Brat Pack’s Andrew McCarthy gives inside look at ‘club’ 30 years later: ‘We all hated it’

The Brat Pack included 1980s actors like Demi Moore, Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez and Jon Cryer

"Don’t you forget about me." 

Simple Minds’ immortal lyrics at the end of 1985’s "The Breakfast Club" ring truer than ever as members of the Brat Pack have reunited for a nostalgic look at their success in the decade of decadence. 

But "St. Elmo’s Fire" star Andrew McCarthy, 61, who directed the new Hulu documentary "Brats," admitted he and his fellow actors didn’t always appreciate the term coined by a journalist at the time. 

"It was such a crazy thing when it first happened. We all hated it," McCarthy told Good Morning America this week. "Who wants to be called a brat when you’re a kid? Particularly when you’re a kid and you think you are a brat, so you don’t want to be called it, and you don’t want to be a member of a pack and all that, and we felt it affected our lives, you know?"


John Cryer, Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy

Jon Cryer, Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy on the set of the 1986 film "Pretty In Pink." (Paramount/Getty Images)

He added, "Over time it’s become this wonderfully iconic, affectionate term, you know? And so I just want to see what everybody’s relationship to it was."


McCarthy stressed that being part of the Brat Pack was "like a relationship" in itself. 

"It’s followed me – every day I hear it," he said. 

McCarthy told People magazine that while the public appreciated the term, the industry didn’t. 

"It had professional ramifications," he explained. "The public embraced us, but the business reacted to it in a negative way."

Emilio Estevez, Melissa Gilbert, Demi Moore and Rob Lowe

Emilio Estevez, Demi Moore, Rob Lowe and Melissa Gilbert. (Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

McCarthy told GMA he "thought it’d be great to go back and reconnect with the old gang. I hadn’t seen most of them in about 30 years. It was such a seminal moment in all our lives and none of us had ever talked about it before, so I just thought it’d be good to sort of go see what everybody felt about it." 

He added that despite initially hating the moniker, some in the group have a different view all these years later. 

"As you get old, you start to look back on your past in a different way and go, ‘You know, that was a beautiful thing.’" 

Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson and Anthony Michael Hall

Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson and Anthony Michael Hall pose for a portrait in 1986. (Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

McCarthy said he hadn’t seen some members of the Brat Pack in 30 years. 

"Rob [Lowe] and I walk into, you know, he walks into the room and I hug him, and he’s like ‘How long has it been,’ and I’m like, ‘I think 30 years.’"

He said he hadn’t seen Emilio Estevez since the premiere night of "St. Elmo’s Fire." 

placeholderDavid Blum of New York Magazine first coined the term Brat Pack in 1985 when he compared the teen stars to the infamous Rat Pack. 


Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Thomas C. Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez and Patrick Swayze on the set of The Outsiders, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. 

Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Thomas C. Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez and Patrick Swayze on the set of The Outsiders, directed by Francis Ford Coppola.  ( Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

The stars, who came of age in the 1980s with movies like "St. Elmo's Fire," "The Breakfast Club," "About Last Night…," "Sixteen Candles" and "Pretty in Pink," defined a generation’s teen angst and became a pop culture touchstone. 

Along with McCarthy, the Brat Pack members include Demi Moore, Molly Ringwald, Lowe, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Estevez and Jon Cryer, among others. However, which actors fit into the group hasn't always been clear. 

Nelson told Us Weekly earlier this year that he wasn’t interested in reminiscing with the others. 

The Brat Pack at Tribeca

Mike Kelley, Victoria Thompson, Andrew McCarthy, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore, Jon Cryer and Reena Mehta at the "Brats" premiere at Tribeca Festival last Friday. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival)

"I don’t even know who’s in the Brat Pack," the 64-year-old told the outlet in March, adding that he "politely declined" a request to be part of the documentary. "It’s like, why kind of rebirth something that wasn’t necessarily fun? … How can we be experts on something that didn’t ever really exist?"

He added, "It seems strange to have that subject matter be something for edited entertainment. Also, like, he’s a nice guy, but I hadn’t seen him in 35 years. And it’s like, I’m not going to [be] like, ‘Hey!’ No, dude."

"Sixteen Candles" star Molly Ringwald also decided not to participate in the documentary. 

"She said she’d think about it and that was really the end of it," McCarthy told US Weekly. 

He said Ringwald would have been a great addition to the film. 

"She’s so articulate and insightful about these things," he explained. "The Brat Pack’s a funny thing. It’s like an octopus — it has these long tentacles you still reach out, and you can either feel them as an embrace or as something [else]. People are at different places in their lives."

Demi Moore laughing with Brat Pack members on stage at Tribeca

Demi Moore laughing on stage with Ally Sheedy, Jon Cryer and Andrew McCarthy at Tribeca. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival)

In a 2016 interview with Fox News Digital, Ringwald admitted she wasn't a big fan of it being called the Brat Pack, saying "it didn’t feel like a positive or fair moniker for sure. I found it objectifying."


One of the issues she had with being called a Brat Packer was they were always being lumped together and looked at as a unit.

"Everybody who was in those movies became a Brat Pack member," Ringwald said on "Late Night with Conan O’Brien" in 1994. 

"We did a couple movies together, but I didn't really hang out with a lot of those people, just because I was younger at the time. I mean, when I did ‘Breakfast Club,’ I was 15, 16 years old, and they were already in their 20s. . . . I was quite a bit younger, so when they were going out drinking and doing crazy stuff, I was going to school."

