See the Cast of ‘The Rocketeer’ Then and Now
Last week, rumors began to swirl that Disney was going to reboot ‘The Rocketeer.’ The movie, which was based on the graphic novel by Dave Stevens, was somewhat of a flop when it came out in 1991. But the tale of a handsome 1930s era test pilot (Billy Campbell) who uses a rocket suit to fight Nazis and mobsters has become somewhat of a cult classic over the years.
Part of the problem with the movie was that its two leads — Campbell and Jennifer Connelly — weren’t particularly well known at the time. However both have had long, successful careers since ‘The Rocketeer’ didn’t quite take off. See what the two of them — and the rest of the original ’Rocketeer’ cast — is up to these days below.
Billy Campbell as Cliff Secord/The Rocketeer
Then: Billy Campbell had to overcome his fear of flying to play lead Cliff Secord in ‘The Rocketeer.’ It was the first major film role for the then 31-year old, who had been previously known for playing the recurring character Luke Fuller on ‘Dynasty.’
Now: Campbell was Jennifer Lopez’s abusive husband in the 2002 film ’Enough’ but, other than that, all of his biggest roles since ‘The Rocketeer’ have been on the small screen. The 52-year-old won a People’s Choice award for his portrayal of divorced dad Rick Sammler on ABC’s ‘Once And Again’ and he most recently played embattled mayoral candidate Darren Richmond on ‘The Killing.’ Next year Campbell will star as Abraham Lincoln in the National Geographic TV movie ‘Killing Lincoln.’
Jennifer Connelly as Jenny Blake
Then: Audiences first saw Connelly as a 13-year-old in the gangster epic ‘Once Upon A Time in America’ and then two years later as the lead in the fantasy film ’Labyrinth.’ The brunette beauty scored her first major role as an adult as the whip smart Jenny Blake in ‘The Rocketeer.’
Now: Connelly’s career actually slowed post-’Rocketeer,’ but it started to pick up again in the late-90s with supporting roles in films like ‘Inventing the Abbots’ and ‘Dark City.’ The actress entered another level of stardom in 2001 with a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in ‘A Beautiful Mind.’ More recently, she appeared in the 2011 comedy ‘The Dilemma,’ and she will star later this year in ‘The Writer.’ Connelly is married to fellow actor Paul Bettany, whom she met on the set of ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ and the couple had their second child, Agnes Lark, in May of 2011.
Alan Arkin as A. “Peevy” Peabody
Then: Arkin played mechanic “Peevy” Peabody in ’The Rocketeer.’ The veteran actor’s film career started in 1966 when he was nominated for an Academy Award for ‘The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming,’ making him only one of six actors to receive an Oscar nomination for his first movie. Three years later he played would what long be his signature role as Yossarian in ‘Catch-22.’
Now: Arkin finally did snag his Oscar in 2007 for his supporting role in ‘Little Miss Sunshine.’ The 78-year-old with the deadpan voice continues to stay busy, appearing in ‘The Muppets’ and ‘The Change-Up’ in 2011. Arkin has five movies coming out over the next two years, including roles in the much-anticipated comedies ’Stand Up Guys’ and ’The Incredible Bert Wonderstone.’
Timothy Dalton as Neville Sinclair
Then: Arguably the biggest star among the cast at the time of ‘The Rocketeer’s’ release, Dalton played Hollywood idol and secret Nazi agent Neville Sinclair in ‘The Rocketeer.’ The evil turn was quite a departure for Dalton, who was just coming off a successful two movie run as James Bond in ‘License To Kill’ and ‘The Living Daylights.’ The Welsh-born actor shocked Hollywood in 1994 by walking away from the iconic role of 007, which was then taken over by Pierce Brosnan.
Now: These days, Dalton may well be more famous for his voice than for his swashbuckling good looks, as his biggest movie role of the last several years was as Mr. Pricklepants in ‘Toy Story 3.’ The 68-year-old also has had recent stints as Alexi Volkoff on ’Chuck’ and Rassilon on ’Dr. Who.’
Terry O’Quinn as Howard Hughes
Then: In ‘The Rocketeer,’ Terry O’Quinn played Howard Hughes. He is one of an impressive list of actors who has played the real life movie mogul and aviation expert, including Tommy Lee Jones, Jason Robards and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Now: O’Quinn became a household name (to geeks at least) as John Locke on ‘Lost.’ Since that series’ controversial ending in 2010, O’Quinn has popped up as a recurring character on ‘Hawaii Five-O’ and will play a mysterious bad guy in the upcoming ABC horror series ’666 Park Avenue.’
Ed Lauter as Fitch
Then: Ed Lauter, who played Fitch in ‘The Rocketeer,’ is one of the ultimate ‘That Guy’ actors. His most famous role is probably as the cruel warden in 1974‘s‘The Longest Yard.’ (Lauter also made a cameo in the 2005 Adam Sandler remake of the prison football comedy.)
Now: You might not recognize Lauter’s name, but you’ve certainly seen his face all over screens big and small throughout the past four decades. He recently played the butler in the 2012 Academy Award winning film ‘The Artist,’ and will be in the Ed Burns movie ‘The Fitzgerald Family Christmas,’ which is scheduled for release later this year.
Paul Sorvino as Eddie Valentine
Then: Paul Sorvino played mob boss Eddie Valentine in ‘The Rocketeer.’ He was just coming off of a similar, but more heralded, turn as mob boss Paul Cicero in ‘Goodfellas.’
Now: While Sorvino continues to play the occasional mob boss, more recent roles include a mayor in the campy TV movie ‘Jersey Shore Shark Attack’ and God Himself in the horror musical ‘The Devil’s Carnival.’ The 73-year-old also runs Paul Sorvino’s Foods — which makes pasta sauces, of course — and is the father of Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino.