Weird Science 1985 | Creating The Perfect Woman
Join Gary Wallace and Wyatt Donnelly as they help bring Lisa, the perfect woman to life in this detailed look at the classic film Weird Science from 1985!
Weird Science - A Trip Down Memory Lane Back To 1985
Grab your popcorn and gird your loins for a trip down memory lane with the 80s cult classic, Weird Science 1985.
Picture this: a couple of socially awkward lads, too tongue-tied to talk to girls, decide to take matters into their own hands and design the perfect woman on their home computer. As you do. In the grand tradition of ‘be careful what you wish for’, they get more than they bargained for when their creation, Lisa, comes to life. Cue the chaos, cringe-worthy style choices (we're talking major shoulder pads and hair that defies gravity), and a synth-pop soundtrack that'll stick in your head like bubblegum on a cinema floor. It's a wild ride from start to finish, and a bizarre insight into what was seen as cutting-edge technology and high fashion back in the '80s. It's absurd, it's hilarious, it's the 80s, it's Weird Science.
The Plot: A Whirlwind Tour Through Teenage Dreams
As our tale begins, we're introduced to our protagonists, Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith), two socially inept high schoolers having trouble fitting in at school and attracting girls.After watching 'Frankenstein' on a stormy night, they are inspired to create their own woman using Wyatt's computer (which, let's be honest, is far from a MacBook Pro). With a combination of scanned images of beautiful women, genius level coding, and a bolt of lightning (cinematic cliche, anyone?), Lisa (Kelly LeBrock) is born.
Lisa, the perfect woman as per Gary and Wyatt's adolescent standards, is not just a beauty but also has seemingly magical powers. She takes it upon herself to transform these boys into confident young men. This includes giving them a makeover, throwing a wild party at Wyatt's house to boost their popularity, and creating danger (in the form of a biker gang) only to let our boys save the day.
Amid these shenanigans, we meet Wyatt's older brother, Chet (Bill Paxton), an overbearing, bullying figure who's home from military school. Chet's presence in the house adds a humorous, although sometimes cruel, subplot to the story.
Things take a turn when Lisa decides the boys need a final push. She conjures up a nuclear missile in the house, causing absolute chaos. This forces Gary and Wyatt to confront their fears and handle the situation. Eventually, they manage to get rid of the missile, showing their newfound confidence and bravery.
In the aftermath, Lisa turns Chet into a monstrous creature as punishment for his bullying behaviour, only to restore him back once he promises to be nicer. The wild weekend ends with Gary and Wyatt gaining real girlfriends, Chet turning a new leaf, and Lisa disappearing only to reappear as a gym teacher, leaving us all with a sense of satisfaction and a longing for the '80s. The movie, a whirlwind of laughs, love, and life lessons, is a testament to the power of self-belief, confidence, and some Weird Science.
The Cast: Characters in a Mad, Mad World
- Anthony Michael Hall as Gary Wallace: Remembered fondly as the "geeky kid" from several John Hughes movies, Anthony Michael Hall's portrayal of Gary is a captivating mix of nerves and teenage hormones. With his signature blend of vulnerability and awkwardness, Gary oscillates between being too afraid to fully embrace life and too desperate to wait for it to happen on its own. He's the kind of kid who greets his science-made woman with a shudder of fear and a squeak of “Please don’t hurt me,” revealing a glimpse into the complexities of his character and the inner workings of his anxious mind.
- Ilan Mitchell-Smith as Wyatt Donnelly: Wyatt, a brilliant but introverted individual, finds himself reluctantly assuming the role of Gary's trusty sidekick in this tech-induced debacle. While Gary exudes boundless enthusiasm and unwavering determination, Wyatt offers a contrasting perspective, acting as the voice of caution amidst the chaos. With a blend of trepidation and curiosity, Wyatt embarks on a journey into the unpredictable realm of weird science. Along the way, he confronts his own monstrous brother, discovering inner strength and resilience that he never knew existed. This transformative experience enables Wyatt to not only protect himself but also stand up for what he believes in, ultimately shaping him into a hero in his own right.
