Oil and Vinegar (lost screenplay of cancelled John Hughes film; 1984-1986)

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John Hughes with actor Matthew Broderick during the filming of Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Status: Lost

John Hughes was an American filmmaker known for classic 1980s comedies and dramas such as The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and many more. Hughes's films are iconic for often featuring teenagers having coming-of-age experiences. He also helped launch the careers of many young celebrities, including Matthew Broderick, Anthony Michael Hall, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, and many more.

After his death in 2009, Hughes's family found multiple unreleased scripts. One of these scripts, Oil And Vinegar, was said to have been a favorite of Hughes. Despite the love Hughes had for this script, it was never made into a film, and the script has remained unreleased.


Oil and Vinegar was a screenplay written by John Hughes, most likely between 1984 and 1986. Hughes adored this script and sent it off to multiple actors he'd worked with previously. Matthew Broderick, who had immense success playing the main character in Hughes' previous film Ferris Bueller's Day Off, would have been cast as the lead male role, a travelling salesman. Molly Ringwald, who had played in three of Hughes' films prior, would have played the female lead, a hitchhiking new wave girl [1]. In her nonfiction book You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation, author Susannah Gora tells how Broderick spoke to her about the script:

It was a romantic comedy that had Broderick and Ringwald in a car for the entire movie. Broderick, who read the script, told me he was fascinated with it because it was an even smaller experiment than The Breakfast Club, where you had five characters in one room.[2]

Filmmaker Howard Deutch was among the group of individuals who read the script. Deutch, who was working on Some Kind of Wonderful at the time, expressed an interest in directing Oil and Vinegar. Deutch later told actor Jon Cryer that it was the best script of Hughes's that he'd read. Reportedly, Hughes was initially okay with Deutch directing Oil and Vinegar. However, when Deutch went to his office the next day, Hughes locked him out and kicked him off of the production team for Some Kind of Wonderful. It seemed that Hughes took Deutch's desire to direct as competition. It is said that the men later reconciled. Jon Cryer spoke of the ordeal in his memoir So That Happened: A Memoir:

The next day, Howie [Deutch] went to the studio to work on Some Kind of Wonderful and discovered a lock on his door, and shortly after, he received word that he'd been taken off the movie. In a flash, John [Hughes] had simply turned against Howie. It seems John had wanted to direct Oil and Vinegar himself, and interpreted Howie's vocalized interest as a huge betrayal. [3]

It is said that Hughes became protective over the film. Unfortunately, it was never made into a film following the incident with Deutch.


The film would have followed a similar play-like format seen in The Breakfast Club, focusing on the conversation between these two characters. Broderick would've played a traveling salesman who picks up a young hitchhiker (played by Ringwald). Trapped by themselves out in the middle of nowhere in Broderick's car, later a motel room, the two would have conversations on coming-of-age topics, similar to those heard in Breakfast Club. However, another potential director, Alan Metter, recalls that the plot involved Broderick's character driving to his wedding, picking up Ringwald along the way [4].

To date, the script has remained lost, and likely will not be released by anyone other than family. Those who read the script hail it as Hughes's greatest work, and many fans hope that the script will be released publically, or even get made into a film.