It’s been nearly ten years since the eclectic band of music store employees saved their beloved record shop from being taken over by the Music Town franchise in ‘90s cult classic, Empire Records. Sadly, things haven’t gone their way since: record shops are a thing of the past, there’s this nifty tool called iTunes and God knows what they would have made of the current T-Swift tussle with Spotify. Fancy knowing how many are still haunting HMV? Read on…
Anthony LaPaglia (Joe)
As the loveable, exasperated figure at the centre of the madness, LaPaglia’s Joe was the lone responsible adult amongst a group of teens who were, quite frankly, on the edge of losing it. Originally from Australia, LaPaglia headed for the small screen, winning an Emmy in the early noughties for his performance as Simon Moon in Frasier. Since then, the actor has been most notable for Without a Trace, leaving his mark as Jack Malone, the head of the FBI’s fictional NYC-based Missing Person’s Unit, and walking away from Tarantino’s Django Unchained, complaining that the production was in disarray.
Liv Tyler (Corey)
Arguably one of the most successful of the Empire Records alumni, the film helped to cement Tyler’s reputation as a ‘90s screen queen. The daughter of rock star Steven Tyler, she capped a successful decade with blockbuster Armageddon opposite Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck. Tyler then made another career cash-in when she signed on to play elf maiden Arwen in the mega hit Lord of the Rings trilogy. After a series of unremarkable films, Tyler has found her way to television to star in HBO’s adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s book The Leftovers.
Renee Zellweger (Gia)
With Empire Records opening to only moderate success, it wasn’t until 1996’s Jerry Maguire that Zellweger had America at hello. Unlike Tyler, it was in the ‘00s that Zellweger really hit her stride, sidling across the Atlantic to play Helen Fielding’s beloved British ditz Bridget Jones while also managing to scoop up an Oscar, several Golden Globes and a few SAG awards for a series of excellent US roles. After an exhaustive decade of work, including a musical (Chicago), a Civil War epic (Cold Mountain) and an animated movie about a shark (Shark Tale!), Zellweger took a four-year pause. She recently caused a ruckus in Hollywood by debuting a remarkably different look at the Elle Magazine awards, and by hinting towards a new Bridget Jones film – here’s hoping!
Rory Cochrane (Lucas)
Though Lucas may not have been the shiniest EP in the record cabinet, Cochrane has thankfully played it smart, following Empire Records with two decades’ worth of solid, though largely unnoticed, work. Having kicked off his career playing Ron Slater opposite Ben Affleck in Dazed and Confused, Cochrane has largely flown under the radar. However, his 2012 role as Lee Schatz in the acclaimed Argo saw Cochrane finally gain recognition with a series of nominations alongside his fellow cast members. In keeping with his career trend, Cochrane’s next project is Black Mass with Benedict Cumberbatch, about the infamous criminal-turned-informant Whitey Bugler. How about a romantic comedy sometime, eh Cochrane?
Johnny Whitworth (A.J.)
Despite a growing career in the early nineties, Whitworth decided to quit acting after Empire Records. He thankfully returned to the big screen, however, in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Rainmaker in 1997. Having lusted after Liv Tyler on-screen, Whitworth’s next notable role was as Calleigh Duquesne’s love interest Detective Jake Berkley on CSI: Miami. Next up is Six Gun Dead with Lindsay Lohan and Eric ‘brother of Julia’ Roberts about a prison during a zombie attack, as well as starring in CW teen show, The 100, showing his career is in no need of resurrection.
Robin Tunney (Debra)
Tunney went the extra mile in playing Debra, shaving all of her hair off on-screen. She then followed one cult classic with another, starring as a teen witch in The Craft. More recently, Tunney can be found on CBS, playing Teresa Lisbon opposite Simon Baker in The Mentalist. Subject of many a Tumblr gifset, Baker and Tunney have spun a merry will-they-won’t-they as the tension-filled FBI twosome, seeing Tunney’s big-screen career tail off in favour of her small-screen success.
Ethan Embry (Marc)
Oh Ethan. After a killer career kickoff including teen classics The Thing You Do!, Can’t Hardly Wait and everyone’s favourite Reese Witherspoon romance, Sweet Home Alabama, things slowed down a little. 2005 saw Embry star in the truly abominable Pizza (it’s on Netflix if you’re brave enough) about a girl who spends her birthday tailing a pizza delivery boy. Embry, however, has found a steady stream of TV guest star appearances, even recurring as Greg Mendell on the ABC hit show Once Upon a Time.
Maxwell Caulfield (Rex Manning)
After a stint in NYC theatre, Caulfield began his career as the star of one of the least remembered sequels of the ‘80s – Grease 2. Luckily, that didn’t stop him from later playing teen lust object and serious rock and roll star, Rex Manning. Though he oozed American charm, the Brit was actually born in Derbyshire. After an extensive career in American film and TV, where he stole hearts as Miles Colby in The Colbys and Dynasty, Caulfied found his way back across the pond to star in UK stalwarts, Casualty and Emmerdale. His last high-profile role found him back on American TV once more, starring in NCIS as Dr. Madison Fielding – but, sadly for all Grease 2 fans, he has had no new screen projects since 2013.