- Kelly LeBrock as Lisa: Introducing Lisa, the computer-generated woman who effortlessly turns our heroes' world upside down. With her captivating style, impeccable sophistication, and a touch of magic, she becomes a whirlwind of intrigue. Lisa is not just a character to be admired; she is a powerful and independent entity, embodying the true essence of '80s girl power. From her enigmatic persona to her unrivaled strength, she captivates the imagination and leaves a lasting impression. Prepare to be mesmerized by the enigmatic allure of Lisa as she takes you on a thrilling journey through the realms of technology and empowerment.
- Bill Paxton as Chet Donnelly: In the role of Chet, Wyatt's older brother, Paxton skillfully chews the scenery with gleeful abandon, capturing the essence of the quintessential bully. With a heart that may not be made of gold, but rather a cheaper alloy, his character exudes a unique blend of menace and vulnerability. As the story unfolds, his transformation into a grotesque blob becomes both horrifying and satisfying, serving as a much-needed comeuppance for his relentless torment. The added detail heightens the impact of his character arc, further immersing the audience in this captivating tale.
- Suzanne Snyder as Deb: Ah, sweet Deb, Snyder's character, who starts as one half of the heavily hairsprayed, gum-chewing popular girl duo. On the surface, she seems to be just another shallow, self-obsessed teenager, but underneath that fluffy façade, there is a hint of something deeper. As she embarks on a character arc that sees her fall for Wyatt, we see that there's more to Deb than meets the eye. She becomes less of a caricature as the story unfolds, proving that even in an 80s teen movie filled with over-the-top antics, character development isn't entirely out of the question. Snyder manages to give Deb a charm that transcends the stereotypical 'popular girl' role, and by the end of the film, you're rooting for her almost as much as you are for our geeky heroes.
- Judie Aronson as Hilly: The other half of the iconic hairsprayed duo, Hilly is portrayed by Judie Aronson. One might argue that Hilly is your run-of-the-mill 80s' dream girl - big hair, bigger smiles, and an even bigger lack of character development. But, in the hands (or should we say hairbrush?) of Aronson, Hilly becomes something slightly more. Sure, she provides plenty of eye-rolling moments with her shallow teen queen antics, but Aronson also hints at a hidden depth beneath Hilly's glossy exterior. There's a glimmer of a girl who's not just a high school trophy but a person with her own dreams and fears. Aronson's Hilly is a reminder that sometimes, even in the bizarre world of Weird Science, there's more than what meets the eye.
Main Crew: The Masterminds behind the Madness
- John Hughes (Director & Writer): The King of Teen Comedy himself, Hughes is the brain behind this zany 80s adventure. Known for his keen insight into the tumultuous world of adolescence, Hughes masterfully crafts a narrative that, despite its bizarre premise, vividly captures the angst, hopes, and fears of the typical American teenager. From the iconic school corridors of The Breakfast Club to the action-packed streets in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Hughes has a knack for turning the ordinary into the extraordinary, a talent he employs to spectacular effect in Weird Science.
- Joel Silver (Producer): The man with the Midas touch, Silver is no stranger to blockbuster hits. With Die Hard and Predator under his belt, Silver brings a touch of action to this teen rom-com, ensuring that there's never a dull moment in the boys' weird science journey. His ability to balance high-octane thrills with comedic undertones is what keeps us glued to the screen, eagerly awaiting the next twist in the tale.
- Ira Newborn (Music): If you're tapping your foot to the catchy tunes in Weird Science, you have Newborn to thank. The composer's eclectic mix of pop, synth, and rock perfectly complements the film's wacky tone. From the unforgettable theme song to the background score that subtly heightens the on-screen chaos, Newborn's music is a character in itself, setting the mood and enhancing the overall viewing experience.
