Transplanting Jane Austen's classic novel 'Emma' to high school? As if!
It seemed like a recipe for disaster, but instead a new classic (and a trend in knee-high socks and plaid ensembles) was born. It's been 15 years since 'Clueless' debuted, but it's probably still playing on cable every day of the week and still endlessly quoted. Today's teen comedies can only hope to be half as charming or clever or as well remembered 15 years from now.
What has the cast been doing since then? Some are bigger than ever and some ... let's just say we've been seeing them only sporadically. Keep reading to see what they look like now and who posed for Playboy, who's a part-time drummer and who now sells tacos for a living.
Played: Cher Horowitz
Then: Alicia Silverstone had just a handful of credits to her name (like the stalkerette in 1993's 'The Crush' and the sexy girl in several Aerosmith videos) when she landed the role of her life: fashion-obsessed Beverly HIlls babe Cher Horowitz, who had a penchant for makeovers and matchmaking. Alicia became Hollywood's It Girl, and soon we were all echoing Cher's "As if!" catchphrase. Her next big gig seemed equally charmed: Batgirl in 'Batman and Robin.' Too bad it was a colossal dud that doomed the franchise and that, due to a few extra pounds, she was quickly dubbed "Fatgirl." She started her own production company, but films like 'Excess Baggage' didn't get much mileage.
Now: The 2003 sitcom 'Miss Match' from 'Sex and the City' co-creator Darren Star was supposed to mark Silverstone's triumphant return, but the show lasted only 18 episodes. She still acts (recent credits include 'Beauty Shop'), but she's more known these days as "the Sexiest Vegetarian Alive" (as she was voted in 2004) and animal activist. Miss Geist would be so proud! Her book 'The Kind Diet' was published in 2009. She has two films set for a 2010 release, including 'Homework,' in which she returns to high school, but this time as a teacher. She's also reteaming (hurrah) with 'Clueless' director Amy Heckerling for the upcoming comedy 'Vamps.'
Then: Thanks to 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High,' Heckerling was hailed as one of the industry's few successful female directors, but bombed with the retro 'Johnny Dangerously.' She was on top again with two highly successful but critically panned 'Look Who's Talking' films. Another smart, original director seemed to have been swallowed up by the Hollywood system, until she decided to take Jane Austen's matchmaking Emma and put her in a Beverly Hills high school. Result: An even bigger hit and one that, like, totally impacted pop culture with its (for then) unusually ubiquitous use of cell phones and ample use of the word "Whatever!"
Now: Lightning hasn't struck three times for Heckerling. A 2000 comedy 'Loser' with Jason Biggs went nowhere, and her latest film, 'I Could Never Be Your Woman' with Michelle Pfeiffer and Paul Rudd, wasn't even released in the U.S. But she's looking to bounce back with a vampire parody called, appropriately, enough, 'Vamps,' starring none other than Alicia Silverstone.
Played: Dionne "Dee" Davenport
Then: 'Clueless' is still her most memorable film, although, unlike Alicia Silverstone, she never got a shot at the big time, other than turns opposite Damon Wayans in 'Mo Money' and Mark Wahlberg in 'Renaissance Man.' When 'Clueless' was turned into a TV series in 1996, she reprised her role as Cher's best friend for the three-season run. (Rachel Blanchard, who went on to play Roxanne on '7th Heaven,' took over the Cher role.)
Now: She reteamed with Heckerling in 2007 for 'I Could Never Be Your Woman' and made 40 look damn good when she posed for Playboy in 2006. She has her own line of lingerie, called Letters of Marque, that Britney Spears and Pink have worn. Besides starring in the Kanye West video 'All Falls Down,' she was seen on the 2008 reality series 'Celebrity Circus,' where she placed second despite a broken rib. Earlier this year, she announced she'd be starring in her own reality show on VH1.
Played: Tai Frasier
Then: Pre-'Clueless,' Brittany starred on the sitcom 'Drexell's Class' and had recurring roles on 'Party of Five' and other shows. Although we'll never forget fashion-challenged newbie Tai, whom Cher takes under her wing for a head-to-toe makeover, her career didn't really hit its stride until a few years later. In the meantime, she was in films like 'Freeway' and 'Bongwater' and had a memorable turn in 1999's 'Girl, Interrupted' as a mental patient who made co-star Angelina Jolie (who nabbed an Oscar) look stable.
