See the Cast of ‘Casino’ Then and Now
Five years after ‘Goodfellas,’ Martin Scorsese collaborated with screenwriter and author Nicholas Pileggi once again on ‘Casino,’ the story of Sam “Ace” Rothstein (frequent Scorsese star Robert De Niro), a Jewish-American gambling handicapper who is used by the mob to oversee their casino operations in Las Vegas. Based in part on a true story, ‘Casino’ marks the eighth and final collaboration between De Niro and Scorsese, and went on to earn co-star Sharon Stone a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. Eighteen years later, we revisit the cast of the film and see where they are now.
Robert De Niro, Sam “Ace” Rothstein
Then: Robert De Niro played Sam “Ace” Rothstein, a Jewish-American gambling handicapper, picked by the mob to run their casino operations at the Tangiers in Las Vegas. Rothstein is based on real-life criminal Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, profiled in the book by Nicholas Pileggi, who also wrote and collaborated with Scorsese on ‘Goodfellas.’
‘Casino’ marks the eighth and final collaboration between De Niro and Scorsese, following films like ‘Taxi Driver,’ ‘The King of Comedy,’ ‘Raging Bull’ and ‘Goodfellas.’
Now: De Niro was recently nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in ‘Silver Linings Playbook.’ He’s recently had a very busy 2013, appearing in the films ‘The Big Wedding,’ ‘Killing Season,’ ‘The Family’ and ‘Last Vegas,’ and can also be seen in ‘American Hustle’ and ‘Grudge Match.’
Joe Pesci, Nicholas “Nicky” Santoro
Then: Joe Pesci played Nicky Santoro, a mob enforcer sent to help protect Sam and the business in Vegas. He had previously appeared opposite De Niro in Scorsese’s ‘Raging Bull’ and ‘Goodfellas.’
Now: After ‘Casino,’ Pesci only appeared in a few more films — ending with 1998′s ‘Lethal Weapon 4′ — before taking a break for several years. He returned in 2006, and since then has appeared in ‘The Good Shepherd’ (directed by Robert De Niro) and ‘Love Ranch.’ He’s rumored to star in ‘The Irishman,’ a project Scorsese has in development that would reunite the director with De Niro for the ninth time.
Sharon Stone, Ginger McKenna Rothstein
Then: Sharon Stone played Ginger McKenna, a hustler reluctant to get involved with and marry Sam. Nicole Kidman, Melanie Griffith, Cameron Diaz, Uma Thurman, and Michelle Pfeiffer were all considered for the part of Ginger. Traci Lords — a former porn star-turned-actress who had appeared in ‘Cry-Baby’ — was seriously considered when she impressed Scorsese with her audition. And Madonna almost got the part, until Stone convinced Scorsese that she deserved it — and she was right: she earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination, and the role is arguably the best in her history.
Now: In 2006, Stone reprised the role of Catherine Tramell in ‘Basic Instinct 2,’ and has appeared in ‘Bobby’ and ‘Alpha Dog.’ Most recently, she played Linda Lovelace’s mother in the biopic ‘Lovelace.’
Frank Vincent, Frankie Marino
Then: Frank Vincent played Frankie Marino, an associate of Nicky’s. Vincent had also previously appeared alongside De Niro and Pesci in ‘Goodfellas.’
Now: You know Vincent best as New York City crime boss Phil Leotardo on the HBO series ‘The Sopranos.’ Since the show ended in 2007, Vincent has made a cameo appearance on ‘Stargate Atlantis’ and starred in the indie film ‘Chicago Overcoat.’
Don Rickles, Billy Sherbert
Then: Legendary comedian Don Rickles played Billy Sherbert, Sam’s floor manager at the Tangiers, who helps him keep an eye on things.
Now: Rickles has provided the voice of Mr. Potato Head in all of the ‘Toy Story’ films and shorts, and was the subject of the documentary ‘Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project.’ He remains active in stand-up comedy and appears on late-night talk shows.
James Woods, Lester Diamond
Then: James Woods played Lester Diamond, a con man and former boyfriend of Ginger’s who she runs to when she’s unhappy with Sam. Prior to ‘Casino,’ Woods was known for appearing in films as diverse as ‘The Way We Were’ and ‘Videodrome.’
Now: Woods still takes diverse roles, and in the last couple of years he’s appeared in ‘White House Down,’ ‘Jobs’ and the series ‘Ray Donovan.’
John Bloom (Joe Bob Briggs), Donald “Don” Ward
Then: John Bloom played Don Ward, the brother of the county commissioner whom Sam fires for being incompetent, getting him in a whole world of trouble. Bloom is better known to audiences as Joe Bob Briggs, author, film critic, and host of ’80s and ’90s network shows, like ‘Drive-In Theater’ and ‘MonsterVision,’ which featured little-seen B-movie and exploitation classics.
Now: Briggs continues to travel the country, screening the films he loves and discussing them with fans. He has released seven books on cinema under the name Joe Bob Briggs.
Kevin Pollak, Philip Green
Then: Kevin Pollak played Philip Green, the Tangiers owner and CEO of the real estate holding company — basically, he’s the businesslike face of the mob operation.
Now: Pollak has recently appeared in ‘Red State’ and ’3 Geezers,’ and guest starred on Adult Swim’s ‘Children’s Hospital’ and HBO’s ‘Family Tree.’ He is the host and producer of the long-running podcast ‘Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show.’