Matthew Broderick Struggled After Success of ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’

FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, Matthew Broderick, 1986
Paramount/Everett Collection

While Matthew Broderick is a huge star now, it wasn’t always easy to maintain his career. Broderick achieved success pretty early on in the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Still considered one of his most beloved roles, Broderick found it hard to continue working after the 1987 film did so well.

He revealed, “I did have nice early success. But it’s not easy to maintain that first flush. It’s always a hard adjustment for child actors, young actors. People see the kid out of ‘Leave It To Beaver’ grown up and they don’t buy it – they want to see little Beaver. People associated me with younger roles, but I wanted them to come with me and get used to the fact that I’m wrinkly. And it was hard. The ‘90s were hard. Lots of ups and downs. But I always tried to keep at it, keep my heart in it. Hopefully that keeps you in the game.”

FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, Mia Sara, Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, 1986

Everett Collection

Broderick also admitted that his legacy is likely being Ferris Bueller but he has since accepted it. Of course, once he got past some of those hard times he has worked steadily over the years. Broderick is also best known for being the voice of adult Simba in The Lion King, The Cable Guy, Godzilla, The Producers, and more. Most recently, he plays Richard Sackler, the former president of company Purdue Pharma in the Netflix show Painkiller.

PAINKILLER, Matthew Broderick, 'The One To Start With, The One To Stay With', (Season 1, ep. 101, aired Aug. 10, 2023)

Keri Anderson/Netflix/Everett Collection

The show follows Purdue Pharma, the creator of the painkiller OxyContin and the opioid crisis. Broderick shared about the series and the intense storyline, “My mom had very bad pain from cancer. She was on those kinds of drugs for years – not OxyContin, but it was an opioid – and they helped her. So it’s difficult, because I can see the need for painkillers. I think the original intent to develop the drug is not inherently evil. It’s only when you get people hiding the evidence of how addictive it is that it becomes an awful story.”

Painkiller is now available to stream on Netflix. This year he also appeared in the film No Hard Feelings, also starring Jennifer Lawrence.

1980s Top Summer Blockbusters
Want More?

1980s Top Summer Blockbusters

July 2019

Celebrate the biggest summer movies of the ’80s, when moviegoing morphed from mere entertainment to blockbuster events.

Buy This Issue