Now: By the time Murphy played a jittery inmate with the singsong catchphrase "I'll never tell," in 2001's 'Don't Say a Word,' she was unrecognizable as the gawky, chubby girl from 'Clueless; rumors of anorexia would haunt her until her sudden death in December 2009. Her best run of films was from 2001 to 2003, when she romanced Eminem onscreen and off in '8 Mile' and dated 'Just Married' co-star Ashton Kutcher. When starring vehicles 'Little Black Book' and 'Uptown Girls' fizzled, so did her career. Her last two movies, 'Abandoned' and 'Something Wicked' are scheduled to be released on DVD later this year.
Then: Can you believe 'Clueless' was only his second film? (Fun fact: His debut film was 'Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.') Girls everywhere swooned for Cher's serious ex-stepbrother who slowly realizes there's more to her than just "a ditz with a credit card." He next co-starred in 'Romeo + Juliet,' only this time he wasn't the leading man, but Juliet's unwanted (albeit perfectly charming) suitor. Rudd seemed destined to play second fiddle, as a supporting player in indies like '200 Cigarettes' and 'Wet Hot American Summer.'
Now: Rudd popped back up on our radar in 'Anchorman' and 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin.' After the hit "I Love You, Man," could he be hotter? He's on the August cover of GQ, rumored to star in the remake of 'Oh God' opposite Betty White and reportedly the object of Jennifer Aniston's (his co-star in the upcoming 'Wanderlust)' affection. (Sorry, Jen and everyone else: He's married.) Currently, he's hiding his hotness under a shaggy beard for the film 'My Idiot Brother.' His new film, 'Dinner for Schmucks' with Steve Carell, opens July 30.
Played: Mel Horowitz
Then: The same year he played Cher's gruff lawyer dad, he was also in 'The Usual Suspects,' 'Nixon' and 'To Die For.' Not too shabby. (He went on to play Nixon himself in the 1999 comedy 'Dick.') In the '80s, he was best known for his role as Carla's sleazy ex-husband Nick Tortelli on 'Cheers,' which yielded a short-lived spin-off. Film fans will also remember him as Frances McDormand's hirsute husband in the Coen Bros' noirish first film 'Blood Simple.'
Now: Post-'Clueless', his more memorable roles include Bette Midler's cheating ex in 'The First Wives' Club,' Adrian Monk's long-lost dad and wisecracking lawyer Herb Spivak on 'ER,' not to mention monster fodder in 'Alien Resurrection.' In 2006, Hedaya received the P.T. Barnum Award from Tufts University for "his exceptional work in the field of media and entertainment."
Played: Mr. Hall
Then: His role as the lovably dorky debate teacher whom Cher matches with equally love-starved teacher, Miss Geist, might be his most famous, if he hadn't already etched his way into screen history with his role as the "Inconceivable!" villain Vizzini in 'The Princess Bride.' That and a little voiceover part he did as big, green dinosaur Rex in 'Toy Story.' Fun fact: His screen debut was in 'Manhattan,' as the "homunculus" who inexplicably drives Diane Keaton crazy.
Now: Shawn reprised his role as Mr. Hall in the TV series and did a cameo in Heckerling's 'I Could Never Be Your Woman' as a math teacher. He also revisited Rex in 'Toy Story 2' and '3' and lent his voice talent to 'The Incredibles' and 'Chicken Little.' On the small screen, he popped up on 'Desperate Housewives' as Susan's luckless literary agent and, most recently, as Blair's stepfather Cyrus on 'Gossip Girl.'
Then: Faison was "buggin'' as Dionne's boyfriend, Murray, a pioneer of the "pants on the ground" look and, apparently, the only person in Beverly Hills with gaydar. He and Stacey Dash carried their love-hate relationship onto the TV series spin-off from 1996-1999. He returned to the big screen as Petey Jones in 2000's 'Remember the Titans' and had a recurring role on 'Felicity' as Tracy.
Now: From 2001-2010, Faison played competitive Dr. Chris Turk on 'Scrubs,' who had an even more volatile love life than Murray did. 'Scrubs' is no more, but Faison has filmed a pilot for CBS called 'The Odds,' about a pair of freewheeling Vegas cops. He also co-starred with Mike Epps in the 2009 comedy 'Next Day Air' and has wrapped the sci-fi thriller 'Skyline.'
