What the Hell Happened to Lea Thompson?
In 1987, Thompson co-starred opposite Eric Stoltz and Mary Stuart Masterson in the coming-of-age drama, Some Kind of Wonderful.
Some Kind of Wonderful is basically Pretty in Pink with the genders reversed. Stoltz played a working class guy hoping to go to college. Masterson played his tom boyish best friend who just might have feelings for him. And Thompson played the most popular girl in school whom Stoltz must ask to the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. Ooops, wrong movie.
Fans of John Hughes’ Pretty in Pink have complained for decades that Hughes got the ending wrong by having Molly Ringwald‘s character end up with pretty boy Andrew McCarthy instead of social misfit, Jon Cryer. So when Hughes wrote and produced Some Kind of Wonderful, he gave it the ending fans demanded. Hughes’ first choice to play the most popular girl in school was Ringwald. But Ringwald wasn’t interested in making another Brat Pack movie, so she turned him down.
Originally, Martha Coolidge was attached to direct. Coolidge prepped the script and cast the lead roles. She cast Stoltz and Masterson. Kim Delaney was cast in the Thompson role and Kyle McLaughlin was cast as the vengeful ex-boyfriend played by Craig Scheffer. But a couple days before shooting was supposed to begin, Coolidge was fired. Hughes had his producing partner deliver the bad news.
According to Coolidge, Pretty In Pink director, Howard Deutch had been attached to Some Kind of Wonderful until he had a spat with Hughes. While the notoriously petty Hughes was angry with Deutch, he replaced him with Coolidge who had no idea about the feud. When Hughes and Deutch patched things up, Hughes decided to fire her and bring back his friend, Deutch.
But Hughes didn’t stop there. He also wanted to fire most of the cast whom Coolidge had selected. Delaney and McLaughlin were canned. Hughes wanted to fire Stoltz as well. Stoltz was still reeling from being fired from Back to the Future and he was terrified about losing this job as well. The studio backed Stoltz and decided to keep him. But according to Coolidge, Hughes was too important to the studio. So everyone else was let go.
After Ringwald passed on the role of Amanda Jones, it was offered to Thompson. Originally, Thompson turned the part down. She was 26 and like Ringwald she was trying to get away from playing teenagers. But after Howard the Duck flopped, Thompson reconsidered. According to Thompson:
“I never would’ve done it if it hadn’t been for Howard The Duck. I’d actually turned it down. And then when Howard The Duck was such a bomb, that weekend, Eric Stoltz came and said, “Howard Deutch wants to offer you this movie again.” I’d already turned it down, and I was like, “I’d better take it.” I just kept hearing this voice going, ‘Get back on the horse!’ I was so devastated.”
The decision changed more than Thompson’s career. She and Deutch fell in love. They were married a couple of years later.
Some Kind of Wonderful opened to mostly positive reviews although many critics complained that it was derivative of Hughes’ previous works. Despite the decent reviews, the movie was a box office dud. It opened at number 6 and quickly fell out of the top ten. It ended up grossing less than half of what Pretty in Pink earned in 1986. Since then, the movie has developed a cult following.
In 1988, Thompson starred opposite Saturday Night Live‘s Victoria Jackson and Andrew Dice Clay in the comedy, Casual Sex?
Thompson and Jackson played single girls who enjoyed the freedom of casual sex in the 80’s. Clay played a buffoon not too far removed from his chauvinist stand-up comedy persona. Jackson was joined by former Not Ready For Prime Time Player, Mary Gross.
Thompson described how the movie went horribly wrong:
“That was based on a Groundlings sketch, and it was a really interesting movie because we basically shot the movie, then they tested it and pretty much reshot half of it. It was really weird. Andrew Dice Clay was designed to be the complete buffoon, then for some reason they made me marry him in the reshoots. I’ve never seen anything like it. This happens a lot, though. Recently I watched the trailer for it, and they have all these scenes from when he was a buffoon that they’d cut out of the movie but still put in the trailer. So that was bizarre. They actually shot me marrying three different guys in that movie. [Laughs.] The whole thing was really weird.”
My favorite thing about the movie is that they felt the need to include a question mark in the title. You know that was a focus group decision. They wanted a provocative title, but they were afraid it would offend some potential viewers. So they decided to soften the blow with a question mark. They couldn’t possibly release a movie in which two single girls were definitively having casual sex. But turn it into a question and it’s okay. Maybe they are having casual sex and maybe they are not. Maybe one of them decides to marry the Diceman.
Casual Sex received mostly negative reviews and bombed at the box office. According to Box Office Mojo, it ran in theaters for only three weeks.
Posted on July 15, 2014, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged Back to the Future, Howard the Duck, jaws, LEA THOMPSON, red dawn, Some Kind of Wonderful, switched at birth. Bookmark the permalink. 150 Comments.