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Hollywood’s Brat Pack

“There’s a punk club open tonight across the street,” he said. “Let’s go.” So Estevez and Nelson and the Playmate and McInerney paid the check and left.

Across the street was the Imperial Gardens Japanese restaurant. Late at night, the Japanese restaurant mysteriously disappears, and a punk club takes its place. A long line snaked through the entranceway and out the door, and two large bouncers stood at the foot of a long staircase to the club, not letting anyone inside.

“Some people have no shame about such things,” Estevez said when it was suggested that he approach the bouncers and inform them that two movie stars would like to get in. “I have shame.” And so he made no movement. But the rest of the people in line began to notice him and Judd Nelson, and a murmur reached the bouncers.

“The manager would like to speak with you,” said one of the bouncers, who left his spot at the staircase to speak to Estevez. And so Estevez put away his shame and headed over. Moments later, he waved his group toward him; the manager stamped their hands, showing proper awe. “I guess we’re not as important as they are,” muttered a girl standing at the front of the line as Estevez, Nelson, McInerney, and the Playmate made their way inside, please with their clout.

McInerney, somewhat of an expert on nightclubs—his book is filled with tales of late-night New York crawl—remarked upon entering the crowded club that there did not seem to be a VIP lounge on the premises. Estevez nodded and bemoaned the hordes around the bar. In New York, celebrities typically are ushered into private rooms, served free drinks, and photographed by paparazzi, who will place their pictures in the next day’s editions of the dailies.

The Brats will be coming to New York this month to promote St. Elmo’s Fire, which all of them seem rather obsessed with. Each new Brat Packer movie carries with it an increased burden–if it is not a success, the young unknowns starring in the hit movie of the momentmight come up from behind and replace them. And that would mean the end of the kind of ensemble efforts that created the Brat Pack.

“I think ensembles should continue forever,” says Judd Nelson. His name is being tossed around for one of the leads in Bright Lights, Big City—Tad Allagash, a suave young gadabout. The other role has been cast; the character based on the book’s author will be played by Tom Cruise. Aside from Judd Nelson, the other actors under consideration for the role of Tad are Emilio Estevez and Rob Lowe.

Estevez and Nelson did not, however, learn anything about the character from talking to McInerney the other night. After summoning him to their late-night cruising, and shouting a few comments to him over the din at the Imperial Gardens, the Brat Pack took off and left McInerney at the club. He walked back to his hotel by himself.

The leader of the Brat Pack ordered two slices of pepperoni pizza and a Coke at Lamonica’s N.Y. Pizza stand in Westwood, the home of UCLA and, seemingly, the capital of the generation that buys all the movie tickets. There is an enormous movie theater at practically every intersection in Westwood; movies that have long since closed elsewhere are still playing here. So for Emilio Estevez to show his face in this neighborhood was to invite the stares of countless fans, and as he wolfed down his slices, the rest of the customers watched in silent respect.

Moments after he’d sat down, a lanky, greasy-haired young man approached the table.

“Hey, Emilio, how you doin?”

Estevez looked up expecting a fan, but the man he saw standing above him was another member of the Brat Pack—Timothy Hutton.

“Hey, Tim, how you doin?”

“Not bad, man, how you doin?”

“Okay dude. What are you up to?”

“Not much. How about you?”

“Nothin’.”

Pause

“You seen Sean?” Hutton was referring to Sean Penn.

“No. I heard he was at the party for Madonna the other night, Sunday or Monday,” Estevez said.

“Oh…well, take it easy dude.”

“Okay…so long, dude.” Hutton and a small entourage of young men about his age and greasiness walked back through the pizza joint and into the kitchen for an unknown purpose. And Estevez explained that he and Hutton don’t know each other very well. “We met through Sean,” he said.

The Brat Pack whispers that Hutton has made a near-fatal mistake; he has made movies that have failed at box office. For one of the pack, this is a mortal sin—because what makes you a member, what makes you a Brat, is the ability to be in a position where Hollywood needs you more than you need Hollywood. “Tim’s last three movies were bombs,” one of the Brats noted, in a not-for-attribution remark. “It’s going to get to the point where the Oscar isn’t going to matter. If you can’t sell tickets, that’s it.”


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