Andrew McCarthy Thanks Molly Ringwald for ‘Pretty in Pink’ Role

Exploring the pivotal casting choices behind a cinematic classic

by Zain ul Abedin
Andrew McCarthy Thanks Molly Ringwald for ‘Pretty in Pink’ Role
© Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Andrew McCarthy, renowned for his role as Blane McDonnagh in the 1986 classic "Pretty in Pink," recently shared insights into how he landed the part, attributing his success to co-star Molly Ringwald. Speaking in conjunction with the release of his new Hulu documentary "Brats," McCarthy delved into the casting dynamics behind John Hughes' beloved teen rom-com.

During his audition, McCarthy didn't fit the traditional mold envisioned for Blane - a "square-jawed, big, hunky quarterback." Instead, it was Ringwald's endorsement that swayed Hughes. "Molly said, ‘Oh, that’s who I would fall for.

He’s dreamy. He’s poetic,'" McCarthy recalled in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. Surprisingly, Hughes initially questioned her choice, labeling McCarthy a "wimp." Yet, influenced by Ringwald’s vision, Hughes embraced the unconventional choice, a decision that significantly shaped the film's narrative.

Reshaping "Pretty in Pink"

"Pretty in Pink" explores the high school life of Andie (played by Ringwald), an outsider who finds herself torn between her quirky classmate Duckie (Jon Cryer) and the affluent Blane. McCarthy's portrayal brought a nuanced sensitivity to Blane, which diverged from the original character's more superficial traits.

This depth added to the character was pivotal, leading to a reshoot of the film’s ending after initial test audiences rejected the original conclusion where Andie ends up with Duckie. The revised ending better aligned with the film’s fairytale essence, ensuring Andie ended up with Blane, which McCarthy believed was essential to fulfilling the audience's expectations.

Reflecting on his initial reactions to the script, McCarthy admitted he considered quitting after discovering Blane's lackluster backbone in the original script. "When I landed, I called [my agent] and said, ‘You’ve got to get me out of this movie! This guy’s a jerk. He’s just, like, a wimpy loser,'" he shared with The New Yorker in 2021.