See the Cast of ‘Urban Legend’ Then and Now
Following the rabid success of ’90s horror films like ‘Scream‘ and ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer,’ ‘Urban Legend’ followed a similar blueprint: grab an ensemble cast of young stars, lovingly pay homage to conventional horror tropes, and add some big twists and surprises. And then, big profit. The film follows a group of college friends who are being stalked by a psychotic murderer mimicking some of the most famous urban legends, hence the title. Fifteen years later (don’t you feel old?), we revisit the cast of the film and see what they’re up to now.
Jared Leto, Paul Gardner
Then: Former ‘My So-Called Life’ star Jared Leto played Paul Gardner, the school journalist who tries to uncover the killer’s identity.
Now: Leto has appeared in the films ‘Fight Club,’ ‘Requiem for a Dream’ and ‘Panic Room.’ He took a break for a few years in 2009 to focus on his music career as the lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars. He recently returned to acting and appears alongside Matthew McConaughey in the upcoming film ‘The Dallas Buyer’s Club.’
Alicia Witt, Natalie Simon
Then: Melissa Joan Hart and Reese Witherspoon both turned down the role of Natalie Simon, the film’s main protagonist. The part went to Alicia Witt, former star of ‘Cybill.’
Now: Witt has appeared in the films ‘Cecil B. Demented’ and ‘Peep World,’ and had a recurring role on the hit series ‘Friday Night Lights.’ She can be seen next in ‘A Madea Christmas.’
Rebecca Gayheart, Brenda Bates
Then: Rebecca Gayheart played Brenda Bates, whose last name is a nod to Norman Bates in ‘Psycho.’ At the end of the film, when college kids are telling the events of the movie as if it’s a new urban legend, one of them muses, “And I bet Brenda was the girl from the Noxzema commercials.” In real life, Gayheart had previously appeared in Noxzema commercials.
Now: Gayheart appeared in ‘Jawbreaker’ and reprised the role of Brenda Bates for ‘Urband Legends: Final Cut.’ She has guest starred on episodes of ‘Nip/Tuck,’ ‘Ugly Betty’ and ‘The Cleaner,’ though she has not appeared on film or television since 2009. She is married to fellow actor Eric Dane.
Michael Rosenbaum, Parker Riley
Then: Michael Rosenbaum had previously starred on the short-lived sitcom ‘Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane,’ and had a small role in ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.’ Rosenbaum was cast as Parker Riley, the party-minded one of the bunch.
Now: Rosenbaum played Lex Luthor on ‘Smallville,’ appearing in 154 episodes of the series. He had a recurring role on ‘Breaking In,’ and has appeared in the films ‘Catch .44′ and ‘Hit and Run.’
Tara Reid, Sasha Thomas
Then: Sarah Michelle Gellar, star of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘ and ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer,’ was originally cast as college radio DJ Sasha. When she had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts, she was replaced by Tara Reid, a then little-known actress who had previously played a small role in ‘The Big Lebowski.’
Now: Reid actually went on to co-star with Gellar (in a minor capacity, anyway) in ‘Cruel Intentions.’ She appeared in three ‘American Pie’ films, including 2012′s ‘American Reunion,’ and recently starred in the Syfy film ‘Sharknado.’
Joshua Jackson, Damon Brooks
Then: Joshua Jackson played Damon Brooks, whose character [SPOILER] gets offed pretty early on in the film. During his big scene, Jackson goes to crank up his car and you can hear Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Wanna Wait” on the radio — the song was the theme to ‘Dawson’s Creek,’ the show in which Jackson starred.
Now: Jackson starred on the Fox sci-fi series ‘Fringe,’ which ended its run earlier this year. He’s appeared in the films ‘Inescapable’ and ‘Lay the Favorite,’ and has been in a relationship with actress Diane Kruger since 2006.
Loretta Devine, Reese Wilson
Then: Loretta Devine, star of ‘Waiting to Exhale’ and ‘The Preacher’s Wife,’ played school security guard Reese Wilson.
Now: Devine had recurring roles on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and the Lifetime series ‘The Client List.’ She has appeared in the Tyler Perry films ‘Madea’s Big Happy Family’ and ‘For Colored Girls,’ and lends her voice talents to the animated series ‘Doc McStuffins.’
Robert Englund, Professor Wexler
Then: Robert Englund, famous for portraying razor-gloved murderer Freddy Krueger, played Professor Wexler. When the students enter his office, you can briefly see a Freddy Krueger puppet.
Now: Englund played Freddy Krueger eight times, including one more time after ‘Urban Legend,’ in the 2003 film ‘Freddy vs. Jason.’ He recently guest starred on ‘Criminal Minds’ and ‘Workaholics,’ and appeared in the direct-to-DVD sequel ‘Lake Placid: The Final Chapter.’
Danielle Harris, Tosh Guaneri
Then: Danielle Harris was no stranger to the horror genre. As a kid, she played Jamie Lloyd in ‘Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers’ and ‘Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers.’ In ‘Urban Legend,’ she played Tosh, Natalie’s goth roommate.
Now: Harris can’t stay away from horror, and has appeared in both of Rob Zombie’s ‘Halloween’ films, ‘Hatchet II’ and ‘Hatchet III,’ and ‘Stake Land.’ She can be seen next in ‘See No Evil 2′ and ‘Night of the Living Dead: Origins 3D.’
Natasha Gregson Wagner, Michelle Mancini
Then: Natasha Gregson Wagner played Michelle Mancini, whose character gets killed in the opening scene, while memorably listening to Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Her character’s last name is a nod to Don Mancini, who wrote the ‘Child’s Play’ films; Gregson shares a scene with Brad Dourif, the voice of Chucky in the ‘Child’s Play’ films.
Now: Wagner has appeared in the films ‘Stranger Than Fiction,’ ‘High Fidelity’ and ‘Wonderland.’ Though she shared no scenes with Jared Leto in ‘Urban Legend,’ she went on to appear with him in the 2003 film ‘Sol Goode.’ Wagner has guest starred on ‘House’ and ‘The Closer,’ but has not made a film or television appearance since 2011. She is in a relationship with former ’7th Heaven’ star Barry Watson.
Brad Dourif, Michael McDonnell
Then: Brad Dourif had an uncredited role as Michael McDonnell, the gas station attendant whom Michelle thinks is trying to attack her, but he’s really trying to warn her of the killer in the back seat of her car. Dourif’s character has a stutter, just like his character Billy in the classic film ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.’
Now: Dourif has been the voice of Chucky in all six ‘Child’s Play’ movies, including the recent reboot, ‘Curse of Chucky.’ He reunited with Joshua Jackson for an episode of ‘Fringe,’ and with Michael Rosenbaum in ‘Catch .44.’ He didn’t share any scenes with Danielle Harris in ‘Urban Legend,’ but he went on to play her father in Rob Zombie’s ‘Halloween’ films.