lister’s film career is still active, but it has definitely cooled.
What the hell happened?
Broderick started his acting career in theater. He was noticed by a New York Times theater critic in an Off Broadway production of Torch Song Trilogy which led to roles on Broadway.
Broderick starred as Eugene Morris Jerome in two plays written by Neil Simon. Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues were the first two-thirds of Simon’s Eugene trilogy. The third play, Broadway Bound, starred Jonathan Silverman who would go on to play Eugene in the film version of Brighton Beach Memoirs.
The three plays were semi-autobiographical accounts of Simon’s life. The successful plays lead to Broderick getting offers for film and TV roles. Originally, Broderick was offered the role of Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties. But he backed out when he realized bigger offers were on the horizon.
Brighton Beach Memoirs also lead to Broderick being cast in his first film role, Max Dugan Returns. The movie was written and produced by Neil Simon. Max Dugan was released in 1983 and starred Marsha Mason, Jason Robards and Donald Sutherland. Sutherland’s son, Kiefer, also appeared in a small role.
The film was not a hit at the box office, but it was a start.
Later that year, Broderick co-starred opposite Ally Sheedy and Dabney Coleman in the Cold War thriller, War Games.
Beverly Hills Cop director, Martin Brest, was originally hired to direct War Games. But the producers found his take on the material to be too dark. Brest was fired and replaced by Saturday Night Fever director, Jon Badham.
Badham has said that Broderick and Sheedy were “stiff as boards” when he arrived at the set. They were concerned about being fired along with Brest. So, Badham tried to put his young actors at ease in order to give the film a lighter tone. He wanted to make it seem like the characters were having fun in spite of the film’s serious undertones.
War Games received very positive reviews and was the 5th highest grossing film of 1983.
1983 was an incredible year for Broderick. He starred in a hit summer movie and he became the youngest actor to win a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for Brighton Beach Memoirs.
In 1985, Broderick co-starred opposite Michelle Pfeiffer and Rutger Hauer in Richard Donner’s fantasy film, Ladyhawke.
Broderick played a thief called The Mouse who helps a couple of star-crossed lovers. The couple (played by Hauer and Pfeiffer) were cursed. During the day, Pfeiffer’s character is transformed into a hawk. At night, Hauer is transformed into a wolf. With the help of The Mouse, they attempt to free themselves of the curse.
Ladyhawke received mixed to positive reviews. But it was not a hit at the box office.
Later that year, Broderick appeared in his second Neil Simon production on Broadway, Biloxi Blues, which co-starred Penelope Ann Miller and Broderick’s future Ferris Bueller co-star, Alan Ruck. 1985 wasn’t quite the grand slam year Broderick had in 1983. But he was still starring in big budget movies and Broadway shows.
Posted on January 12, 2013, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actor and tagged cable guy, ferris bueller, glory, godzilla, Lion King, matthew broderick, stepford wives, tower heist, war games. Bookmark the permalink. 92 Comments.