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Hollywood’s Brat Pack

Estevez, who is only five foot six, stands as a vivid prototype of the Brat Pack he seems to lead. Barely 23 years old, he is already accustomed to privilege and appears to revel in the attention heaped upon him almost everywhere he goes. He has a reputation in Hollywood as a superstud: Dozens of girlfriends, many of them groupies, latch on for brief affairs; his romance with actress Demi Moore (who is also in St. Elmo’s Fire) is off and on. He is living the life that any American male might dream of—to be young, single, and famous.

But the Brat Packers are smart, and Estevez, perhaps the smartest of all, recognizes that with his fame and fortune comes a responsibility to preserve them. So he works hard at his profession, building a substantial résumé of acting credits to keep him going. His career began at eighteen, with an afternoon television special, Seventeen Going On Nowhere. By the time he had made his fourth feature, The Breakfast Club, he was 21. It was during the filming of The Breakfast Club that Estevez became a protégé of one of the most powerful young talents in Hollywood: writer-director-producer John Hughes. Returning to his condo in Malibu after the making of The Breakfast Club. Estevez wrote a screenplay called Clear Intent. It wasn’t his first screenplay—that one, an adaptation of an S.E. Hinton novel called That Was Then, This Is Now, has since been made into a movie with Estevez as the star and will be released this fall. But Clear Intent was surprisingly sophisticated, and when he showed it to Hughes, the reaction was so positive as to assure him a career as screenwriter.

“When I was reading it, I thought it was so good, so close to my bone, that I had written it,” said Hughes the other day, granting a brief interview over his car phone on his way to work. Only five years ago a Chicago-based humor writer, Hughes now has a multi-million-dollar deal with Paramount Pictures for his next several projects; one of them, Hughes said, may be Clear Intent. “Emilio wants to direct it, and I’m sure he will be able to,” Hughes said. “He can do anything. He can act, he can write, he can direct. He’s surpassed me in that respect. I can’t act—I wish I could.”

Clear Intent is the story of two L.A. garbagemen who witness a murder and unwittingly get involved. Who will play the garbagemen? “Maybe Judd Nelson could play one of the parts,” said Estevez one day. Another day he said, “Boy, I would love to play one of them.” At still another moment, he asked, “Do you think Matthew Broderick would be believable as a garbageman?” and then added, “Sean Penn would be good.” And what about Nicholas Cage? “Yeah, I’ve been thinking about him; he’d be great.” There appears to be little doubt: Clear Intent will unite at least two Brats onscreen once again.

It was almost midnight on a boys’ night out, and Judd Nelson and Emilio Estevez were still looking for some fun. So Estevez summoned a young writer he’d always wanted to meet, Jay McInerney—the author of a book, Bright Lights, Big City, that he’d once wanted to option and turn into a screenplay. It was 1984’s trendiest novel, and McInerney was staying at one of Los Angeles’s trendiest hotels, the Chateau Marmont, revising the first draft of the screenplay of his book. Coincidentally, the man set to direct the film version of the book is Joel Schumacher—the director of St. Elmo’s Fire.

McInerney showed up at the Hard Rock at around 11:30 P.M. in a sport jacket and mostly unbuttoned shirt. Estevez was wearing a T-shirt and chic black sport jacket with flecks of color. Nelson was wearing a gray jacket, a dark tie, a gray pullover, and a shirt almost hidden from view. It was 65 degrees, but he did not appear to be sweating. They all shook hands, with McInerney looking slightly mystified that he had been invited. The three of them, along with the Playmate, got into two cars, with McInerney in the backseat of Estevez’s Toyota pickup truck, and drove to Carlos ’n Charlie’s, a restaurant-discotheque on Sunset Boulevard. The coat-check girls recognized the movie stars and waved the group in without collecting a cover charge.

Estevez wandered around the club, and Nelson went to the dance floor, where the tune of the moment was “ABC,” by the Jackson Five. Nobody seemed interested in talking to McInerney. Nelson walked up to one of the loudspeakers and started dancing directly in front of it. But no one was dancing with him, and it was too dark for anyone to notice that there was a movie star dancing with a loudspeaker. So after a few minutes, the anonymity appeared to be too much for him; he sat down with a dejected look and started complaining about what a horrible club it was. Then he suggested they leave.