According to Andrew McCarthy, he could tell there was a difference in how he was treated once he was labelled as part of the iconic Brat Pack group of actors in the 1980s. The “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “Pretty in Pink” star broke down the change during a panel at the Television Critics Association’s 2024 winter tour.
McCarthy is currently behind “Brats,” ABC News Studios’ upcoming documentary about the group. The film follows McCarthy as he reunites with former members of the group and reflects on how David Blum’s 1985 New York magazine feature, which popularized the nickname, forever changed their careers.
“Ally [Sheedy] talks about this in the movie. She goes, ‘I remember going into rooms and I was suddenly perceived differently.’ Before it was like, ‘Here are the young guys,'” McCarthy said Saturday, mimicking the enthusiasm he used to experience from Hollywood producers and executives.
He then dropped his tone and sat back in his chair. “Then after that it was suddenly, ‘Take a seat. We know what you are: partying, fan-seeking young bucks.'”
“That’s how we perceived it. Was there some of that? Probably. Was it as much as we perceived? Probably not,” McCarthy concluded.
There’s no official list of who was part of the Brat Pack, but McCarthy, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy are often credited as being the main eight members. A play on the “Rat Pack” from the ’50s and ’60s, the “Brat Pack” described a group of films stars in their early 20s who were known for their teen-focused films and their party-heavy lifestyles.
McCarthy noted that the label was a “life-changing kind of thing” and that when the article first came out he felt like he had “lost the narrative” of his own career.
“Overall, we all had a very similar reaction when it came out,” McCarthy said. “I think we all resisted it and tried to figure out how to position ourselves, some more successfully than others.”
The actor-turned-director also said the label was a “seminal moment” of his life and that he “wasn’t equipped” to handle the fame he first experienced as a 22-year-old.
“It changed my life. You never know exactly how, and it’s certainly been a blessing more that a curse in my life — the doors it’s opened for me, the access it’s given me,” McCarthy said. “In the long run it’s been a beautiful thing. But as a young kid, I found it overwhelming.”
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