See the Cast of ‘Platoon’ Then and Now
Oliver Stone’s ‘Platoon’ was released in 1986 and was based on the director’s own experiences fighting in the Vietnam war. The film marked the first time a Vietnam veteran made a film about the war, and earned Oscars for both best picture and best director. It also helped launch the careers of young actors like Charlie Sheen and Johnny Depp. 27 years later, we revisit the cast of this classic film and see where they are now.
Charlie Sheen, Chris Taylor
Then: Charlie Sheen played the lead role of Private Chris Taylor, a man who drops out of college and volunteers for duty in Vietnam. Keanu Reeves and Kyle MacLachlan turned down the part before it went to Sheen, whose father Martin appeared in another Vietnam war film: ‘Apocalypse Now.’
Now: Sheen went on to appear in films like ‘Wall Street’ and ‘Hot Shots’ before hitting some very public speed bumps throughout the 90s and 00s. He starred on the sitcom ‘Two and a Half Men’ for several years before leaving to star in the FX series ‘Anger Management.’
Tom Berenger, Sergeant Bob Barnes
Then: Tom Berenger played Taylor’s ruthless Staff Sergeant Bob Barnes, a role originally offered to Kevin Costner. Berenger would reunite with Sheen just a few years later for both ‘Major League’ and ‘Major League II.’
Now: After years of taking roles in B-movies like the ‘Sniper’ series, Berenger landed a supporting role in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’ and appeared in the recent ‘Hatfields and McCoys’ miniseries.
Willem Dafoe, Sergeant Elias
Then: Willem Dafoe played Sergeant Elias, Taylor’s mentor who defends him to Barnes. Dafoe’s career was breaking out at this point — two years later, he starred as Jesus in Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Last Temptation of Christ,’ and reunited with Oliver Stone for ‘Born on the Fourth of July.’
Now: Dafoe had a small reunion with ‘Platoon’ co-star Johnny Depp when the former made an uncredited cameo in the 1990 film ‘Cry-Baby,’ and over the years he’s appeared in films like ‘American Psycho,’ ‘Spider-Man,’ and Scorsese’s ‘The Aviator.’ Most recently, he reunited with Forest Whitaker for ‘Out of the Furnace,’ and can be seen next in Wes Anderson’s ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ (marking his second time working with Anderson — he lent his voice to ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’).
Kevin Dillon, Bunny
Then: Kevin Dillon’s first major role was in ‘Platoon’ as Bunny, a young private who snaps during the Vietnam war.
Now: Dillon reunited with Stone for the 1991 Jim Morrison biopic ‘The Doors,’ but you know him best as Johnny “Drama” Chase from the HBO series ‘Entourage.’ Dillon will reprise his role for the upcoming film.
Keith David, King
Then: Keith David played King, another one of Taylor’s mentors. At that point, you probably knew him best from his role in John Carpenter’s 1982 film ‘The Thing,’ and just a couple of years after ‘Platoon,’ he appeared in Carpenter’s ‘They Live.’
Now: You’ve seen him in films like ‘Requiem for a Dream’ and ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith,’ and more recently in ‘Cloud Atlas.’ David also does a lot of voice acting, recently portraying Nick Fury in ‘Marvel Heroes.’
Johnny Depp, Lerner
Then: Johnny Depp auditioned for the lead role of Chris Taylor, but Oliver Stone thought he was too young and unknown, so he gave Depp the supporting part of Lerner instead. Stone said he thought Depp would go on to be a huge star someday, and is partially credited with introducing him to audiences.
Now: Depp is indeed a major Hollywood star, appearing in Tim Burton films like ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ and Disney epics like the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise and ‘The Lone Ranger.’ He can be seen next in ‘Transcendence,’ the directorial debut from Wally Pfister, Christopher Nolan’s long time director of photography.
Forest Whitaker, Big Harold
Then: Forest Whitaker, who had previously gained notice for roles in ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ and ‘The Color of Money,’ played Big Harold. He returned to Vietnam a year later with the film ‘Good Morning, Vietnam.’
Now: Whitaker has been busy this year, appearing in ‘The Last Stand,’ ‘The Butler,’ ‘Black Nativity,’ and most recently in ‘Out of the Furnace,’ which reunites him with his ‘Platoon’ co-star Willem Dafoe.