See the Cast of ‘The Hudsucker Proxy’ Then and Now
In 1994, directors Joel and Ethan Coen teamed up with their pal Sam Raimi for ‘The Hudsucker Proxy.’ Co-written by Raimi, the film follows inexperienced small-town business school graduate Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins), who is suddenly placed at the head of Hudsucker Industries when the company’s founder commits suicide. Working as his proxy, Norville must scramble to help keep the company afloat and navigate the world of ruthless corporate businessmen. Nineteen years later, we take a look back at the cast of this screwball comedy and see where they are now.
Tim Robbins, Norville Barnes
Then: Tim Robbins played Norville Barnes, the naive business school graduate from Muncie, Indiana, who comes to New York to work in the mailroom at Hudsucker Industries, only to find himself unwittingly placed at the head of the company when the founder commits suicide. Robbins had previously appeared in ‘Howard the Duck’ and ‘Bull Durham.’
Now: Robbins has had a long and varied career, including roles in films like ‘Dead Man Walking,’ ‘High Fidelity,’ ‘Mystic River,’ ‘War of the Worlds,’ and recent parts in ‘Green Lantern’ and ‘Thanks for Sharing.’ He can be seen next with Kristen Wiig in the satirical IFC miniseries ‘The Spoils of Babylon,’ produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. He’ll star again with Wiig in the upcoming film ‘Welcome to Me,’ produced by Ferrell and McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions — the film reunites him with his ‘Hudsucker Proxy’ co-star Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Amy Archer
Then: Jennifer Jason Leigh played reporter Amy Archer, assigned to write a story about Norville and pose as his secretary. Winona Ryder and Bridget Fonda had been competing for the part, but Jennifer Jason Leigh charmed the Coen brothers with her previous auditions for roles in their films ‘Barton Fink’ and ‘Miller’s Crossing.’
Now: In 2001, Leigh wrote, produced, directed and starred in ‘The Anniversary Party’ with Alan Cummings. Since then, she’s continued to make interesting choices with roles in films like ‘The Machinist,’ ‘Margot at the Wedding’ and ‘Synecdoche, New York.’ She also had a recurring role in the final few seasons of the Showtime series ‘Weeds’ as the sister of Mary-Louise Parker’s character. Recently, she’s appeared in the films ‘The Spectacular Now’ and ‘Greenberg,’ and can be seen next with Tim Robbins and Kristen Wiig in ‘Welcome to Me.’
Paul Newman, Sidney J. Mussburger
Then: Legendary actor Paul Newman played Sidney J. Mussburger, a cutthroat member of the board of directors at Hudsucker — it’s his scheme to place Norville at the head of the company. Clint Eastwood was almost cast in the role, but had to bow out due to other obligations.
Now: Newman passed away in 2008 at the age of 83. His career highlights include roles in films like ‘The Hustler,’ ‘Cool Hand Luke,’ ‘The Towering Inferno’ and ‘Slap Shot.’ He teamed up with fellow legend Robert Redford for the classic films ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ and ‘The Sting,’ and won an Academy Award for his role in Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Color of Money.’ His final onscreen appearance was in the 2002 Tom Hanks film ‘Road to Perdition,’ for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and his last role was a voice part in the Pixar film ‘Cars.’
Newman was also the founder of Newman’s Own, a charitable line of food products. According to the stipulations he established, all proceeds from the sale of his products, after taxes, go to charity.
Jim True-Frost, Buzz
Then: Jim True-Frost played Buzz, the eager elevator operator who pitches the idea of a “flexi-straw” to Norville and promptly gets fired for it. True-Frost had previously appeared in ‘Singles’ with Bridget Fonda, who starred in ‘Single White Female’ with Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Now: True-Frost is probably known best to audiences for his role as Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski from David Simon’s acclaimed HBO drama series, ‘The Wire.’ He also has a recurring role on Simon’s other HBO series, ‘Treme,’ which is currently in its final season. True-Frost appeared on the shows ‘The Good Wife’ and ‘Elementary,’ and in the 2010 film ‘The Conspirator.’
Bill Cobbs, Moses
Then: Bill Cobbs played Moses, the man who works on the company’s giant clock and overhears everything that goes on. He tells Amy about Mussburger’s plot in an attempt to help Norville. Cobbs had previously appeared in ‘The Color of Money’ with Paul Newman.
Now: Cobbs is a noted character actor whose work has been enjoyed in many diverse films throughout the years, including ‘That Thing You Do,’ ‘A Mighty Wind,’ ‘Night at the Museum’ and ‘Get Low.’ He recently appeared in ‘The Muppets,’ and reunited with ‘Hudsucker Proxy’ co-writer Sam Raimi for Raimi’s film ‘Oz: The Great and Powerful.’
Bruce Campbell, Smitty
Then: You can’t have a Sam Raimi film without Bruce Campbell, so it was no surprise that the actor showed up in ‘The Hudsucker Proxy’ as newspaper reporter Smitty. Campbell previously appeared in both ‘Evil Dead’ movies and ‘Army of Darkness.’
Now: Since then, Campbell has had cameos in the Coen brothers’ movies ‘Fargo’ and ‘Intolerable Cruelty’: in both, he played a soap opera actor on TV within the films. He’s also had cameos in the Raimi ‘Spider-Man’ films and ‘Oz: The Great and Powerful,’ and, of course, he made an appearance in the 2013 remake of ‘Evil Dead.’ Campbell stars on the USA series ‘Burn Notice,’ and has lent his voice to the animated films ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs’ and ‘Cars 2.’ The actor teased the possibility of making an ‘Army of Darkness 2′ with Raimi, though he’s since backtracked on his statements.
John Mahoney, Chief Editor
Then: John Mahoney played the chief editor of the Argus newspaper who sends Amy Archer on her mission to write about Norville. When she reports back about Mussburger’s plot, he doesn’t believe her. Mahoney previously appeared in the Coen brothers’ ‘Barton Fink’ and starred on the NBC sitcom ‘Frasier.’
Now: ‘Frasier’ ended its run in 2004, and since then Mahoney has appeared on the shows ‘ER,’ ‘In Treatment’ and ‘Hot in Cleveland.’ He’s also reunited with Bruce Campbell for episodes of ‘Burn Notice.’ His recent film credits include ‘Dan in Real Life’ and ‘Flipped,’ and he was a featured cast member in the 2013 production of ‘The Birthday Party’ at Chicago’s Steppenwolf theatre.
Steve Buscemi, Bartender
Then: Yes, that was Steve Buscemi in a small role as the bartender at the juice bar. Buscemi previously appeared in the Coen brothers’ ‘Miller’s Crossing’ and ‘Barton Fink.’
Now: Buscemi would go on to appear in two more Coen films: ‘Fargo’ and ‘The Big Lebowski.’ He’s also appeared in several Adam Sandler movies, including ‘Billy Madison,’ ‘Mr. Deeds,’ and recent releases like ‘Grown Ups 2′ and ‘Hotel Transylvania.’ After playing Tony Soprano’s cousin, Tony Blundetto, on ‘The Sopranos,’ Buscemi impressed ‘Sopranos’ showrunner Terence Winter so much that he landed the lead role of Nucky Thompson on Winter’s next HBO series, ‘Boardwalk Empire.’ That show recently ended its fourth season and is prepping production for a fifth. Buscemi also appeared in the 2013 films ‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’ and ‘Monsters University,’ the latter for which he reprised his voice role as Randall Boggs.