See the Cast of ‘Jackie Brown’ Then and Now
In 1997, Quentin Tarantino released ‘Jackie Brown.’ Based on the novel ‘Rum Punch’ by Elmore Leonard, the director was inspired by Pam Grier’s classic blaxploitation films, so he changed the race and name of the lead character (from Burke to Brown) and cast Grier herself to star. The film follows Jackie, a flight attendant who smuggles money for a black market arms dealer on the side. When Jackie gets busted by the ATF, she goes in for one last cash grab, planning to take the money and run.
With a cast that included Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton, ‘Jackie Brown’ was hailed by critics and audiences alike, and signified a career comeback for stars like Grier and Robert Forster. Sixteen years later, we revisit the cast of Tarantino’s third film and see where they are now.
Pam Grier, Jackie Brown
Then: Pam Grier, star of blaxploitation classics like ‘Coffy’ and ‘Foxy Brown,’ played Jackie Brown, a flight attendant who smuggles money for a black market gun dealer. Her character was inspired by characters she had played in the ’70s.
Now: Since then, Grier has appeared in the films ‘Jawbreaker’ and ‘Ghosts of Mars,’ and starred on the series ‘The L World.’ She had a recurring role on ‘Smallville’ and most recently appeared in ‘The Man with the Iron Fists.’ She’s currently set to star in an untitled action drama, in which she’ll play a retired Homeland Security agent pulled back in to duty to train a group of agents.
Samuel L. Jackson, Ordell Robbie
Then: Samuel L. Jackson, who previously appeared in Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction,’ played Ordell Robbie, the black market gun dealer and smuggler who has Jackie bringing in money and — unbeknownst to her — drugs.
Now: Jackson is one seriously busy actor — in addition to playing Nick Fury in the Marvel movie universe in films like ‘Iron Man 3′ and ‘The Avengers,’ he also recently reunited with Tarantino for ‘Django Unchained’ and appeared in Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy.’ You can see him next in the ‘RoboCop’ remake, which also stars his ‘Jackie Brown’ co-star Michael Keaton, and he’s in talks for a new ‘Tarzan’ movie.
Robert Forster, Max Cherry
Then: Robert Forster played Max Cherry, the bail bondsman Ordell uses to get his cohorts out of jail. Forster was the star of such classics as ‘Medium Cool’ and ‘Vigilante.’
Now: Forster went on to appear in the series ‘Karen Sisco,’ which was based on a character who appeared in several Elmore Leonard novels, including ‘Out of Sight’ (a film and story that also features the character Ray Nicolet). Recently, Forster appeared in ‘Olympus Has Fallen,’ one of the final episodes of ‘Breaking Bad,’ and Tim Allen’s ‘Last Man Standing.’
Bridget Fonda, Melanie Ralston
Then: Bridget Fonda played Melanie Ralston, the surfer girl who lives with Ordell and spends her days getting high and watching TV. Fonda had previously appeared in ‘Single White Female’ and ‘It Could Happen to You.’
Now: Fonda went on to act until 2002, appearing in ‘A Simple Plan,’ ‘Monkeybone’ and ‘Kiss of the Dragon.’ Her final appearance was in the 2002 TV movie ‘Snow Queen.’ She is married to film composer Danny Elfman.
Michael Keaton, Ray Nicolet
Then: Michael Keaton played ATF agent Ray Nicolet, a character who also appears in the story ‘Out of Sight.’ At the time, Steven Soderbergh was developing his film based on Leonard’s story at Universal, and Tarantino helped negotiate a deal so that Keaton could make a cameo appearance as the character in Soderbergh’s film without Miramax (who held the rights to the character) charging Universal for it.
Now: Keaton recently appeared in Larry David’s HBO film ‘Clear History,’ stars in the upcoming ‘RoboCop’ remake with ‘Jackie Brown’ co-star Samuel L. Jackson, and appears with Aaron Paul in ‘Need for Speed.’ He’s also been rumored to reprise the role of ‘Beetlejuice’ in the long-gestating sequel.
Robert De Niro, Louis Gara
Then: Robert De Niro played Louis Gara, Ordell’s friend and former prison cellmate who helps Ordell when the ATF tries to set up a bust against him.
Now: De Niro has kept pretty busy this year alone, appearing in ‘The Big Wedding,’ ‘The Family,’ ‘Killing Season,’ ‘Last Vegas’ and the upcoming ‘Grudge Match.’ He also has a small part in David O. Russell’s awards contender ‘American Hustle.’
Chris Tucker, Beaumont Livingston
Then: Chris Tucker played Beaumont Livingston, one of Ordell’s couriers who gets busted by the ATF and informs on Ordell. At the time, Tucker was known best for his roles in ‘Friday’ and ‘Dead Presidents.’
Now: Tucker went on to appear in the ‘Rush Hour’ series of films, but outside of that, he wasn’t being cast in any others … until 2012, when David O. Russell resurrected Tucker’s career and cast him in ‘Silver Linings Playbook.’ He’s also rumored to reprise the role of Smokey in an upcoming fourth ‘Friday’ film.
Michael Bowen, Mark Dargus
Then: Michael Bowen played Mark Dargus, an ATF agent. The actor previously appeared in the films ‘Less Than Zero’ and ‘Beverly Hills Cop 3.’
Now: Tarantino gave Bowen small roles in ‘Kill Bill, Vol. 1′ (Buck, with the memorable truck) and ‘Django Unchained,’ but you probably recall him best as Todd’s terrifying uncle on the final season of ‘Breaking Bad.’
Lisa Gay Hamilton, Sheronda
Then: Lisa Gay Hamilton played Sheronda, a naive Southern girl whom Ordell plans to use in his scheme to smuggle one last load of cash.
Now: Hamilton played Rebecca Washington on the long-running series ‘The Practice,’ and recently appeared in the films ‘Take Shelter’ and ‘Lovelace.’ She’s also guest starred on ‘Southland’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’