For someone who once said of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, “I hated that movie. I couldn’t get any other work. People would be like, ‘Heyyy!’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, one-trick pony,'” Alan Ruck certainly can’t let go of the character that canonized his place in film history.
As Cameron Frye, the doleful wallower that imp and enfant terrible Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) has to cajole by essential brunt force to leave the house for his day of playing hooky, Ruck imbued the 80s cinematic pastiche with one of the only openly depressive characters in its annals. Unafraid of immersing himself in his hypochondria or admitting that, “I can’t handle anything,” he is the obvious foil to the overly confident and fearless Ferris.
By the end of the film, however, Cameron resolves, “I am not going to sit on my ass as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I’m going to take a stand. I’m going to defend it. Right or wrong, I’m going to defend it.” How then, did it come to be that Cameron should end up in a commercial for Domino’s reenacting, for all intents and purposes, the role of Ferris’ dad (Ferris himself being played by Stranger Things‘ Joe Keery)? If he had truly did as he said and taken a stand, he wouldn’t still be living in suburban Chicago embodying the nightmare of parenthood that he never wanted to propagate.
And while Alan Ruck hasn’t exactly been a household name over the decades since Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, he’s certainly been getting enough TV work to sustain a living. So why reprise anything to do with the film he once declared to abhor? Maybe it’s simply as Cameron said, “I don’t care, I really don’t. I’m just tired of being afraid.” To be sure, there’s nothing more courageous than a willingness to play the patriarch of a Ferris Bueller “type” (Domino’s can’t just come right out and say it, after all–the pizza chain isn’t as “on the nose” as you think). In truth, though, the most daring act of all would have been to play the pizza delivery guy–that’s what young Cameron would have wanted for himself, for there’s more integrity in that than in being the progenitor of another entitled white boy.