School Ties was a big a deal for me growing up. It was like a movie equivalent of a 1990’s issue of Tiger Beat magazine. Plus, as a fan of all things preppy: monograms, plaid, pearls, stripes, blazers, and boys, this was the best movie ever made according to my 12-year-old self. It also happens to be the first credited film appearance of arguably the greatest bromance of all time – Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. They were both featured as extras in Field of Dreams, but School Ties is when their careers along with Chris O’Donnell’s and Brendan Fraser’s, started to gain momentum. I thought it would be fun to see what these guys have been up to since the film’s release in 1992.
Brendan had a great year in 1992. In addition to School Ties, he also appeared in the cult classic, Encino Man with Pauly Shore. In the years that followed he starred in such films as: With Honors, Disney’s George of the Jungle, and in all three of the films in The Mummy franchise. He earned rave reviews for his performance in 1998’s Gods and Monsters where he got to work with the great Ian McKellan and Lynn Redgrave, as well as in 2002 for his performance as Alden Pyle in The Quiet American opposite Michael Caine. Brendan was also a part of the outstanding acting ensemble of Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2006. He was last seen on The History Channel mini-series, Texas Rising, and has a film coming out this year, Behind the Curtain of Night, which is loosely based on the director’s two near-death experiences.
Look at the face?! Baby Matt Damon! I think most people know all about Matt Damon, so I’ll stick to the bullet points of his career. In 1996, he got the attention of both the critics and audiences alike for holding his own as the heroin addicted former soldier opposite Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan in Courage Under Fire. Then came 1997’s indie favorite, Good Will Hunting, which he co-wrote and starred with Ben Affleck, and went on to win the Oscar for Best Screenplay. Over the past two decades Matt has worked with legendary directors including, Stephen Spielberg in Saving Private Ryan, Anthony Minghella in The Talented Mr. Ripley, Clint Eastwood in Invictus, Martin Scorcese in The Departed, The Coen Brothers in True Grit, and most recently with Ridley Scott in The Martian, in which Matt won the Golden Globe and earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination. He has also had enormous success in the re-boot of the Ocean’s Eleven and Bourne franchises. Both Matt and Ben have given back with their reality series, Project Greenlight, where they mentor young filmmakers and get their films made. Matt will reprise his role as Jason Bourne this summer and also serve as a producer on the film. Another one of his producing projects, Kenneth Lonergan’s, Manchester by the Sea, was a breakout hit at Sundance and stars good friend, Casey Affleck, Kyle Chandler, and Michelle Williams. He might have to make room on his mantle come next awards season.
Chris O’Donnell is my favorite of all the School Ties boys, and my love for him is eternal. The next year Chris went on to star opposite Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman, and earned his first Golden Globe nomination. In the next few years, he starred in several films including: a remake of The Three Musketeers with Kiefer Sutherland and Charlie Sheen, Mad Love with Drew Barrymore, In Love and War with Sandra Bullock, and The Bachelor with Renee Zellweger, which he also produced. Then there’s my personal favorite, Circle of Friends, where he plays an Irish rugby playing college boy and the love interest of the awkward, dowdy girl played by Minnie Driver. He also played Robin in two of the Batman franchise films. In addition, Chris had the opportunity to star in one of Robert Altman’s last films, Cookie’s Fortune, alongside Julianne Moore and Glenn Close. While pursuing acting full-time, he somehow managed to graduate from Boston College in 1995 with a degree in Marketing. After he got married in 1997, he scaled his career back to focus on raising his family. He made his Broadway debut in 2002 in Arthur Miller’s, The Man Who Had All the Luck, and made some guest appearances on TV in The Practice, Two and a Half Men, and Grey’s Anatomy. Chris went back to acting full-time in 2009 and is now in his seventh season on NCIS: LA.
