Paul Dooley, who played Molly Ringwald’s on-screen father, changed an incestuous line that was in the original version of “Sixteen Candles.”
In his book “Movie Dad: Finding Myself and My Family, On Screen and Off,” Dooley talks about waiting to film his big heart-to-heart scene with Ringwald, who was 15 at the time.
“Near the end of their conversation, the script had the dad pat his daughter’s behind and ask, “Where the heck are your pants?”,” writes the 94-year-old character actor.
The line bothered Dooley and Ringwald’s real mother. “Is that a pat on the back?” “Finding a lost pair of underwear is more like stealing a feel,” he writes. When the actress’s mother asked what could be done, Dooley came up with a new version on the spot.
“I would have the father say, ‘When you finally meet your Mr. Right, make sure he knows you wear the pants in the family,'” he writes, adding that while the comment was innocent, it was also loaded because the audience knows that Ringwald’s character, Sam Baker, gave a boy her underwear.
“Molly’s mother thought it was great,” Dooley says. “We showed it to John Hughes, and he liked it. That was the end of the scene.” Ringwald, who is now 54, has also said that she didn’t like some of the scenes in the 1984 classic teen movie.
In 2018, the “Breakfast Club” star told NPR that she saw “Sixteen Candles” differently as an adult, saying, “There were parts of that movie that bothered me then. Even though everyone says John Hughes listened to me and he did in many ways, I wasn’t the director.
“The times were different, and what was okay back then should not have been okay back then or now, but that’s kind of how it was,” Ringwald said.
In his book, which came out on December 15, Dooley says that he turned down the part in “Sixteen Candles” at first because his agent thought it was too small after his big role in “Breaking Away.”
But in the end, it paid off to play Jim Baker.
Dooley has played the father of many actors over the years, including Julia Roberts (“Runaway Bride”), Philip Seymour Hoffman (“My Boyfriend’s Back”), Helen Hunt (“Mad About You”), and Toni Collette (“Clockwatchers”). However, he says that “Sixteen Candles” is the movie that most people remember him from.
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