- Chris Lebenzon and Scott K. Wallace (Film Editors): The wizardry of editing is what transforms a good film into a great one, and Lebenzon and Wallace are wizards par excellence. Their skillful trimming and splicing keep the film's pace brisk and its tone consistent. They ensure every scene, every moment counts, creating a narrative that is as tight as it is engaging.
- Jack T. Collis (Production Designer): It's Collis' imaginative design that brings the world of Weird Science to life. From a suburban home that transforms into a war zone to a high school gym that turns into a happening night club, Collis' unique visual style adds a layer of surrealism to the film, making the impossible seem possible, the unreal, real. His eye for detail and ability to create immersive sets play a crucial role in selling the film's outlandish premise to the audience.
Behind the Scenes: Where Weird Met Science
Oh, the shenanigans of making a movie about teenagers playing God with a Barbie doll and a bolt of lightning! The set of Weird Science was reportedly as chaotic and fun-filled as the movie itself. The production was stuffed with quirks, from the cast's bonding shenanigans to John Hughes' infamous rapid-fire style of filmmaking.
Hall and Mitchell-Smith supposedly had an absolute blast on set, their off-screen friendship mirroring the camaraderie of their characters. The duo was inseparable during filming, their antics between scenes adding another layer of genuine charm to their on-screen friendship. In a kind of life-imitates-art scenario, they spent their downtime engaging in activities their characters would have enjoyed - everything from video games to midnight food fights, solidifying the authenticity of their on-screen chemistry.
It wasn't all fun and games though; the cast had to soldier through some hair-raising experiences during production. Remember the scene with the mutant bikers? Well, that was as real as it gets.
Those towering behemoths were actual bikers from a local gang, their 'costumes' their everyday attire, and the intimidation was all too genuine. Our brave lead actors had to face these real-life 'monsters', with only a plastic laser gun and their acting chops to protect them!
Behind the camera, John Hughes was a veritable bundle of energy, his rapid production style earning him the nickname 'The Sprinter' among the crew.
He's said to have shot the entire film in a staggering 56 days, a pace that left many a Hollywood veteran breathless. But Hughes wasn't just fast, he was dedicated.
He would often stay on set late into the night, crafting and perfecting scenes, ensuring that the 'weird science' in the film was as entertaining and engaging as possible.
"Weird Science" was a whirlwind of a movie to make, as chaotic and unpredictable as the film itself. With a brilliantly enthusiastic cast, a tirelessly dedicated director, and a crew ready to roll with the punches, the making of the film was truly an experience as weird, wonderful, and infinitely memorable as the cinematic journey it produced.
The Soundtrack: Where Synths Met Electric Dreams
Let's take a moment to delve into the Weird Science soundtrack - a quintessential '80s compilation that could only be more stereotypically representative of the era if it somehow included shoulder pads and neon leg warmers.
Talk about a symphony of synths! It encapsulates the spirit of the time, when music was as much about big hair and flashy videos as it was about the melodies.
Kicking off with Oingo Boingo's title track, the soundtrack's epic, synth-heavy banger perfectly sets the tone for the film. Danny Elfman's eccentric vocal style mingles with the frenzied electronic beats to create a track that's as wonderfully bizarre as the film it heralds. It's the sort of song that imprints itself in your brain, whether you like it or not.
Then there's the unforgettable "Private Joy" by Cheyne - a sugary pop tune that screams adolescence. This track is basically audio bubble-gum, with its catchy melody and saccharine lyrics. It's pure teenage frivolity encased in a pulsating synth-pop shell.
And who could forget Max Carl's "The Circle"? This power ballad is a rollercoaster of emotions, with its soaring vocals and heartfelt lyrics. It's the kind of song you'd belt out unabashedly while driving down the highway at sunset, with the wind tangling your mullet.
