Jon Cryer Shares New Details on Feud With "Pretty in Pink" Co-Star Andrew McCarthy
He opens up about why they didn't get along on the teen movie set.
The 1986 teen dramedy Pretty in Pink is about a high school love triangle, and it seems that the tension between the rivals for the affection of Molly Ringwald's Andie extended to real life, too. In the movie, Andie starts dating popular (and wealthy) classmate Blane (Andrew McCarthy), while her best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) pines away for her and despises her new boyfriend. The two Brat Pack actors were evidently not friends either, though the bad blood between them wasn't due to any conflict over Ringwald.
The cast of Pretty in Pink has spoken out about the friction on set over the years, including Cryer explaining that he thought Ringwald and McCarthy didn't like him, and McCarthy saying that he found Cryer to be "needy" and too much like his character. Now, though, the past is in the past, as Cryer explained on a recent episode of The View.
"He and I famously did not get along when we were shooting Pretty in Pink," Cryer said of McCarthy on the Friday, Feb. 9 episode of the talk show. "It was because there was tension. Interestingly, I saw him backstage and we had a lovely time, we had a great talk. Thank you!"
As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Cryer was referring to a time in 2012 when he and McCarthy appeared on the same episode of The View separately, as they were each promoting their own projects.
Cryer continued, "At any rate, what I realize now, he wrote a terrific memoir called Brat, he was already struggling with alcoholism back when we were shooting that movie. I'd projected all this stuff on him at the time, I thought he's this sullen guy that doesn't want to talk to me. We're enemies [as characters] on the movie, but that doesn't mean we can't be friends. But we just had no rapport whatsoever at the time. I found out later he was going through some tough stuff. That was such a lesson for me, it's all about projection. You never know."
In response to Cryer's words, McCarthy told Entertainment Weekly through a representative, "Jon Cryer has grown into the most lovely, gracious man." He also joked that he wished Cryer "hadn't decked me backstage at The View."
Both actors previously opened up about their feud, which coincided with the reign of the young Hollywood stars known as the Brat Pack. As reported by E! News, in the 2010 book about Pretty in Pink writer John Hughes, You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried by Susannah Gora, McCarthy said, "Jon was very Duckie-like when we were making that movie. He was very sweet and very needy, and I had no patience for it."
In his 2015 memoir So That Happened, Cryer wrote of McCarthy and Ringwald, "I think they were irritated by me from day one. Molly and Andrew were very reserved people, and I'm a very outgoing person. That could have worked out great, that dynamic, but it didn't."
On top of this, Pretty in Pink director Howard Deutch told Den of Geek in 2020 that Ringwald had a crush on McCarthy, which led to more drama. "[Ringwald and McCarthy] hated each other because Molly had a crush on him and he did not have a crush on her. And then he resented that she was the foundation of it, and then it escalated," Deutch said. The filmmaker admitted that he used this to his advantage, including lying to Ringwald that McCarthy was just afraid to show that he was interested in her.
Deutch said the romantic turmoil had an effect on Cryer, too.
"He absorbed all of that and used all of it," Deutch said. "So that when he was around Andrew he just wanted to punch him in the face. And he worshipped Molly. Worship, absolute worship. So I think a lot of that really helped feed his choices in that character."
Ringwald looked back on the on-set dynamic, specifically Cryer writing that she and McCarthy were "irritated" with him, in a 2021 interview with Vogue.
"I still feel so bad that he felt that way because I never had any problems with Jon," she responded. "I think he might be referring to a scene we filmed where Duckie was supposed to get mad at Andie for showing up to the club with Blane. Andrew and I were egging him on from the other side of the camera to get a strong reaction, and Jon ended up getting furious. The reaction you see on film is him getting legitimately upset with us for pestering him. But that's the only time I can recall us ever butting heads. I would say that I probably hung out with him more on set than I did with Andrew."