‘The fact that Ferris is a cultural phenomenon and representative of something is cool,’ Tom Jacobson tells MTV News.
By Eric Ditzian
Even if you aren’t a football fan, there’s no way you could’ve pulled a Cameron Frye after last night’s and claimed, as the “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” curmudgeon famously did, that you didn’t see anything good all day.
That’s because two and a half decades after writer/director John Hughes introduced us to the coolest high school kid who ever lived, Matthew Broderick returned during the big game for a “Ferris”-inspired Honda commercial that had the actor once again pointing out that life moves pretty fast, so you should look around every once in a while or you’ll miss it.
Life, then, is all about surprises. Who would’ve thought that, after Hughes died in 2009, we’d ever see some fresh “Ferris” action? Certainly not the film’s producer, Tom Jacobson, who was utterly taken by surprise when a teaser for the ad popped up online ahead of the Bowl.
Shortly before the game kicked off, MTV News called Jacobson to get his take on the spot, what Hughes would make of it and whether we’ll ever get an actual “Ferris Bueller” sequel.
MTV: So what’s your take on the new ad?
Tom Jacobson: I think it’s fantastic. The fact that Ferris is a cultural phenomenon and representative of something is cool. I thought it was very well-done. Todd Phillips [who directed the ad] did a really good job. Matthew was great. When the first thing was released, with him just opening the window, it was the same voice. It was the same reading as Ferris 26 years ago.
MTV: It was eerily similar.
Jacobson: He’s a good actor. Clearly it’s part of him, and that’s why he was so good in the first one. It’s interesting, because the movie is 26 years old this June, and everyone still knows who Ferris is. Even kids know who Ferris is. It’s not generational. I have a 14-year-old son, and last year, when he was in seventh grade, they had a school sleepover thing and the movie they showed was “Ferris Bueller.” All the teachers and all the administration, they were the ones raised on “Ferris Bueller.”
MTV: Did you know the commercial was coming?
Jacobson: I didn’t know it was coming, and I was surprised. At first, I was like, “What?” Everybody was calling me, and my kids were sending me these links, like, “Dad, did you see this?” I looked it up and loved it.
MTV: That was just the teaser?
Jacobson: Yeah, just the 15-second thing.
MTV: So what were you thinking? Did you think they were making a sequel?
Jacobson: I was just a consumer. There was all this Internet rumor about, “What’s this for? Is there a ‘Ferris 2’?” So I did my own calling around and found out pretty quickly it was a car commercial. I actually spoke to Matthew on Monday and Tuesday and told him he did a great job. I emailed him and said it’s amazing how many emails I’ve got about this. And he said the same thing and his BlackBerry was blowing up and it’s amazing how the movie resonates after all these years.
MTV: When you saw the full commercial, was there one moment or reference that you thought was particularly cool?
Jacobson: It was more the imagery. The way it was framed. And Matthew playing himself. That was very clever and postmodern.
MTV: What do think John Hughes would make of this? Ferris Bueller doing a car commercial for the Super Bowl?
Jacobson: I can’t really speak for what he would think. He was very protective of his material. It’s unique stuff that he created. I don’t know how he would feel. It’s always a question about how artists feel about their material promoting something else. I’m proud it’s part of the culture. I’ll separate it from the product side of it and the fact that someone bought the rights to sell something else.
MTV: Is this ad the closest we’re ever going to get to seeing a “Ferris Bueller” sequel?
Jacobson: There are a lot of people involved in that decision. We’ve never tried it before. John never wanted to do it.
MTV: Why do you think the film still resonates?
Jacobson: I think there’s a very simple sentiment in the movie, which he repeats at the end: Life moves pretty fast, and if you don’t stop and look around, it’ll pass you by. It’s one of those Confucius sayings that the whole movie emblemizes. It’s even truer now. The world moves so fast. It’s true for grownups. And there’s the magic on John Hughes’ execution — the fairy-tale nature of it. Why do fairy tales last for a thousand years? Why does the myth of Ulysses last for 2,000 years? Because they’re mythological journeys, and John made one of those. That’s Ferris’ journey.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
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