The Outsiders turns the big 40 this year, meaning the classic teen drama is now officially middle-aged! Fans must be feeling long in the tooth, but that won’t stop them enjoying our selection of strange behind-the-scenes details. What happened when maverick director Francis Ford Coppola assembled a cast of unknowns on the cusp of stardom? From young hearts to childish pranks, we have all the juicy details from those 1960s rebels here.
1. The Lowe down
A group of young men together on a cinematic adventure can only mean one thing: pranks. Various high jinks took place while filming The Outsiders. One cast member tricked in epic style was Rob Lowe, a.k.a. Sodapop, who had the misfortune to turn 18 on the job. As mentioned on website IMDb, he found his room drenched in fire-extinguisher foam. Then there was the classic Saran Wrap on the toilet seat. Many happy returns! Meanwhile, C.Thomas Howell — Ponyboy — walked into his room and discovered life on the flipside. Everything, “from a penny to my bed, had been turned upside down” he told Variety magazine in 2018.
2. Coppola got inside their heads
Director Coppola is known for his unconventional approach to working with actors. His behind-the-scenes work on The Outsiders seems no different. The movie’s narrative focuses on gangs, and Coppola wasn’t shy about making each group feel resentful toward the other. How did he do this? Through what sounds like weapons-grade mind games. The onscreen rivals were treated somewhat differently in various ways when the cameras weren’t rolling. For instance, the actors playing the Socs lived a high-end life with screenplays bound in leather, whilst the Greasers were confined to the ground floor with paperback scripts in bad condition.
3. Diane Lane’s trauma
Diane Lane already had some impressive credits under her belt when Coppola cast her as Cherry, yet The Outsiders would prove to be a truly unforgettable time and not always for the right reasons. She wasn’t immune to the prolific pranking, telling Variety that the guys smeared “honey all over my toilet seat”, not to mention writing “something terrorizing” on her mirror with lipstick. She jokingly referred to the shoot as “trauma-bonding.” Lane went on to star in Coppola’s The Cotton Club, alongside Richard Gere, and Jack with Robin Williams. Yet neither of these films would prove as successful and meaningful to audiences as The Outsiders.
4. Cruise control (or lack of it)
Tom Cruise has energy: enough to power movie franchises single-handed. So when he loses his cool, he really loses it. Even back when he was a budding star, he blew up big time on finding out he was sharing a room with Lowe at the Plaza Hotel. Lowe revealed the details himself on the Armchair Expert podcast, and was philosophical about the Hollywood hissy fit. As viewed by Lowe, “There… [are] certain people who have always been who they are, and that element of them has powered them to where they are today, and the rest is history.”