Dead Poets Society: 25th Anniversary with Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, and more

This month marks the 25th anniversary of Peter Weir’s coming-of-age drama, Dead Poets Society (we can’t believe it’s been that long, either). Revisit the end of the ’80s in this new 10-minute clip shot during the film’s production – sent MovieMaker‘s way by cast member Dylan Kussman himself.

Twenty-five years ago, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke and friends were students at Welton Academy, ripping introduction chapters out of poetry textbooks, jumping on their desks, and discussing literature in caves. Dead Poets Society has since become a classic, beloved by English students and teachers everywhere. During the production of the film, the seven young principle cast members (Leonard, Hawke, Kussman, Josh Charles, Gale Hansen, James Waterston and Allelon Ruggiero) took a train to New York. Five of them were auditioning for the same role (of Ted Danson’s son and Jack Lemmon’s grandson) in Dad, while the other two tagged along for the ride (spoiler alert: the part went to Ethan Hawke and his preternaturally chiseled cheekbones).

“Allelon Ruggiero had this footage buried in a closet for a quarter century,” says Kussman (aka Richard Cameron, the jerk who got Robin Williams’ Mr. Keating kicked out of the Academy). “He found it, I cut it together, added music by Buttercup and Joe Kraemer, and we ended up with sort of a miniature time capsule — a single day in the middle of a very brief and inspiring time for all of us. I hope it conveys even a trace of how much fun we were having together that winter of 1988.” Watch as the (disconcertingly young) poets heckle pedestrians, get locked out on a rooftop, and recover from post-audition trauma.

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