I feel this loss very deeply. This one hurts. As you may recall, in 2006 I appeared in a documentary about Hughes' legacy, titled Don't You Forget About Me. That movie was finally completed last year, and I hear I'm still in it. Good; I'm happy to stump for Hughes, and proud to revere him as a filmmaker. The past few years, it's been custom to bash Hughes (just read any review of I Love You, Beth Cooper), but these things are cyclical, and if his death doesn't sway the critical establishment to give up their grudge against him, maybe it will, at the very least, shame them into putting a moratorium on his name as a pejorative.
I had always hoped against hope for an honest-to-goodness comeback from Hughes, one where stepped back into the director's chair, which is really where his true talent lay. (I once blogged about his work in some depth here.) In 2002, he agreed to helm Maid in Manhattan after writing an early draft of the screenplay, but soon quit the project over having to cast Jennifer Lopez. I suspect it was the first excuse that came along--living up to his last name, Hughes was too much the recluse by that point. Even Judd Apatow never met him, despite having shepherded his treatment for Drillbit Taylor into production.
My brother approached me a few years ago about writing a screenplay called John Hughes Must Die. The premise was that an old man blames the problems of his life on The Breakfast Club and so builds a time machine to go back in time and assassinate Hughes. I came up with the following exchange between the old man and his idiot nephew:
Nephew: "You want to kill John Hughes? Mr. Weird Science? Mr. Pretty in Pink? Mr. Fresh Horses?"To bro's dismay, I bowed out thereafter. I told him I simply couldn't do it--I didn't want John Hughes to die. His movies made me happy.
Old Man: "Fresh Horses is David Anspaugh. You wanna kill David Anspaugh, build your own fucking time machine!"
But John Hughes is dead.