While Ben has had a solid acting career, in the last decade he has proven himself to be an accomplished director as well. Following School Ties, Ben appeared in Dazed and Confused, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and then of course, Good Will Hunting, where he and Matt won the Oscar for Best Screenplay. In 1998, he starred in the huge blockbuster, Armageddon and the Oscar winner for Best Picture, Shakespeare in Love. In 2007, he directed his first feature, Gone Baby Gone, an adaptation of a Dennis Lehane novel starring his brother, Casey Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Michelle Monaghan, Ed Harris, and Amy Ryan. In 2010’s The Town, Ben directed, co-wrote, and starred as a career criminal who is trying to evade capture for a series of bank robberies while falling in love with his hostage from a previous heist. Two years later came Argo, which won 3 Oscars including Best Picture. In 2014, we he played the philandering husband, Nick Dunne in David Fincher’s, Gone Girl to perfection. He is signed on to play Bruce Wayne/Batman in the re-boot of the franchise until 2019. His next project, Live By Night, should be released this year, and again is an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel about organized crime in the Prohibition era. He will also be starring in The Accountant with Anna Kendrick and J.K. Simmons this Fall, where he plays a math genius just like Will Hunting, except he uses his smarts for working with criminals instead of scholarly pursuits.
I have loved Randall since he played Molly Ringwald’s boyfriend and later husband in For Keeps. Since School Ties, he’s been working steadily. He appeared in Robert Altman’s, The Player, Nicole Holofcener’s first feature, Walking and Talking, James L. Brook’s, As Good As it Gets, X-Men: First Class, and Kick Ass. Randall appeared on TV recently in NBC’s Allegiance, Castle, and CSI: Miami. In 2014, he directed, wrote, produced, and starred in the film, 37, based on a true story about a guitarist who secretly plans to commit suicide when he turns 37. Randall has a few movies coming out soon, including: Grandmothers Murder Club with Pam Grier and Judge Reinhold, DriverX with Brooklyn 99’s, Melissa Fumero and The Office’s Oscar Nunez, and Who Gets the Dog? with Alicia Silverstone and Ryan Kwanten. Can’t wait to see some more Randall on the big screen!
After School Ties, Cole, too, has worked consistently over the last 20 years. He appeared in such films as: Dazed and Confused with his fellow School Ties co-stars, Ben Affleck and Anthony Rapp, and again with Matt and Ben for Good Will Hunting in 1997. He was featured in the action films, 2 Fast 2 Furious and Olympus Has Fallen, as well as in Joel Schumacher’s Vietnam war drama, Tigerland, and in White Oleander with Michelle Pfeiffer and Renee Zellweger. Cole had a recurring role on ER and appeared on NBC’s Chase, and most recently in Lifetime’s The Lizzie Borden Chronicles and the DirectTV’s series, Rogue.
Although he plays such a jerk in this film, I will forever love him for playing Mark Cohen in the Original Broadway Cast of Rent. Anthony went on to star in the film version and reprised his role in the Broadway revival in 2007 and on the National Tour in 2009. He also appeared on Broadway in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and most recently in If/Then with Rent co-star, Idina Menzel. He recorded a solo album, Look Around, and wrote a memoir, Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the musical Rent. Anthony was the co-creator of the first-ever BroadwayCon this past January, which allowed theater lovers the opportunity to interact with Broadway royalty. He appeared in such films as: Dazed and Confused, Six Degrees of Separation, Twister, and A Beautiful Mind, and on TV in Cinemax’s, The Knick and Law & Order: SVU. Speaking of Law & Order, the School Ties screenplay was written by Law & Order creator and writer, Dick Wolf. He has two films that should be released this year, one of which is Modern Love, a drama starring Jonathan Bennett and Alyson Hannigan.
Andrew, who played the charismatic, but emotionally fragile Mack McGivern, was featured in the film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and was in 1997’s Cost of Living with Edie Falco. On TV, he was featured on A Different World and ABC’s Life’s Work that starred Lisa Ann Walter. His last project, Nothing, was the 2003 fantasy comedy that he wrote, produced and starred in. Hopefully that’s not the last we see from Andrew. I’m hoping for a comeback!
Hope you enjoyed catching up with these guys! You can watch School Ties on EPIX and EPIX.com