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6 Questions With the Original Goth Girl, Ally Sheedy

6 Questions With the Original Goth Girl, Ally Sheedy

6 Questions With the Original Goth Girl, Ally Sheedy

As The Breakfast Club returns to theaters after 30 years, the movie's breakout star, Ally Sheedy, spoke to us about the teen classic and how it gave her cred with her genderqueer daughter.

It may make the entire world feel old that the classic teen film The Breakfast Club — written and directed by the chronicler of 1980s suburban straight white adolescence, John Hughes — turns 30 this year. That number is especially jarring since the film has aged so well and remained a cultural touchstone for adults now in their 30s and 40s. The Breakfast Club's takedown of high school stereotypes included what may have been film's first depiction of a goth girl. With kohl-lined eyes, a mop of hair, and an aversion to the truth, Ally Sheedy's Alison made a big impact. Though her tomboy look was subdued by the film's end, Allison's fierce image and attitude were a big part of what made The Breakfast Club so great.

In honor of The Breakfast Club's birthday, Sheedy and costar Molly Ringwald helped premiere a restored version of the film at the South by Southwest festival in Austin. The movie is also getting released on Blu-ray, and is showing in select theaters Thursday and next Tuesday. We grabbed Sheedy for a few minutes to talk about the role that launched her career as well as another movie that forever endeared her to art house–loving lesbians.

SheWired: First off, did you have any inkling The Breakfast Club was going to have such a lasting life?
Sheedy: No. It's just something happened; I don't think anybody had any idea. When my kid was at the end of middle school and the beginning of high school, the high school kids who were older than she was were watching it and they would stop me in the lobby and say, "Wow, we love The Breakfast Club." It gave me cred with my daughter! I hadn't realized … she's 21 now, so it wasn't that long ago, but I hadn't realized it was still so resonant. It's kind of morphing into a classic film.

It must feel really good to be part of that.
It does! I feel really lucky to be part of that movie.

I read that they wanted Molly Ringwald to play the role of Allison initially. Could you have pictured yourself playing Claire at that point?
No, no. If Molly had decided to play Allison, I do not think I would have been Claire. She wanted to be Claire and it was John's idea to talk to me about doing Allison, so it all just unfolded as it was going to unfold. That is actually true.

When you were thinking of the character, was "goth" a thing?
I don't think so. Molly told me earlier that the Cure had some music out then, so that look was out there. But I didn't know the Cure. I don't know when the "goth" term happened, but it was afterwards. As well as emo and all that. I just wanted this character to look like the cool girl that hung out with the Beats. They would be pale and the dark eye shadow and eyeliner. I just thought that was really cool and that was the kind of look I loved, and costume designer Marilyn Vance really loved it too, and she helped me put together that look. There may have been goth around, but I was [more] looking at '70s punk bands.

So it was a collaborative effort to create Allison's look?
It was. One of my favorite things in the world is that Billie Joe Armstrong looks goth. I love him so much.

If The Breakfast Club was made today or remade, would it have to include an LGBT character?
They'd have to. One of things that bothers me about the movie is that "fag" is written on a locker and "faggot" is used in a derogatory manner, though how else could you use it. Molly and I were talking about it and if they made it today it would have to be more racially diverse — it's very white — it'd have to be more inclusive, including when it came to sexual orientation.

Let me ask you something aside from The Breakfast Club. Your movie High Art is held in as high regard by many LGBT people as The Breakfast Club. Are you still getting response from that film?
That character, Lucy, her emotional life and the way she thinks and everything about her is so, so, so close to me. Allison was the closest thing to me at that point of my life. [High Art] does mean a lot to me because New York people come up to me and talk to me about it all the time. But also, my kid is genderqueer, and the fact that High Art has ever spoken to her is a really cool thing. I'm really proud of that movie.

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Neal Broverman