Jon Cryer Reveals His Failed Brat Pack-Era Auditions (Exclusive)

Before playing onscreen rivals in the 1986 rom-com Pretty in Pink, Jon Cryer and Andrew McCarthy were rivals of a different sort, competing for the same role in at least one Brat Pack-era movie.

Cryer, 59, makes an appearance in the new documentary BRATS, which was directed by McCarthy, 61, and features interviews with several of the actors who were a part of the constellation of young ’80s stars known as the Brat Pack, including Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Emilio Estevez and Ally Sheedy.

The film premiered at the Tribeca Festival on June 7, ahead of its streaming premiere June 13 on Hulu.

From left: Andrew McCarthy, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore and Jon Cryer at the June 7, 2024, Tribeca Festival premiere of ‘BRATS’.

Kristina Bumphrey/getty

In an email interview with PEOPLE about the new documentary, Cryer, who won two Emmys for his role as Alan Harper on the 2003–2015 sitcom Two and a Half Men, talks about some of the roles that got away during the Brat Pack’s ’80s heyday.

“I auditioned for Anthony Michael Hall‘s part in Sixteen Candles,” says Cryer, who made his film debut in 1984’s No Small Affair opposite Demi Moore, whom he briefly dated at the time. “And after he did that movie with [director] John Hughes, he was cast in The Breakfast Club, so I never got a shot at auditioning for that.”

Andrew McCarthy and Demi Moore in 1985’s ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’.


“I remember going up for St. Elmo’s Fire for Andrew’s role,” Cryer continues. “The director [Joel Schumacher] spent most of the audition asking me about Demi. But there’s nothing out there that I regret not being cast in. If a filmmaker is going for something other than what I bring to a role, I’ve got to figure it’s for the best that I don’t end up doing it.”

He and McCarthy did eventually work together in Pretty in Pink, in which Molly Ringwald played a high school senior being courted by their characters. Cryer has mixed memories about the experience.

“Molly and I were work friends,” he says. “Andrew and I couldn’t even manage that. I had no idea he was already dealing with an alcohol addiction. At the time, I perceived of him as kind of haughty and remote, but had I known he was working so hard just to keep it together I might have been more understanding.”

Andrew McCarthy and Jon Cryer.


Cryer agreed to be interviewed on camera for BRATS, and he and McCarthy confirm that things are much better between them now — so much so that Cryer was comfortable being especially candid about his feelings back then during a Q&A after the Tribeca premiere.

“When we had done Pretty in Pink together, we did not get along because he was a d—,” Cryer said, prompting McCarthy to reply, “That’s very true.” Added Cryer: “But he was going through a lot of stuff that I did not know about.”

McCarthy did eventually apologize (“a little,” Cryer cracked during the Q&A) when they found themselves reunited in the green room backstage at The View in 2012.

From left: Andrew McCarthy, Molly Ringwald and Jon Cryer in 1986’s ‘Pretty in Pink’.


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“It was lovely because it was like within a moment, it was just so clear that we were teenagers and that does not, that in no way defines who we are now, and it was just so lovely,” Cryer said of the backstage moment. “It was immediately warm.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

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