In 1988, some serious movie magic brought cartoons to life in a way that awed audiences, critics and the Academy Awards. In 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit,' daring director Robert Zemeckis seamlessly blended 2D hand-drawn cartoon characters into a live action film, where they interacted with physical props as well as some incredibly game performers!
Not only did the filmmakers convince Disney and Warner Bros to lend them their characters to flesh out Roger Rabbit's toon-filled world, but also they brought together a stupendous selection of actors and voice artists to create their cast. Four Oscars and 25 years later, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' is about to get a second life on Blu-ray. So we decided it was time to catch up with this colorful cast, then and now.
Eddie Valiant, Bob Hoskins
Then: Prior to playing the Toon-loathing private detective with a major chip on his shoulder, Hoskins had appeared in such noteworthy films as 'Pink Floyd's The Wall,' Francis Ford Coppola's 'The Cotton Club,' Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil' and the Neil Jordan drama 'Mona Lisa,' which earned Hoskins his first and only Oscar nomination.
Now: 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' scored him a Golden Globe nod, and proved to be the first in a string of family-friendly movies for Hoskins. Children of the '90s remember him fondly from 'Hook' and 'Super Mario Bros.' However, he continued to win acclaim in more serious fare, like the bubbly biopic 'Mrs. Henderson Presents,' and the autumn years drama 'Last Orders.' (He was also seen as one of the seven dwarves in last year's 'Snow White and the Huntsman.') Sadly it was his last major role as Hoskins recently announced his retirement from acting after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
Roger Rabbit, Charles Fleischer
Then: An established character actor, Fleischer not only lent his voice to Roger Rabbit, but also to Benny the Cab and two of the villainous weasels from Judge Doom's Toon Patrol. Fun fact: During production, Fleischer chose to be physically on set—though off-camera—so that he could better interact with his scene partner, Bob Hoskins. Often he would wear a makeshift Roger Rabbit suit to help him stay in character.
Now: He continues to balance work as an actor and voice artist. In 2007, he had a small but creepy role in the chilling true-crime drama 'Zodiac,' and in 2011 he gave voice to Elbows in the critically heralded animated adventure 'Rango.' Roger Rabbit remains his best-known role, and he continues to reprise the part whenever the need arises for videos and shorts.
Jessica Rabbit, Kathleen Turner
Then: With films to her credit like the action-comedy 'Romancing the Stone,' the crime drama 'Prizzi's Honor' and the time-travel dramedy 'Peggy Sue Got Married,' Turner was already a star when she lent her voice to this vivid vixen. Her signature husky tone was just what the animators needed to bring to life their scintillating chanteuse, whose not bad, just drawn that way.
Now: Jessica Rabbit marked Turner's first turn in an animated effort, but not her last. While she continued on as a successful and sharply funny actress, she also went on to lend her trademark tone to episodes of 'The Simpsons' and 'King of the Hill' as well as the horror comedy 'Monster House.' Most recently, she starred in the social issues comedy 'The Perfect Family.'
Dolores, Joanna Cassidy
Then: Before she played Eddie's no-nonsense girlfriend, Cassidy won her first major role in Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner,' where she portrayed the replicant stripper Zhora.
Now: Appearing in over 140 film and television productions over the course of a career that has already spanned more than 40 years, she has proven to be one of our most prolific actors. Memorably, Cassidy played Christina Applegate's boss in the hit '90s comedy 'Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead' and Brenda's mom on 'Six Feet Under.' More recently, she snagged recurring roles on the Jason Priestley comedy series 'Call Me Fitz' and the crime drama 'Body of Proof.'
Judge Doom, Christopher Lloyd
Then: In the early 1980s, Lloyd made the leap from television stardom ('Taxi') to film fame by signing on to a string of kooky comedies like 'The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension,' 'Clue' and 'Back to the Future.'
Now: Like Hoskins, Lloyd engrained himself into the childhoods of kids across the country by starring in a slew of family-friendly features like 'The Addams Family,' 'Angels in the Outfield,' 'Dennis the Menace,' and the'Back to the Future' series. Currently in his seventies, he's still going strong, appearing in scads of projects the past few years, including the creature feature 'Piranha 3DD,' and most recently on the charming sitcom 'Raising Hope.'
Smart Ass, David L. Lander
Then: When he voiced the scowling ringleader of the bullying Toon Squad, Lander had already cemented his best known character, that of Andrew 'Squiggy' Squiggman from the popular and long-running sitcom 'Laverne & Shirley.'
Now: In 1992, he reunited with 'Laverne & Shirley' star Penny Marshall, taking on a small cameo role in the baseball comedy she helmed, 'A League of Their Own.' After that Lander worked predominantly in television, dividing his time as an actor and voice artist. His last credited performance was in 2009, when he played the recurring role of Doc Boy on 'The Garfield Show.'
Baby Herman, Lou Hirsch
Then: This Brooklyn-born character actor made his film debut in 1983 with a small part in 'Superman III.' 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' marked his first time playing an animated character.
Now: He has had a successful career working most often in British television, appearing on shows like the fantasy-fueled sitcom 'My Hero,' and the sci-fi series 'The Tomorrow People.' In 2011, he earned a recurring role on the acclaimed Showtime sitcom 'Episodes,' but Hirsch is still best known for lending his growling voice to the foul-mouthed toddler with a grown man's vices.
Wheezy, June Foray
Then: In 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,' Foray not only played the chain-smoking weasel pictured above, but also the love-crazed Jessica Rabbit doppelganger Lena Hyena. By 1988, she had more than 40 years experience as a voice artist, having gotten her start back in the 1940s in cartoon shorts. Her first feature role was the cruel cat named Lucifer in Disney's 'Cinderella.' Foray has forged an insanely impressive career, voicing such beloved characters as Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Natasha Fatale from 'The Bullwinkle Show,' Jokey Smurf from 'The Smurfs' and Cindy Lou Who of 'The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.'
Now: From 'DuckTales,' to 'The Simpsons,' 'Garfield and Friends' and 'The Powerpuff Girls,' Foray has been one of the voices behind some of your favorite cartoons for decades. She is reportedly 95-years-old and still working, most often reprising the role of Granny of Sylvester and Tweety fame. It's a part she's been playing and perfecting since the 1950s.
Stupid, Fred Newman
Then: Newman's career in movies began in 1984's 'Gremlins,' where he lent growls to the titular creatures. His skill for voices as well as creating sound effects made him a welcomed part of the radio show 'A Prairie Home Companion.' In 1980, he released an instructional book on his signature skill set called 'MouthSounds.'
Now: He has worked as an actor, writer, and composer. From 1989-1993 he hosted 'The All New Mickey Mouse Club,' which then boasted cast members like J.C. Chasez and Keri Russell. But animation enthusiasts probably know him best as the oft-honking voice of Skeeter Valentine on the Nickelodeon cartoon 'Doug.' (Fun fact: Newman also played Porkchop and Bud Dink on the series.) Find out more about Newman on his website, and "put more zip in your lip."
Raoul, Joel Silver
Then: He's not a director, but he plays one in 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' By the late 1980s, Silver was a producer who had a string of noteworthy action movies to his credit, including 'The Warriors,' 'Lethal Weapon,' 'Predator' and 'Die Hard.' The frustrated helmer of Roger's latest cartoon marks one of only four acting roles Silver has ever taken.
Now: Aside from the three wildly popular franchises already mentioned, Silver has gone on to produce 'The Matrix' trilogy and Guy Ritchie's 'Sherlock Holmes' movies. His most recent release was the Sylvester Stallone thriller 'Bullet to the Head,' which is the first of four films Silver's set to unveil this year.