Then: Did you know that skateboarding dude Travis was an homage to Sean Penn's similarly baked surfer in 'Fast Times'? Our favorite Travis scene: the one where he gives an acceptance speech for having a record number of tardies. Travis didn't show up in the TV series, but Meyer did guest-star once as a different character. He worked steadily in films like 'Prefontaine,' 'Go,' '54' and 'Rat Race,' and starred in the 2000 comedy hit 'Road Trip.' Fun fact: Meyer really did attend high school in Beverly Hills.
Now: His 2001 sitcom 'Inside Schwartz,' in which he starred as a sportscaster whose life plays out as a series of sports highlights, lasted just 11 episodes, but he worked for 10 years (just like Brittany Murphy) on 'King of the Hill' voicing Bobby's best friend Joseph. And he earned an Emmy nomination for his writing on buddy Seth Green's 'Robot Chicken' series, for which he also does voice work. Besides starring as the lasagna-loving cat's harried owner in the two 'Garfield' films, he moonlights as a drummer, backing Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello in his side project Nightwatchmen.
Then: In 1995, Sisto played back-to-back creeps who liked to stalk Alicia Silverstone: the psychotic killer in 'Hideaway' and rich snob Elton in 'Clueless' (who deserts Cher in the dreaded Valley) and then another rich snob in 'White Squall.' In a complete reversal, he took on the title role in the 1999 TV movie 'Jesus.' Fun fact: One of his first gigs was in the Twisted Sister video 'We're Not Gonna Take It.'
Now: He never had darker -- or better -- material to work with than as Brenda (Rachel Griffiths)' bipolar brother Billy on 'Six Feet Under,' who was unhealthily obsessed with her; the twisted Chenoweth family made the Fishers look downright boring by comparison. In 2008, he joined the cast of 'Law & Order' as -- shocker -- a good guy, Detective Cyrus Lupo, until the long-running series' cancellation this year. His next film, 'Sironia,' is due out in 2011.
Played: Miss Geist; co-producer
Then: Cher transforms the sloppy Miss Geist, a fashion ignoramus more concerned with the plight of refugees than with runs in her stockings and lipstick on her teeth, into a surprisingly hot Betty, one who's perfect for fixing up with another lonely heart, Mr. Hall. Caplan's one of Heckerling's favorite actresses: She starred in both the 'Clueless' and 'Fast Times' TV series, and played Kirstie Alley's best friend, Rona in the 'Look Who's Talking" comedies.
Now: Caplan worked again with Heckerling on 'Loser' as Mena Suvari's best friend and as Michelle Pfeiffer's costume designer in 'I Could Never Be Your Woman.' She recently guested on 'Community' and filmed the "darkly romantic horror ensemble mystery" 'Noirland.'
Played: Amber Mariens
Then: She was Cher's even more snobby frenemy, whose every outfit is a fashion crime; resident gay Christian dubs her "Hagsville." Her most famous line is uttered during PE: "My plastic surgeon doesn't want me doing any activities where balls fly at my nose." "Well, there goes your social life," snarks Dionne. Like much of the cast, she segued to the 'Clueless' TV series. She also played Ginger LaMonica on 'Beverly Hills, 90210,' and Morgan on 'Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.'
Now: In the book 'Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul,' she contributed an account of her '90s battle with anorexia that was so severe she suffered a heart attack. She recently appeared on The Disney Channel's 'Sonny With a Chance' and starred in two web series: The WB's 'The Lake' and the title character in NBC.com's 'In Gayle We Trust.'
Played: Christian Stovitz
Then: His role as "total Baldwin" Christian was his first, and he's only acted (we have to say it) sporadically since. But he lives on as the dreamboat that Cher crushes on, not realizing -- despite the Tony Curtis movie marathon -- that "he's a disco-dancing, Oscar Wilde-reading, Streisand-ticket-holding friend of Dorothy," as Murray breaks it to her.
Now: Walker's last film credit was 2005's 'Take Out' about a man who tries to eliminate chain restaurants. He followed that by opening up his own franchise of a chain restaurant: According to Wikipedia, he's owned the Tacone Flavor Grill in Rancho Mirage, California since 2006.