Of course, what '80s soundtrack would be complete without a touch of new-wave? Wall of Voodoo's "Deep in the Jungle" provides just that with its quirky rhythms and offbeat vocals. It's a peculiar track that's as curious as the film's premise.
The rest of the soundtrack is a mixed bag of gems and duds - some that will make you bob your head in nostalgic enjoyment, others that may have you reaching for the skip button. But isn't that the charm of an '80s collection? That weird blend of brilliance and cheese?
Weird Science's soundtrack is, in essence, a time capsule from an era when music was unabashedly bold and dramatic. It's a delightful mix of synth-pop, power ballads, and new-wave oddities, all encapsulating the film's spirited blend of comedy, romance, and teenage angst. It might not be a collection for everyone's tastes, but for those who love a good dose of '80s nostalgia, it's a sonic journey worth taking.
Pre-production: Where Pencils Met Storyboards
The pre-production of Weird Science is a tale as bizarre as the film itself - a whirlwind of frantic storyboarding, wild brainstorming, and some truly outlandish concept creation. The film, like any great scientific experiment, began with a hypothesis, an idea that somehow managed to escape from John Hughes' exceptionally creative (and possibly a bit addled) mind.
Hughes, already known for his uncanny ability to tap into the teenage psyche, had a lightbulb moment when he stumbled across the EC Comics book "Weird Science" in a dusty old bookstore. This wasn't just an 'Eureka' moment, it was a 'Holy cow, I can make a movie about two nerds creating the perfect woman with a computer and a bolt of lightning' moment!
With this ludicrous concept in mind, Hughes joined forces with his trusty production designer, Jack T. Collis, and spent countless caffeine-fuelled nights transforming this wild idea into a feasible movie plot. The duo brainstormed, sketched, and planned, their ideas evolving from rough storyboard sketches to fully-fledged set designs. They envisioned not just the narrative, but the very world in which Weird Science would exist - everything from the suburban setting of the protagonists' home to the fantastical elements like the mutant bikers and the house-turned-warzone.
The casting process was another beast of its own. Finding actors who could believably portray the lovable, geeky duo, Gary and Wyatt, wasn't a walk in the park. Hughes knew he needed actors who could bring authenticity, charm, and an underdog spirit to these characters. Enter Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith, two young actors who were more 'nerd-next-door' than 'Hollywood stars', making them the perfect fit for the roles.
But the real cherry on the casting cake was Kelly LeBrock, a model-turned-actress with the allure and charisma to play Lisa, the computer-generated dream woman. LeBrock wasn’t just another pretty face; she brought a certain 'je ne sais quoi' to the role, making Lisa an endearing character rather than a mere object of adolescent fantasy.
Pre-production was a stage of controlled chaos, with Hughes and his team wrestling with an outlandish concept, a tight budget, and an even tighter schedule. But it was this very chaos that laid the groundwork for Weird Science, setting the tone for the wild, hilarious, and ultimately heartwarming ride that the film turned out to be. So, in the world of Weird Science, where pencils met storyboards, a classic was conceived.
The Screenplay: Where '80s Camp Met High Concept
The Weird Science screenplay, where the genesis of our beloved teenage Frankenstein fairy-tale unfolded. Picture this: it's the mid-'80s and John Hughes, the patron saint of teenage angst has a flash of inspiration — why not fuse the digital revolution with the universal teenage dream of creating the perfect woman? Sounds just crazy enough to work, right? This is where Hughes' true genius comes into play — taking an utterly bonkers premise and grounding it in the reality of teenage life, hormones and all.
The screenplay is a madcap blend of high-concept sci-fi, rib-tickling comedy, and heart-on-the-sleeve teen drama. Hughes' deft writing skill is evident in the way he weaves these disparate elements into a cohesive narrative. He takes us on a wild ride from suburban adolescence, through a supernatural romp complete with a nuclear missile and a biker gang right out of a post-apocalyptic fever dream, before landing us back in the reality of high school hierarchy and teenage insecurities.
