Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

You'll Barely Recognize Louie From Remember The Titans Now

Few studios in Hollywood boast quite as impeccable a track record for producing classic movies with timeless legacies as Walt Disney Pictures. Truth is, the House of Mouse has cranked out so many over the years, it's impossible to account for them all — if anything, it's easier to account for the unheralded classics in Disney's vaunted canon. And few of Disney's releases are more worthy of that title than the 2000 biographical sports drama "Remember the Titans." 

Okay, so "unheralded" may not entirely fit the bill for a film that carries a 93% Fresh audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and brought in an impressive $136 million at the box office. But decades after its initial release, it feels like too many folks have forgotten about "Remember the Titans." It's high time the film was rediscovered, not just because its message of racial tolerance is as important today as it's ever been, but also because it features a ridiculously stacked cast of both established and up-and-coming talent. Screen icon Denzel Washington is, of course, front and center, portraying a Black no-nonsense football coach tasked with fielding a first-ever integrated high school squad in 1970s Virginia. But among the newcomers, you'll find the familiar faces of Ryan Gosling ("Drive," "La La Land"), Kate Bosworth ("Before I Wake"), Donald Faison ("Scrubs"), Ryan Hurst ("Sons of Anarchy," "The Walking Dead"), and Kip Pardue (Marvel's "Runaways"). 

You'll also find the face of one Ethan Suplee ("Mallrats," "American History X," "My Name Is Earl"), who portrayed the lovably beefy offensive lineman Louie Lastik in the film. While you've likely seen Suplee's face in dozens of films and TV series since, you may not recognize it all these days — as he's recently gone beefy in a very different way. 

Ethan Suplee has gotten rather ripped in recent years

If you've been following Ethan Suplee's career, you know much of it has been spent playing, in his own words, "roles for fat kids" (via People). After decades of being the butt of fat kid jokes, and searching for a weight-loss regime that worked, Suplee finally found one that stuck. The actor has been showcasing his new physique on Instagram of late, and fans who've been following him for decades are finding it hard to believe the buff guy in the pictures is actually him.

So impressive is Ethan Suplee's transformation, the actor was showcased in Men's Health in a January 2020 interview, which found Suplee speaking candidly about his struggles to not just lose weight, but keep it off amid a busy work schedule that didn't allow for much time in the gym, admitting he was doing, "all kinds of really crazy stupid diets. I wasn't factoring in how I was going to maintain my weight at work when I was working like, 14 hours a day, five days a week." 

Counterintuitively, it was Suplee's demanding work-life that actually placed him in a position to make healthy changes in the first place.

Suplee started working out for his role on Chance

While the beloved character actor is famous for his scene-stealing turns in dramatic films like "American History X" and zany sitcoms like former must-see TV staple "My Name Is Earl," it's one of Ethan Suplee's most under-appreciated performances that he actually credits with introducing him to the gym.

It seems his casting on Hulu's" Chance" (which required some weight training), combined with a revelatory TED Talk about the science of food helped Suplee find the right mix. "I found that I really enjoyed lifting weights and I could get my workout in an hour, and so that wasn't like a huge part of my day. The most important thing I would want anyone to take away is that for me, the biggest change was understanding how food works. And the more I feel that I understand, scientifically, the more power I have over it."

On "Chance," Suplee played fan-favorite valor-stealing off-books muscle Darius 'D' Pringle opposite Hugh Laurie's titular neuropsychiatristOn the show, which only ran for two woefully under-watched seasons between 2016 and 2017, Suplee debuted a notably more toned physique than the one he made famous in earlier appearances — though nothing on par with the bod he's rocking today. When the cancelation axe fell on "Chance," Suplee must have made a commitment to stick to his routine.

Now that he's conquered the science of food, Hollywood will need to start offering Ethan Suplee something other than "fat kid" roles. How about a romantic lead?

