By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Pasadena Weekly Executive Editor
For years, multihyphenate entertainer Andrew McCarthy shunned memories of his stint in 1980s “The Brat Pack.” He was not interested in discussing his roles like Blane in “Pretty in Pink” or Kevin Dolenz in “St. Elmo’s Fire.”
But all of that changed, and McCarthy wrote the future New York Times Bestseller “Brat: An ’80s Story.” It hit bookshelves last month.
Filled with personal revelations of innocence lost to heady days in Hollywood with filmmaker John Hughes and an iconic cast of characters, “Brat” is an intimate story of an outsider caught up in a most unwitting success.
“I grew up enough to look at it,” he said about the book’s timing. “It changed my life dramatically. I ran from it when it happened in a large way. I just finally wanted to look under the rock and see what was there. What I found surprised me, at times scared me, and finally made sense of a lot of seemingly disparate parts of my life.”
The actor/travel writer/TV director will virtually discuss his book with producer/writer Michael Oates Palmer at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 9. The program is through Vroman’s Bookstore.
“I get engaging questions that make it fun,” said McCarthy about his virtual appearances. “It’s not like connecting with people in the flesh, but at least there’s some connection with them.”
“The Brat Pack” was a nickname given to actors who appeared in 1980s coming-of-age films. Dubbed “The Brat Pack” in a 1985 New York Magazine article, its core members are McCarthy, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy.
“Others handled it more gracefully than me,” McCarthy said. “I retreated from it.”
Now he’s sharing those stories with the media and fans. McCarthy described “Brat” as a discussion of “The Brat Pack” and what it meant to him.
“It evolved into much more of this concept, really, of a moment in pop culture to a certain segment of the population that was representative for their youth, that moment in life that was just budding and beginning,” he said.
McCarthy said, through his book tour, he realized “The Brat Pack” and associated movies — “The Breakfast Club,” “St. Elmo’s Fire” and “Pretty in Pink,” among others — provided a soundtrack, as such, for his peers’ lives.
“People start recalling their own youth,” he said. “I’ve become an avatar for people’s youth in a real way for a certain generation. I didn’t really realize that until I did these.”
Interestingly, McCarthy wasn’t Hughes’ first choice for Blane. However, his future costar, Ringwald, persuaded the Michigan-born filmmaker to cast him. The near-rejection never bothered McCarthy.
“Humphrey Bogart wasn’t the first choice for ‘Casablanca,’” McCarthy said. “So, I feel I’m in good company.”
During an interview, McCarthy is witty. He has a newfound affection for his films like “Mannequin,” which starred a pre-“Sex in the City” Kim Cattrall.
“In its own, stupid way that was a sweet, innocent movie,” he said.
He laughs at his movie “Weekend at Bernie’s,” however, he doesn’t watch his own films. “That I do not do. I see myself every day.”
McCarthy has a pithy response to fans who ask if he’s friends with his fellow “Brat Packers.” He likens it to keeping in touch with someone years after a summer job. Folks just lose touch.
“Molly and I have been in touch over the years,” McCarthy said. “Jon Cryer and I communicate fairly often.”
Cryer played Phil “Duckie” Dale in “Pretty in Pink.”
Since starring in the films, McCarthy has become a director and award-winning travel writer.
He directed more than 80 hours of television, including “Orange is the New Black,” “Grace & Frankie,” “The Blacklist,” “New Amsterdam,” “Good Girls” and “Gossip Girl.”
For a dozen years, he served as editor-at-large at National Geographic Traveler and his award-winning travel writing has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic and Time. McCarthy returned to acting for “13 Reasons Why” and “Good Girls.” He’s grateful for his recent roles, as he feared he was typecast with “The Brat Pack” label.
“You don’t want to be put in a box,” he said. “It was limiting at the time.”
McCarthy is happy to be at the top of the New York Times Bestseller list. He calls his fans’ takeaways “personal.”
“That’s none of my business,” he says. “The book is about being young and it’s a coming-of-age book. In any kind of book, you want to create an identity with the book and nod their head. They’ll feel less alone and have that connection. You create a shared experience.”
Andrew McCarthy in conversation with Michael
Oates Palmer discussing “Brat: An ’80s Story”
WHEN: 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 9
WHERE: Virtual through Vroman’s Bookstore
COST: Free; with paid ticket packages that start at $28.
Link and password will be sent on Tuesday, June 8
INFO: https://bit.ly/3wRlfIh or firstname.lastname@example.org