Hughes' knack for crafting relatable teen characters shines through in the screenplay. Our protagonists, Gary and Wyatt, are every bit the socially awkward, hormone-addled adolescents that we all remember being (or knowing). They're not just nerds; they're complex characters with hopes, fears, and desires that resonate with viewers. Their journey from outcast to…well, slightly less of an outcast... is both hilarious and heartwarming, making us root for them every step of the way.
Then there's Lisa, the computer-generated fantasy woman who turns out to be more than just a bombshell. In a lesser writer's hands, she could've been a one-note character, but Hughes gives her depth, wisdom, and a wicked sense of humour. She's not just there to fulfil Gary and Wyatt's fantasies; she plays a crucial role in their transformation, teaching them about confidence, courage, and the fact that real women aren't created on a computer.
The Weird Science screenplay is a brilliant example of Hughes' talent for balancing zany humour and heartfelt storytelling. It may seem like a ludicrous romp on the surface, but at its core, it's a story about growing up, facing fears, and the transformative power of friendship. And that, folks, is the magic of John Hughes — turning the weird and wonderful into something genuinely profound.
The LeBrock Swap: Trading Emberg for an Enigma
In the wacky world of Weird Science, where two geeky teens can conjure up a bombshell babe using some questionable computer science and an old Barbie doll, it's fitting that the casting of said bombshell had its own plot twist.
Enter the model Kelly Emberg, originally cast as our boys' dream woman. She had the looks, she had the charm, but did she have that certain undefinable Lisa magic? Apparently not.
In a move that could only be described as "a Hughes special," John Hughes, the director, decided to fire Emberg just days into shooting. As the legend goes, Hughes saw a Pantene shampoo commercial featuring Kelly LeBrock with her alluring British accent, and amid a cloud of hairspray and synth-pop, he knew he had found the real Lisa.
It was a brutal switcheroo, as swift as it was unforeseen. Emberg was out, and LeBrock was in, faster than you can say "She's Alive!" With her exotic allure and sassy charisma, LeBrock was no mere model playing a part; she was Lisa.
It was a gamble, a roll of the dice in the high-stakes game of Hollywood casting. But as we all know, it paid off. LeBrock dazzled on screen, bringing a unique blend of glamour, sophistication, and mischief to the role. She was the spark that ignited the weird and wonderful fantasy that is Weird Science. And the rest, as they say, is cinematic history.
Why Kelly LeBrock Initially Turned Down John Hughes' Weird Science
But here's the real kicker: LeBrock initially turned the role down! Can you believe it?
Apparently, lounging about with rock superstar Sting seemed more appealing than playing a computer-generated goddess (because who wouldn't prefer tantric yoga to Hollywood stardom, right?). Ah, to be young, gorgeous, and in demand. But luckily for us, Hughes had the persuasive powers of a seasoned car salesman, and eventually convinced LeBrock to swap Sting's basslines for the big screen. The rest, as they say, is a mixture of '80s hairspray, unforgettable one-liners, and cinematic history.
The Critics on Release: An '80s Rollercoaster
Upon its release in 1985, Weird Science was thrust into a wildly divided pool of critics. Some hailed it as a humorous and heartfelt exploration of teenage angst, while others dismissed it as a juvenile, over-the-top farce. Oh, the audacity! A film about two nerds creating the perfect woman being called "unrealistic" and "over-the-top"? You don't say!
One particularly starchy critic from the New York Times called it "puerile," while another from the Chicago Sun-Times addressed it as an "adolescent sex fantasy." Talk about missing the point! Clearly, they couldn't see the forest for the trees, or rather, the narrative genius behind a nuclear missile materialising out of a suburban house.
On the other hand, those with a sense of fun - or should I say, those who hadn't lost their inner adolescent - recognised the film's endearing lunacy. Variety praised it as a "merry, frisky, and far-out farce," and Roger Ebert, bless his heart, gave it a modest three stars, acknowledging its "basic innocence" beneath the raunchy exterior.
