That Was Then... This Is Now

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
That Was Then... This Is Now
That Was Then... This is Now (1985 film) poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byChristopher Cain
Screenplay byEmilio Estevez
Based onThat Was Then, This Is Now
by S. E. Hinton
Produced byGary R. Lindberg
John M. Ondov
CinematographyJuan Ruiz Anchía
Edited byKen Johnson
Music byBill Cuomo
Keith Olsen
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • November 8, 1985 (1985-11-08)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$3.5 million[1]
Box office$8,630,068 (United States)[2]

That Was Then... This Is Now is a 1985 American drama film based on the novel of the same name by S. E. Hinton. The film was directed by Christopher Cain, distributed by Paramount Pictures, and stars Emilio Estevez (who also wrote the screenplay) and Craig Sheffer. This is the only S.E. Hinton adaptation not to feature Matt Dillon.


Mark Jennings' (Emilio Estevez) only link to society is the attachment he feels towards an older brother-figure. When Bryon Douglas (Craig Sheffer) starts spending time with a new girlfriend (Kim Delaney), Mark begins to feel even more alienated and gets involved with drugs and the police.



S.E. Hinton novels were enormously popular in Hollywood in the early 1980s – films had been made of Tex, The Outsiders and Rumble Fish.

Emilio Estevez played Johnny Collins in Tex and Keith "Two-Bit" Matthews in The Outsiders. While making Tex in 1982, Estevez read That Was Then, This Is Now and he loved the book so much he wrote a screenplay.

"I wrote the screenplay before I even had the option on the book", he said. "I wanted to see if it would translate before I purchased the rights. . . . I just kept developing draft after draft, and it kept changing, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, and finally I came up with something that was acceptable."[3]

"I talked to Susie (Hinton) and she said, 'I think you'd be terrific as one of the characters,' and I said, 'I think I should do it.' I tried peddling it around the studios but they all said, 'Let's wait and see how Tex and The Outsiders do.'"[3]

Estevez went on to appear in The Outsiders. His father Martin Sheen bought the rights to That Was Then, This Is Now in 1982.[4][5]

"I knew it would be hot", said Estevez of the novel, who said in 1983 he wanted to star along with Tom Cruise.[6]

The films of Tex, The Outsiders and Rumble Fish did not do particularly well at the box office. However Estevez became increasingly in demand as an actor, appearing in Repo Man, The Breakfast Club and St Elmo's Fire.

Estevez found two Midwest producers interested in making the film and they succeeded in raising the finance. One of them, Gary Lindberg, ran a production company that mostly made TV commercials, based in Minnesota.[1]

Estevez did a rewrite of the film during the making of The Breakfast Club. "I'd go to work at 7 in the morning, come back at 7 at night and then write – sometimes until 5 in the morning – then get two hours sleep and do it all again. It was intense."[3]

Estevez described the book as "a very intense, dark piece. It's kind of like the old Pat O'Brien-Jimmy Cagney movies where O'Brien becomes the priest and Cagney becomes the gangster." Estevez, against his father's suggestion, decided to tackle the Cagney-type role. "I told him I wanted to play the villain and he said, 'No, play the hero. Play the jock.' I said, 'No, because I just played that.' We had a huge argument about it, and he said, 'You don't want to play the bad guy,' and I explained to him that the bad guy was drawn so sympathetically that you understood why he had so many problems, why he was the way he was."[3]

The character in question, Mark Jennings, had previously been played by Željko Ivanek in Tex (which takes place chronologically after That Was Then... This is Now). Estevez said, "There's probably a lot of him in me, the alter ego screaming to get out every once in a while. Fortunately, I was able to vent it in a film and not in real life."[7]

The film was shot in the summer of 1984 in St. Paul, Minnesota, without a distributor. It was later advertised as "the first Minnesota movie".[3][1]

Estevez said "we've been able to learn from the other" Hinton adaptations. "We made it very contemporary, hired a brilliant cinematographer. The cast is primarily unknowns so it has a real feel – you're not watching movie stars. The emotional content is so rich, so full, it's absolutely draining. It's a terrific movie."[8]

Paramount picked up the film for distribution.


The film opened November 8, 1985 and finished sixth place for the weekend with a gross of $2,502,780, behind other openers such as Target and Translyvania 6-5000.[9] It was a minor success at the box office,[1] grossing $8.6 million.[2] The film's critical reviews were mostly negative. The film currently holds a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 5 reviews.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d Jones, J., & Writer, S. (Jul 28, 1986). "Minnesota movie maker loosens hollywood's grip". Minneapolis Star and Tribune. ProQuest 417687388.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b That Was Then... This Is Now at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ a b c d e Caulfield, D. (Feb 20, 1985). ""BREAKFAST CLUB": FOOD FOR THOUGHT ON A YOUTH FILM A YOUNG TURK NAMED ESTEVEZ". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 292041087.
  4. ^ Smith, D. (Jul 15, 1982). "Hinton: What boys are made of". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 153190542.
  5. ^ C. W. (Oct 8, 1982). "Hinton on the scene". The Washington Post. ProQuest 147387922.
  6. ^ Deans, L. (Apr 8, 1983). "LA CLIPS thomas howell: An outsider who feels left out". The Globe and Mail. ProQuest 386670534.
  7. ^ Blau, R. (Oct 31, 1985). "EMILIO ESTEVEZ: A HOT YOUNG ACTOR VENTURES INTO RISKY NEW ROLES". Chicago Tribune. ProQuest 290878425.
  8. ^ Paula Span (Jun 26, 1985). "Emilio estevez, seriously". The Washington Post. ProQuest 138607207.
  9. ^ "Fatigued B.O. Not Helped By Bows; 'Wish' Still Leads". Variety. November 13, 1985. p. 3.
  10. ^

External links[edit]