In the latest instalment of our Then and Now series, we take a look back at the cast of Tim Burton’s classic horror/comedy Beetlejuice as we approach 27 years since its first release.
Only the second feature film release for Tim Burton, after 1985’s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, and before 1989’s Batman, Beetlejuice was a critical and financial success at the time, bringing in around $74 million at the box office, from a $15 million budget.
With a second Beetlejuice apparently in the works, let’s have a look at what the original cast have been up to recently…
Keaton’s starring role as the ghost with the most was the first of three collaborations with Tim Burton directing. In 1989, a year after Beetlejuice’s release, Keaton appeared in Batman which brought the caped crusader up to date with a dark and gritty re-telling of the classic comic book tales. Keaton and Burton were both involved in the sequel Batman Returns, released in 1992, but with Warner Bros. less than impressed by the box office takings Burton was demoted from director to producer and Keaton chose not to return, being replaced by Val Kilmer.
Although he never really hit the same gate receipts as the Batman films, Keaton’s film appearances remained steady throughout the 90s and beyond, featuring in big Hollywood productions like Much Ado About Nothing, Jackie Brown and Cars along with smaller roles in The Other Guys and Toy Story 3.
More recently, Keaton’s been doing the rounds in the film awards season, picking up a Golden Globe win and an Academy Award nomination for his role as Riggan Thomson a washed-up actor famous for playing the superhero Birdman in Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s black comedy of the same name. He’s already expressed an interest in reprising his role in Beetlejuice 2 but with the project in the early stages it remains to be seen whether that will be the case.
One of the four famous Baldwin brothers, Alec Baldwin has arguably been the most successful of his younger siblings. He first found fame in the CBS drama Knots Landing, a spin-off of Dallas running from 1979 to 1993, which Baldwin appeared as Joshua Rush for 2 years between 1984 and 1986.
Beetlejuice was his fourth feature film role, where he played Adam Maitland one of the original owners of the Winter River house. Over the next few years he featured in The Hunt for Red October, earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his part in The Cooler and appeared in two Martin Scorsese films The Aviator and The Departed.
Arguably though he’s most recognizable for his TV roles, with guest spots on hit sitcoms Friends and Will & Grace, while he holds the record for presenting Saturday Night Live the most times with 16 appearances over the years.
But his most popular TV role has been as network executive Jack Donaghy in the brilliant NBC comedy 30 Rock, alongside Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan, which earned him two Emmy Awards, three Golden Globes and seven Screen Actors Guild Awards during its seven season run.
One of Geena Davis’ most notable early film appearances was in the 1986 David Cronenberg body/horror film The Fly, starring her future husband Jeff Goldblum. This was then followed with a starring role in Beetlejuice, playing Barbara Maitland, wife of Alec Baldwin’s Adam.
Over the next few years her film roles garnered critical success with an Oscar winning performance for Best Supporting Actress in 1989’s The Accidental Tourist, and a nomination for Best Actress in 1991’s Thelma & Louise with Susan Sarandon. Davis also appeared in all 3 of the Stuart Little films, starring alongside House’s Hugh Laurie and Back to the Future‘s Michael J. Fox in the titular role.
On the small screen, The Geena Davis Show, lasted only one season with ABC cancelling the sitcom before it could complete its run of 22 episodes. More successful was her role in Commander in Chief as the first female President of the United States, earning her a Golden Globe for best actress in 2006, alongside Emmy and Screen Actors Guild nominations.
In recent years Davis has been highly involved in activism aiming to balance the number of male and female characters in children’s TV and movies and highlighting diversity in films, creating the Bentonville Film Festival which is accepting submissions from films that feature a cast and crew of predominantly women and minorities.
One of Winona Ryder’s very early roles was as Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice and she would go on to star in the cult classic Heathers, earning a Golden Globe nomination for Mermaids, Edward Scissorhands (also directed by Tim Burton), and Bram Stoker’s Dracula from The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola.
One of the most sought after actresses of the late 1990s she was Oscar nominated for her roles in The Age of Innocence and Little Women whilst also appearing in Alien: Resurrection and Girl, Interrupted alongside Angelina Jolie.
After some high profile personal issues, including the infamous shoplifting incident in 2001, Ryder took a break from the movie industry for a few years but has won praise for appearing in Star Trek, Black Swan and her third collaboration with Tim Burton, Frankenweenie. She’s scheduled to appear in HBO’s Show me a Hero, alongside Oscar Isaac and Jim Belushi which has been commissioned for six episodes.
Before starring in Beetlejuice, O’Hara rose to fame on SCTV, a Canadian sketch show influenced by SNL and Monty Python’s Flying Circus alongside famous faces such as John Candy, Rick Moranis and Harold Ramis.
Beetlejuice was her sixth feature film, she would go to appear in Home Alone and its sequel as well as collaborating with Tim Burton again in The Nightmare Before Christmas as Sally. In 2006 she received rave reviews for her role in the comedy For Your Consideration, written by Spinal Tap’s Christopher Guest and American Pie’s Eugene Levy, also a former cast member of SCTV.
With guest spots in Six Feet Under, Curb Your Enthusiasm and 30 Rock, O’Hara was nominated for a Primetime Emmy and Screen Actors Guild award for her role in the HBO produced Temple Grandin in 2010. O’Hara is currently starring in the first season of CBC’s sitcom Schitt’s Creek alongside Levy.
Jones is probably best known for playing Emperor Joseph II in Amadeus, Dean of Students Edward R. Rooney in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Dr Walter Jenning in Howard the Duck. After appearing as Charles Deetz in Beetlejuice, he would team up with Tim Burton on two other occasions with Ed Wood and Sleepy Hollow.
After numerous arrests from 2003 onwards his film career has seemingly stalled. Although he appeared in the critically acclaimed HBO series Deadwood from 2004 to 2006 his only recent appearances on the big screen were in the critically panned Who’s Your Caddy? alongside OutKast’s Big Boi, Lil Wayne and Terry Crews and the 2014 disaster movie 10.0 Earthquake.