‘Sixteen Candles’: The New Wave Nerd Became a Movie Director Himself

by Jeremy Spirogis
New Wave Nerd Adam Rifkin

Sixteen Candles made the film careers of lots of people concerned. It was John Hughes’ first movie as director. Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall primarily grew to become Hughes’ personal appearing firm. Joan and John Cusack, Haviland Morris and Gedde Watanabe additionally obtained a lift from being in it, however do you know the New Wave Nerd grew to become a director himself lengthy after Sixteen Candles.

New Wave Nerd Adam Rifkin
Adam Rifkin | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Adam Rifkin ultimately directed movies like The Dark Backward, The Chase, Detroit Rock City, Look and The Last Movie Star. His first Hollywood job was enjoying the New Wave Nerd in Sixteen Candles. He didn’t have strains as a result of he was simply an additional. Rifkin gave an interview on Arrow Video’s new Sixteen Candles Blu-ray about how he turned a cameo right into a directing profession.

Adam Rifkin labored on ‘Sixteen Candles’ when he was in highschool

Hughes filmed his films in Chicago, Illinois. When native highschool scholar Rifkin heard about it, he needed to become involved. 

“When I was 16 a movie was being made in Chicago,” Rifkin mentioned. “They approached our school, probably other schools as well, and said, ‘We need extras for this high school comedy that’s being shot in the suburbs.’ They said, ‘Any students who were at our school who wanted to be in were welcome to be in it.’ I thought, ‘This is a great opportunity to get to hang out on a movie set, watch a real movie being shot and learn and just soak it all in.’ I wanted to be around it.”

Adam Rifkin obtained typecast in ‘Sixteen Candles’

Sixteen Candles was in search of two varieties of youngsters to fill within the background. 

Sixteen Candles Blu-raySixteen Candles Blu-ray
Sixteen Candles Blu-ray | Arrow Video

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“They said to our school, ‘You have to either show up dressed like a nerd or like a tough kid,’” Rifkin mentioned. “So I put together my toughest tough kid ensemble and when I showed up, the director walked down the line of all the kids that had gathered there. I thought I was looking pretty tough and he personally chose me, John Hughes personally chose me to be head nerd. Which was a life lesson. It’s good to know these things early.”

John Hughes gave Adam Rifkin the brand new wave glasses

You can all the time pick Rifkin from these skinny, orange glasses he’s sporting. Hughes gave these to him. 

“It turned out that actually opened the doors for a really exciting experience for me,” Rifkin mentioned. “John Hughes mentioned, ‘I love your face.’ I mentioned, ‘Thank you.’ He mentioned, ‘I want you to wear these glasses.’ New wave was the factor. That was the cool fad at the moment within the ’80s. New wave glasses, you’re the New Wave Nerd. For the remainder of the film, I used to be the New Wave Nerd.

Adam Rifkin saved working with John Hughes on ‘Sixteen Candles’

Hughes ended up turning into a mentor to Rifkin. Rifkin wrapped as an additional however requested to return.

“I went up to him and said, ‘Mr. Hughes, I want to be a movie director someday just like you. I’m done working as an extra now. I was hoping I could come back and just shadow you, and just watch you work some more and just learn by watching. I’ve learned so much already just watching you up to this point and I know you have umpteen number of weeks left to go. Can I come back again and keep watching?’” Rifkin mentioned. 

Hughes invited Rifkin again, so Rifkin confirmed up day by day. 

Sixteen Candles director John HughesSixteen Candles director John Hughes
John Hughes | Paul Natkin/Getty Images

RELATED: ‘Pretty In Pink’: John Hughes Rewrote This Scene for Molly Ringwald Over the Phone

“I learned so much about the mechanics of filmmaking but I also learned, because he was so down to earth and so nice, everybody on the movie was down to earth and nice,” Rifkin mentioned. “It was a very welcoming environment. Nobody looked at me funny for being there hanging out and learning. I always remember those things as I’m making films.”

Adam Rifkin paid it ahead

Once Rifkin was making Detroit Rock City for New Line Cinema, he did the identical factor for one more further that Hughes did for him.

“One of the kids who was an extra came up to me and said, ‘I want to make movies one day like you. I’ve been learning a lot watching you work. Can I ever come back and just shadow you and learn more?’” Rifkin mentioned. “I immediately thought of John Hughes and how valuable that experience was to me and how meaningful that experience was to me. Then we hired him on the movie as a P.A. so he was getting paid to hang out and learn. I owe a lot to John Hughes without him ever knowing it.”

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