See the Cast of ‘Darkman’ Then and Now
In 1990, way back before he directed the ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy, Sam Raimi unleashed a very different kind of superhero on the world with ‘Darkman.’ Starring Liam Neeson as the titular hero, the film followed a brilliant scientist who is hideously deformed and seeks revenge on the men who destroyed his life. With ‘Man of Steel’ and other superheroes tearing up the box office this summer, let’s take a look back at the cast of ‘Darkman’ and see how far they’ve come, 23 years later.
Liam Neeson, Peyton Westlake/Darkman
Then: Writer/director Sam Raimi originally wanted Bruce Campbell for the lead role after working with Campbell on both of his ‘Evil Dead’ films. The studio wasn’t confident that Campbell could carry a blockbuster movie, though, so both Gary Oldman and Bill Paxton were considered before Liam Neeson won the part. Neeson actually found out about the film through Paxton, and when he got the role, Paxton was so angry he wouldn’t speak to Neeson for six months. (Bruce Campbell does turn up at the end of the film as the face of one of Darkman’s dsguises.)
Now: Neeson is one of the biggest names in Hollywood, thanks to a revamp in his career in recent years that’s seen him tackle dark action roles in films like ‘Taken’ and ‘The Grey.’
Frances McDormand, Julie Hastings
Then: Frances McDormand made her acting debut in 1984′s ‘Blood Simple,’ co-written by her husband, Joel Coen with his brother, Ethan. The Coens did some uncredited script doctoring on ‘Darkman’ for Sam Raimi, though McDormand wasn’t the first choice for the role of Julie Hastings. Julia Roberts was set to play the part until she signed on for ‘Pretty Woman,’ and both Demi Moore and Bridget Fonda were also considered.
Now: McDormand has acted in a few films for her husband and his brother, including ‘Burn After Reading’ and ‘Fargo.’ Last year she starred in the Wes Anderson flick ‘Moonrise Kingdom.’
Colin Friels, Louis Strack Jr.
Then: Both Richard Dreyfuss and James Caan turned down the role of Louis Strack Jr. before it went to Colin Friels, a little-known Scottish actor.
Now: Friels is married to fellow thespian Judy Davis, and has appeared in films like ‘Dark City’ and ‘Black and White.’
Larry Drake, Robert G. Durant
Then: Sam Raimi had never seen an episode of ‘L.A. Law,’ on which Larry Drake garnered acclaim for his portrayal of mentally challenged character Benny, but he liked the way Drake underplayed his audition for Durant, and likened the actor to a modern-day Edward G. Robinson.
Now: Drake reprised the role of Durant in ‘Darkman 2: The Return of Durant,’ and also starred in the campy ’90s horror flick ‘Dr. Giggles.’ Drake hasn’t appeared in anything since a 2008 guest turn on ‘Boston Legal’ and a minor role in the 2009 film ‘Dead Air.’
Ted Raimi, Rick
Then: Ted Raimi had already made cameos in ‘The Evil Dead’ and ‘Evil Dead 2′ for his brother, Sam. For ‘Darkman,’ Ted played the role of Rick, one of Durant’s dubious henchmen.
Now: Ted Raimi has made an appearance in every single one of his brother’s movies, and he’s maintained a successful acting career of his own, appearing in films like ‘Candyman,’ ‘Apollo 11,’ and ‘Reign Over Me.’