If you were a kid in the ’80s, Adventures In Babysitting was required watching. It had everything a classic ’80’s teen film formula calls for. We have our great soundtrack, the fashion, the slang, the nerds, the cool jerk, and we even have the wonderful Elisabeth Shue. She’s Danny Russo’s girlfriend! Score! It is Chris Columbus’ directorial debut. He made a few movies you might have heard of, including Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, those sleepers.
Elisabeth Shue recently shared all the inside information and answered all our questions about the wild Adventures in Babysitting. Here’s a primer in case you inexcusably missed it: When plans with her boyfriend fall through, high school senior Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue) ends up babysitting the Anderson kids, Brad (Keith Coogan) and Sara (Maia Brewton). What should be a quiet night in, however, turns into a series of ridiculous exploits, starting when they leave the house to pick up Chris’ friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller). Soon, Brad’s buddy Daryl (Anthony Rapp) is involved, and the group must contend with car thieves, blues musicians and much more.
When asked about working with Bradley Whitford (The Handmaid’s Tale, West Wing), she responds, “Awww. Brad and I became very good friends after Adventures in Babysitting, and I actually ended up going out with him! I’m not sure if he asked me or I asked him! And it was not immediately after the film ended. But we did go out.(He was) Supercute! And his voice! So suave. He was a New York actor and very funny and cool and sweet and very sensitive, actually, and the total opposite of … what’s his character’s name? Mike! But I haven’t seen him in a long time. It’s nice that we’re both still working.”
When asked about working with the young Vincent D’Onofrio as Thor the mechanic (Full Metal Jacket came out the same year! Range, people!), she replies, “I remember he was so focused that one night and cared so much about the emotional reality of Thor. He wanted the character to be fully realized and not some cartoon. He wasn’t, like, talking to people in between takes. I was really impressed.”
Was that really her in that Playboy photo?
“I had those photos taken at the Playboy Mansion!” They had her fly from Toronto to LA for the photo. Why? “I have no idea. I think they wanted it to be authentic. Maybe it was a requirement from Hugh Hefner that if it was going to be a Playboy, then the pictures had to be there. I’m trying to remember whether I met him. I think I might have. But it was totally surreal to be there. I mean, I wasn’t naked, obviously. But I think the movie works because it has that edginess to it. I say “f-k,” and I went to the Playboy Mansion.”
Ah, yes, the line repeated by all of us babysitting teens of the time. “Don’t f-k with the babysitter.” How’d that end up in a Disney kids’ adventure film?
“Well, I’ll tell you one funny thing: My dad wrote me a two-page letter about why I shouldn’t say “f-k” in the movie. He said I was a role model for young girls and that kids will think it’s okay to curse. And I’m like, “No, I have to use that word because it’s the language of the street!” Cut to my son watching the movie when he’s 2 or 3. He’s going around the house after, yelling, “F-k! Don’t f-k!”
And answering why the film still holds up? “I’m just amazed. I think the reason is because Chris Columbus and [screenwriter] David Simkins and the producers created a narrative that is classic storytelling. They were also smart to give it an edge with a soul underneath. You don’t hear any pop songs in it – it’s Sam Cooke and the Crystals. That’s part of the film’s dynamic, and it’s very unique and necessary. I’m still grateful to be a part of it.” This news originated at Vulture.
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