“No Small Affair”: 19-year old Jon Cryer tells Night Flight about his first feature film role

By on January 10, 2018

Night Flight’s “Take Off to Film Music” — which first aired on December 1, 1984 — featured our interview with 19-year old actor Jon Cryer, who’d just made his first onscreen appearance in the somewhat-forgotten coming-of-age melodrama No Small Affair, in which his character was, as Pat Prescott tells us, “a teenager introduced to adult sex by an older woman.”

Watch the episode now on Night Flight Plus!


“When I first read the script, a few years ago,” says Cryer in his rambling but charming-as-hell interview, “it was about a kid falling in love with a much older down-and-out torch singer.”

“They changed it through the years, because it went into production like once before, and they had to close down production, because the director got sick and everything, but it ends up as a photographer who falls in love with a singer, a rock ‘n’ roll singer who’s very down on her luck, but the reason he falls in love with her is that he’s a photographer and she wanders into his shot one day, and he wants nothing to do with the world, and the outside, because his family is crazy, and he hates his school, and everything, but photography was always his only sanctuary and one day she wanders into his shot and his live is changed forevah.”


Cryer — who’d graduated the Bronx High School of Science in 1983 — references the earlier production which had begun in 1981 with director Martin Ritt, who quit a few weeks into filming due to exhaustion.

That early version featured actor Matthew Broderick, who Cryer had already understudied a few times in theatre roles by that point in his career, which may be why they were often confused later in their careers.


Broderick’s character’s leading lady, a Greenwich Village nightclub singer, was originally played by then-35 year old Sally Field, who’d worked with Ritt on Norma Rae, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

After being shelved for a few years, director Jerry Schatzberg was brought aboard the project, and No Small Affair was re-cast with Cryer and a foxy 22-year old actress named Demi Moore.

(Her role of the had originally gone to Ellen Barkin, but after an awkward kissing scene with Cryer in rehearsal, Barkin was replaced).


In the new version — filmed on location in San Francisco and Los Angeles — Cryer plays a teenage high school newspaper photographer named Charles Cummings who becomes infatuated with a worldly rock ‘n’ roll singer with a gravelly-voice named Laura Victor, who had stumbled into frame when he was taking photos.

Cummings is smitten with her, and tries to help her singing career with an ill-advised ad-campaign, and their relationship matures over the rest of the film as he transitions from gawky teenager into a confident young man.


Moore’s vocals in the film are sung by Chrissy Faith, who has three tracks on the soundtrack album, which also features songs by Twisted Sister, Zebra, and Malcolm McLaren (“Eiffel Tower”).

Read more about No Small Affair below.


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Moore was apparently something of a wild child, growing up in and around the rock clubs of L.A. (in 1980, she married Freddy Moore of L.A. new wave band the Nu-Kats, when she was eighteen and he was thirty).

At age sixteen, she was inspired to give acting a try by her West Hollywood next-door neighbor, then 17-year old actress Nastassja Kinski. Moore left high school during her junior year, moving out on her own and taking acting classes.

She also did some modeling — that’s her ass you see on the original poster for the 1978 slasher film I Spit On Your Grave — and ended up in Europe, where she posed nude (still underage at the time) for Oui magazine’s January 1981 issue.


By 1984, she was appearing on TV’s popular daytime soap “General Hospital,” and appearing in her feature film role, playing Michael Caine’s daughter in the memorably spicy sex-comedy Blame It on Rio.

Cryer — in his 2015 autobiography So That Happened: A Memoir — writes that he and Moore hung out together off-set, driving around in her beat-up Honda Civic, and he fell for her hard, calling Demi Moore his “first big Hollywood romance.”


Within just a few years, Cryer would be making a much bigger splash onscreen as Molly Ringwald’s loyal and lovable best friend, Duckie, in the 1986 John Hughes teen comedy Pretty in Pink.

Moore, meanwhile, would become of the so-called Brat Pack during her appearance in 1985’s St. Elmo’s Fire.

Both have continued to enjoy long, successful careers, ever since the ’80s.


No Small Affair was also notable for being the first film appearances for Jennifer Tilly and Tim Robbins (he was 28, playing a high school classmate of Charles’!).

There were also appearances by Peter Frechette, E.G. Daily (“Loryn” from Valley Girl and “Baby Doll” from Streets of Fire), Ann Wedgeworth, Jeffrey Tambor, Hamilton Camp, Tate Donovan and George Wendt, who is probably still best known as “Norm” from TV’s “Cheers” (1982-1993).


“Take Off to Film Music” also features the official music video of the film’s AOR love theme “Love Makes You Blind” by rock thrush Fiona, who was newly-signed to Atlantic Records at the time.

The New Jersey-born and raised Fiona Flanagan was known for belting out power-ballads (this one was written by former Good Rats leader Peppi Marchello, her producer).

Her self-titled 1985 debut album would chart at #71 on the Billboard 200 Album chart, for just one week.


Night Flight’s “Take Off to Film Music” also features music videos by Prince, Bananarama, .38 Special, Patti Labelle, Melissa Manchester, Survivor, the Pointer Sisters, and Andy Summers’s electro-rock update to the 2001: A Space Odyssey theme for that film’s sequel, 2010. Watch it now on Night Flight Plus!


About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, assistant editor for the When You Awake blog, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.