From there, he landed other notable television roles

At the same time Ethan Suplee was showing off his reformed figure on "Chance," he was also appearing in a recurring capacity on Netflix's hit sitcom "The Ranch." Alongside stars Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, and Sam Elliott, Suplee played Colt and Rooster's high school buddy, Billy "Beer Pong" Tonkins, who just so happens to be Officer Tonkins now. A fan-favorite guest star, Suplee shows up on 13 episodes across all four seasons, reminding viewers of his genuine acting range. He's just loads of fun to watch.

Unfortunately, after "Chance" was canceled, Suplee was forced him to find work elsewhere. However, it all worked out for him, as he landed guest and recurring parts on big-name shows he might not have otherwise been available for. In 2017, he appeared as Bill Shaker on the "Twin Peaks" revival season before playing Tommy for six episodes on "Santa Clarita Diet" Season 2. From there, he played Gil on "Good Girls" in 2020 and even voiced Bob the Bigfoot on the animated "Vampirina."

Unfortunately, those are the last recurring television roles Suplee's had in the past few years. Sure, he's slated to appear in the Indian comedy series "The Pradeeps of Pittsburg" once the current SAG-AFTRA strike ends, but here's hoping he finds his way back to a hit show.

Outside of TV, Suplee has retained a consistent film career

Of course, Ethan Suplee was known for his work on the big screen long before he became a TV star, and he's still relatively active in Hollywood today. In 2016, Suplee appeared in Peter Berg's "Deepwater Horizon" alongside Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell, playing an oil rig worker named Jason Anderson. A few years later, he played Gilbert Coney in Edward Nortion's period private eye flick, "Motherless Brooklyn."

His most controversial feature came out in 2020, as Suplee was one of those who appeared in the satirical political thriller "The Hunt." Playing Gary, the conspiracy theorist podcaster with a chip on his shoulder, Suplee showed off his new look on the big screen, though not for long. Within the movie's first week of release, the COVID-19 pandemic closed movie theaters everywhere, forcing the Blumhouse production underground. Ironically, Suplee's part as a podcaster was somewhat prophetic, but that's a story for later. 

Thankfully, the failure of "The Hunt" didn't prevent Suplee from landing other roles. In 2022, he appeared in "Dog" opposite Channing Tatum and Damien Chazelle's Hollywood epic, "Babylon." The following year, he had three movies come out, "Manodrome," "Blood for Dust," and the action crime thriller "God Is a Bullet." Talk about keeping busy.

He regularly collaborates with Kevin Smith

Since the beginning of Ethan Suplee's career, the actor has collaborated with some pretty big names. After "Remember the Titans," he worked with Denzel Washington again on "John Q." and "Unstoppable." Following "American History X," he reunited with Edward Norton nearly two decades later for "Motherless Brooklyn." Additionally, he and Ashton Kutcher have starred opposite one another a few times, including "The Butterfly Effect," the comedy short "A Night of 140 Tweets," and "The Ranch." But Suplee's most frequent collaborator extends back to his roots.

In 1995, Suplee landed his first feature film, a small indie flick directed by Kevin Smith (who has undergone his own weight loss journey in recent years), called "Mallrats." Who knew that his role as William Black would have such a profound impact on his career? From then on, Suplee and Smith kept working together, with the former appearing in other Smith-directed productions: "Chasing Amy," "Dogma," Clerks II," and "Clerks III." No wonder "Twilight of the Mallrats" is underway.

Amazingly, these two have also collaborated on projects Smith didn't direct. They both appear in "Fanboys," "Drawing Flies," and "Vulgar," the latter of which Smith executive produced. Additionally, Smith produced "A Better Place," which features Suplee, and the two appeared in the same "A Night of 140 Tweets" special Kutcher was in. Hollywood sure is a small world.

