Brendan Fraser is finally back in the spotlight. The Mummy star became an internet idol as fans yearned for years to see him back on screen, and they’re getting their wish with The Whale. Fraser was one of many up-and-coming actors introduced to many in the 1992 film School Ties. Looking back, it’s a real who’s who of actors all at the starting gate. Let’s learn where they ended up.
School Ties is an ensemble sports and prep school movie. Among a cast of future Tony and Academy Award winners, Fraser won the lead role of David Greene. He only had a few credits to his name at the time, including one opposite River Phoenix in Dogfight. Thanks to films like Airheads and George of the Jungle, he never strayed far from the spotlight. His run on Scrubs is among the best from any guest star in the series’ history.
A combination of depression, injury, and blacklisting caused his career to decline in the 2010s. Luckily, he’s back and poised for a monumental run.
Matt Damon And Ben Affleck
The narrative of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s rise increasingly begins with Good Will Hunting. The best friends from Massachusetts became some of the youngest ever to win an Academy Award, but it was hardly the start of either’s careers. Both had supporting roles in School Ties.
For Damon, it was his fourth time on the big screen. His first appearance came in the Julia Roberts classic Mystic Pizza. A few years later, he starred opposite Denzel Washington in Courage Under Fire and had a bit role in the Kevin Smith film Chasing Amy.
Affleck starred in that controversial film as well. Like Damon, he was kicking around Hollywood for years in bit roles. You may have seen him in the background of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Dazed and Confused. After Good Will Hunting, their careers took fascinating paths that are very well known, but it’s fun to keep in mind that in 1992, Fraser was the hotter commodity.
Of all the stars of School Ties, it was Chris O’Donnell who really broke through first. He auditioned alongside many castmates for the hottest role in town: the co-star beside Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman. O’Donnell won, and that meant he went to the Academy Awards and was nominated for a Golden Globe.
The rest of O’Donnell’s career wasn’t quite as successful from a critical standpoint, but it’s been lucrative as all get out. He was Robin in Batman Forever and its much-maligned sequel Batman & Robin. In 2009, he scored about as cushy a job as you can in Hollywood: the star of NCIS: Los Angeles. He stars in the series to this day. O’Donnell may not have Affleck’s Oscars, but he’s got a career that 98 percent of Hollywood would kill for.
Unlike many of his castmates, Anthony Rapp was something of a known commodity. He’d already been on Broadway for several years, earning a Drama Desk nomination for Precious Sons in 1986. He later popped up alongside Affleck in Dazed and Confused before he got his true break in the eternally important 1996 musical Rent.
Rapp remains closely associated with Rent, but he’s also earned another sought-after role. Rapp currently stars in Star Trek: Discovery as Lieutenant Commander Paul Stamets. Unfortunately, his career is often overshadowed by being the man who accused Kevin Spacey of sexual assault. Like all survivors, he deserves to be mentioned without the name of his alleged abuser tailing him.
Hey, another Dazed & Confused cast member! Cole Hauser was yet another up-and-coming actor in 1992. Damon and Affleck got him a gig in Good Will Hunting, and chances are you’ve seen him in something over the years. His filmography is long, including 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tigerland to name only a few. Today, Hauser stars in one of the biggest hits of the past few years, Yellowstone.
It’s really interesting digging through these folks’ filmographies to see how every male actor of a certain age in early 1990s Los Angeles was trying for the same parts. Batinkoff wasn’t in Dazed & Confused, but he did appear in Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. Unlike Affleck, he actually got a line.
Batinkoff later appeared in As Good As It Gets before moving more into television and made-for-TV movies. He played George Washington in a few episodes of Legends of Tomorrow and just did an episode of NCIS. That’s a solid working career right there.
Amy Locane was the center of male attention in School Ties. That same year, she appeared in the first season of Melrose Place before departing after just 13 episodes. Not a great call. She and Fraser reunited in Airheads, and she reunited with Affleck in Going All the Way.
Sadly, Locane’s better known for her legal troubles than her acting career. A 2010 DUI caused the death of Helen Seeman. Locane was convicted of vehicular homicide. She spent a few years in prison before getting released, but New Jersey felt her punishment was not enough. She’s now spent the last decade of her life either behind bars, in court, or preparing for one of them. She’s not yet eligible for parole.