Perhaps the most telling critics, though, were the box office numbers. Weird Science grossed $23 million domestically, more than double its budget. And let's not forget, this was the '80s - a time when $23 million could buy you more than just a small island and a lifetime supply of hairspray.
In the grand scheme of things, the critics were but a small bump in the Weird Science ride. The film found its audience - the misfits, the dreamers, and the ones who understood that beneath all the "sci-fi" shenanigans and teenage tomfoolery, there was a heart. A big, goofy, '80s-shaped heart. So here's to Weird Science, a bonkers little gem that dared to be different, and in doing so, became a cult classic. The critics be damned!
Weird Science Reunion: Denver Comic Con 2015
Fast forward three decades from the film's release, and something magical happened: a Weird Science reunion. In the manic nerd-fest that was Denver Comic Con 2015, fans were treated to a delightful moment of nostalgia when Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith, our beloved geeks, came together for a panel discussion. Can you imagine the joy of seeing Gary and Wyatt, all grown up, reminiscing about the shenanigans they had on the set of Weird Science? It was like witnessing a rip in the space-time continuum, and for a fleeting moment, the 80s were back.
Let's not forget Kelly LeBrock who graced the audiences with her presence, embodying Lisa's charisma even after all these years. Their anecdotes, from behind-the-scene pranks to dealing with the sudden fame post-release, provided a delicious slice of history from the golden era of teen films. It was a true testament to the lasting impact of this cult classic, proof that Weird Science still resonates with fans, new and old. After all, who doesn't love a good trip down memory lane, especially when it's paved with '80s nostalgia and a dash of Weird Science?
Nostalgia Unleashed: A Whirlwind Trip Down the Weird Science Memory Lane
So, here we are, at the end of our weird and wonderful journey down the memory lane of Weird Science. If you've stuck around this long, it's safe to assume you're a fan, or at least mildly intrigued by the nostalgic pull of this 80s cult classic. An unabashed celebration of goofball comedy, teen angst and sci-fi whimsy, Weird Science remains as delightfully daffy today as it was in 1985.
Let's take a moment, shall we, to appreciate the sheer audacity of this cinematic oddity. At a time when the world was basking in the glow of neon leg warmers and synthesizer music, in strode John Hughes with a tale so bizarre, it made Marty McFly's time-travelling DeLorean seem like a Ford Fiesta. Two geeks, a Barbie doll and a bolt of lightning — BAM!— out pops Lisa, the 'perfect woman'. It's the kind of plot that could only have sprung from the cocaine-addled decade of excess.
But Weird Science is more than just its wacky premise. It's a testament to Hughes' uncanny ability to tap into the adolescent mindset, to mine the rich vein of teenage insecurities, desires, and dreams, and present them in a way that is laugh-out-loud funny and, dare I say it, heartwarming. Yes, it's over-the-top. Yes, it's ridiculous. But beneath all its zany facade, there's a kernel of truth, a nugget of wisdom that speaks to all of us who've ever felt like a misfit.
In the pantheon of 80s classics, Weird Science may not reach the lofty heights of The Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but it occupies a unique place of its own. It's an embodiment of the 80s' freewheeling spirit, a time when films dared to be different, dared to be absurd, and yet managed to strike a chord with audiences. And isn't that what good storytelling is all about?
So, to all the Garys and Wyatts out there, to all the Lisas (real or computer-generated), and to all the fans who never lost their inner adolescent, here's to Weird Science, a film that dared to dream, dared to be weird, and in the process, became a timeless piece of 80s pop culture. We love you, Weird Science, not despite your oddball charm and offbeat humour, but because of it. You're a testament to the enduring power of teenage dreams and the magic of cinema. And for that, you'll always have a special place in our film-loving hearts.