See the Cast of ‘Wild at Heart’ Then and Now
Released in 1990, David Lynch’s ‘Wild at Heart’ stars Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern as Sailor and Lula, a young and free-spirited North Carolina couple on the run from Lula’s overbearing mother, who has hired various hitmen to murder Sailor. Lynch’s bizarre road-trip romance was inspired by ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and Elvis Presley, and received incredibly mixed reviews from both critics and audiences alike, as Lynch’s films often do. Twenty-three years later, we revisit the cast of this wild ride and see what they’re up to now.
Nicolas Cage, Sailor Ripley
Then: Nicolas Cage played Sailor Ripley, a romantic outlaw-type character obsessed with and inspired by Elvis Presley. The snakeskin jacket Sailor wears in the film is Cage’s own, and an ode to Marlon Brando.
Now: Cage is known for playing wild characters in films like ‘Face/Off,’ ‘The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans,’ ‘Kick-Ass’ and the ‘Ghost Rider’ series, though he says he won’t be appearing in future installments of the latter. More recently, he’s appeared in ‘Stolen’ and lent his voice to ‘The Croods.’ He can be seen next in the David Gordon Green indie flick ‘Joe.’
Laura Dern, Lula Pace Fortune
Then: Laura Dern played Lula Pace Fortune, a character inspired in part by Marilyn Monroe. Dern previously appeared in Lynch’s ‘Blue Velvet,’ and he immediately thought of her for the role of the Southern-fried, gum-chewing, hyper-sexual counterpart to Sailor.
Now: Dern, who is the daughter of actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd, has also appeared in the films ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘The Master.’ She reunited with Lynch for ‘Inland Empire,’ and starred in the recently canceled series ‘Enlightened.’ She can be seen next in the adaptations of the bestseller ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ and ‘Wild.’
Diane Ladd, Marietta Fortune
Then: Diane Ladd, star of ‘Chinatown’ and ‘Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,’ played Lula’s overbearing mother, who gets the mob involved, hoping to have Sailor killed to keep her daughter under her watchful eye. Ladd is Dern’s mother in real life.
Now: Ladd went on to star with her daughter again in three more films: 1991′s ‘Rambling Rose,’ Alexander Payne’s 1996 film ‘Citizen Ruth,’ and David Lynch’s ‘Inland Empire’ in 2006. She also appeared in ‘Enlightened,’ starring her daughter, and her last appearance was in ‘Grave Secrets,’ the film that led to a Nickelodeon TV series adaptation of the ‘Deadtime Stories’ children’s books.
Harry Dean Stanton, Johnnie Farragut
Then: Harry Dean Stanton played Johnnie Farragut, a private detective hired by Marietta to keep tabs on Sailor — he’s also Marietta’s lover, and easily manipulated.
Now: Stanton has an incredible number of film credits to his name, and went on to appear with Laura Dern’s father, Bruce Dern, in the HBO series ‘Big Love.’ Recently, he appeared in ‘The Avengers,’ ‘Seven Psychopaths’ and ‘The Last Stand.’ The life of the actor and musician is recounted in the recent documentary ‘Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction.’
Willem Dafoe, Bobby Peru
Then: Willem Dafoe, star of ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ and ‘Born on the Fourth of July,’ played Bobby Peru, a man hired by the enigmatic Mr. Reindeer to kill Sailor.
Now: Dafoe is fond of collaborating with familiar names and faces — he has starred in several films for Lars von Trier, including ‘Antichrist’ and the upcoming ‘Nymphomaniac.’ He lent his voice to Wes Anderson’s ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox,’ and reunites with Anderson for the upcoming ‘Grand Budapest Hotel.’ He can also be seen in the upcoming young-adult adaptation ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ which sees him reuniting with ‘Wild at Heart’ co-star Laura Dern.
Grace Zabriskie, Juana Durango
Then: Grace Zabriskie, who starred on Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’ television series, played Juana Durango, a criminal who works for Mr. Reindeer.
Now: Zabriskie also went on to star with Harry Dean Stanton and Bruce Dern on the HBO series ‘Big Love.’ She reunited with Nicolas Cage for ‘Gone in 60 Seconds,’ and with Laura Dern for ‘Inland Empire,’ and can be seen next in the upcoming film ‘Wrong Cops.’
Isabella Rossellini, Perdita Durango
Then: Isabella Rossellini played Perdita, daughter of Juana and Sailor’s ex-partner, who now works for Bobby Peru. Rossellini previously appeared in Lynch’s ‘Blue Velvet,’ and was in a relationship with the director at the time.
Now: Rossellini went on to star in films like ‘Death Becomes Her’ and ‘Roger Dodger.’ She has her own series on Sundance called ‘Green Porno,’ in which she explores the mating habits of various species, and has guest starred on ’30 Rock,’ ‘Treme’ and ‘The Blacklist.’