The cast of St. Elmo's Fire

The cast of "St. Elmo's Fire," including Rob Lowe, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore, Emilio Estevez, Mare Winningham, Judd Nelson and Andrew McCarthy. (Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

About Nelson, McCarthy joked to Us Weekly, "Judd [is], I think, in an undisclosed location, but we did speak."

Anthony Michael Hall told Fox News Digital in September 2022 he "didn't anticipate any of" the fame that came with being in the Brat Pack, saying getting famous so quickly at 15 "was challenging" and "certainly took some adjusting."

"The idea of being recognized, it’s awkward for adults. But it’s magnified at that age when you’re already dealing with all kinds of insecurities. It was very challenging," Hall explained. "I would joke, but it’s true, that it took me probably 20 years to process being 15, because I had experienced so much in between. I’m certainly grateful for it, and I thank God for having strong, great parents."


Molly Ringwald in the Breakfast Club

Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall while filming "The Breakfast Club." (Getty Images)

Hall guessed that people clung to the Brat Pack myth because "audiences want the actors that they watch together in projects to be actually connected in life" and will come up to him as an adult asking how Nelson and Estevez are doing, even though he hasn't "seen them in 14 years."

"It didn't exist. It was a media ploy. Whoever was the editor of New York Magazine at the time, it was a set-up: 'Let's get all these guys together and get them talking s---,'" Hall told Insider in 2015. "The truth is, in that time frame, I was at the very young end of that group. I was literally still in high school. When we did 'The Breakfast Club,' Emilio and Judd were in their early 20s, and they are going out and having beers, and I was a teen. So, when they did that article, I did feel that was a ploy to get all them yapping."

Lowe said the term seemingly made them "interchangeable."

Andrew McCarthy and Emilio Estevez in St. Elmo's Fire

Andrew McCarthy and Emilio Estevez on the set of "St. Elmo's Fire" in 1985.  (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

"It was used in an underhanded, veiled way to say, ‘This group of actors are interchangeable, vacuous, long on ambition, short on talent and very entitled,’" Lowe told in 2011. "While that may have been true in doses for some people, it was a bad generalization."

Still, in the book "You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried," Lowe shared that "the camaraderie was real" on the set of "St. Elmo's Fire" and explained everyone on the cast "truly liked and ended up close while we were filming."

He also explained in the interview why his perspective on the Brat Pack has changed over the years, stating, "Now, there's no stigma left, and I totally embrace it."

"I realized my affection for them. You know, after all of us, everything we've been through, the different chapters in our lives – and I realized we grew up together," Lowe told Entertainment Tonight Canada in 2021.

"These are like the people I went to high school or the people I went to college with, and you reconnect with them in that way. And it was super sweet to have him and Demi on," he added of having Moore and McCarthy on his podcast, "Literally."

Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson and Andrew McCarthy in St. Elmo's Fire

Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Andrew McCarthy and Judd Nelson on the set of "St. Elmo's Fire" in 1985. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

McCarthy told GMA he was surprised that so many former Brats agreed to be part of the documentary, saying he didn’t think many would want to talk about it "even 10 years ago." 

"And we were like the only members of this club, and so we’re the only ones that know what it was like, so it was nice to sort of just go back," he said. 

Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club

Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald in a scene from "The Breakfast Club." (Universal Pictures/Getty Images)

Doug Eldridge of Achilles PR told Fox News Digital that being a Brat Pack member served as a launch pad for so many young actors. 


"Helen of Troy was credited with being ‘the face that launched a thousand ships,’ referring to her beauty that led to the start of the Trojan War. It's no stretch to say that the Brat Pack was ‘the group that launched a half dozen careers,’" he said. 

"Looking back at the core members, each of them found '80s mega-stardom following their Brat Pack membership. Emilio [Estevez] carried the ‘Breakfast Club’ and anchored the ‘Young Guns’ franchise. Molly [Ringwald] starred in ‘Pretty in Pink,’ ‘Sixteen Candles’ and a slew of other ‘80s hits.

"Demi did ’Ghost,' ‘Indecent Proposal’ and dozens of other films. Rob endured a PR roller coaster throughout the '90s but came back with ‘Tommy Boy,’ ‘Parks & Rec’ and a variety of TV dramas. While each of them had different trajectories and career arcs, all of them enjoyed the same launch pad."

The Breakfast Club cast

Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson and Emilio Estevez on the set of "The Breakfast Club." (Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Reflecting on if it was a "good choice" to be in the documentary, he said, "This type of nostalgia is usually a marketable play, so long as it doesn't trash the foundational backstory that propelled them into popularity to begin with. ‘The Mickey Mouse Club’ is a similar example – [Justin] Timberlake, [Britney] Spears, [Ryan] Gosling and countless others got their start with the mouse troupe, yet few have had anything positive to say about the experience. 

"The age of tell-all books and exclusive sit-down interviews – which take needless swipes at the parents, agents and advisers who helped develop iconic careers – always comes at a cost. By contrast, this type of behind-the-scenes ‘remember when’ is a comparatively better format, not only for these aging stars but the fan base who loved them then and now. For the same reason that 'VH-1 Storytellers' or DVD commentary and outtakes from the stars are always a popular feature, this too should do well." 

Photos of John Cryer for Pretty in Pink

Proof sheet of actor Jon Cryer in costume as "Duckie Dale" for "Pretty in Pink." (Bonnie Schiffman/Getty Images)

McCarthy said when fans who were young in the ‘80s come up to him on the street and start talking about Brat Pack movies, their eyes glaze over, and they say, "‘Oh! The Brat Pack,’ and they start talking, and I realize they’re not even looking at me anymore. 

"They’re talking to themselves and their own youth, and I’ve become sort of the avatar of their youth and other members of the Brat Pack." 

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