He's ventured into the video game space

Although it's more common to see Hollywood actors play video game characters in movie or television adaptations, since the 2010s, it's become increasingly popular to see actors transition from the filmmaking world into the video game space. Here, actors can take on roles they might not otherwise have. In 2022, Ethan Suplee played the mysterious hunter Bobby in the interactive horror game "The Quarry."

One part "Friday the 13th," one part "The Thing," and all parts frightening, "The Quarry" is a slasher game that preys upon your fears of the unknown and stars a pretty impressive cast. Alongside Suplee (whose character better matches his current physique), the ensemble includes "Scream" star David Arquette, Brenda Song, Halston Sage, Justice Smith, and "Pumpkinhead" legend Lance Henriksen. "Summer camp and slasher horror. Like peanut butter and jelly," said Suplee while promoting the game on Twitter – an apt description, to be sure.

Undoubtedly, "The Quarry" is one of the most '80s video games to ever be made outside of the actual 1980s, but it delivers. Suplee's role is somewhat out-of-character for the actor, but that's part of what makes his transition to video games so special. Here's hoping he dives into another one sometime soon, maybe this time as the leading man.

Suplee has moved into the podcasting realm

Beyond acting, Ethan Suplee has kept himself fairly busy, and not just in the gym. Outside of his fitness regimen, Suplee hosts a podcast, "American Glutton," where he "sets out to examine our current obesity crisis." To do this, Suplee is candid about his own battle with weight loss and dietary health and often brings on experts and others with similar stories to help set the stage and encourage people to get healthy. He even runs a regularly updated blog through the podcast's website, sharing the stories of many of his listeners.

Naturally, "American Glutton" also features a variety of celebrity guests, including those Suplee has previously worked with. With folks like his "Unstoppable" co-star T.J. Miller, former "My Name is Earl" guest star Michael Peña, Kevin Smith, and Josh Peck, Suplee does his best to break any stigmas attached to weight loss, all the while encouraging those who feel hopeless to push on.

In an interview with Michael Rosenbaum on his "Inside of You" podcast, Suplee shares that his producer, Kevin Connolly, wanted him to host a politically-based podcast. But, uninterested in sharing his political views in fear of being canceled, he shifted the topic entirely. "I could fully talk about health and fitness because I've done that," he explained. From there, "American Glutton" was born.

His weight loss might've lost him roles

Despite the personal success Ethan Suplee found in his physical transformation and his podcast's impact on countless others, changing his entire look hasn't been the easiest thing for his career. "Initially, the casting directors didn't want me to come in [for the psychological thriller series "Chance"] because I'd lost a bunch of weight," Suplee told Entertainment Weekly back in 2017. "Apparently they had proposed me a bunch of times, but the casting directors were like, 'No, he's too thin now.'"

The actor notes that after "My Name is Earl," which ended in 2009, he got himself down to 9% body fat after continuously riding bicycles. Unfortunately, that wasn't paying the bills, and soon, Suplee was forced to get back in the Hollywood game. But because of his dramatic weight loss, nobody recognized him as the same person. It was then that Suplee took a different approach. 

"I'm not going to kill myself to be thin when nobody knows me as a thin person," he decided. "I do think it is affecting the kind of jobs I'm getting. And so I just kind of relaxed on my diet." But relaxing on his diet didn't mean that Suplee was unhealthy. On the contrary, the actor bulked up and is at a place where he's happy with his weight and physique.

Suplee credits his family for his weight loss journey

Of course, Ethan Suplee's weight loss journey began long before the ending of "My Name is Earl." When the actor began dating his future wife, Brandy Lewis (the younger sister of actress-singer Julia Lewis), in 2001, things started to change. "I became, for the first time in my life, kind of interested in the future and having experiences with her," the actor told People in 2022. "Like spending a day walking around a museum or going on a trip or hiking that I just wasn't physically able to do."

Having been crazy about her since they were teenagers, it wasn't until years later that Lewis began to feel the same way. "For the very first time, I wasn't getting a deep concern from somebody about my health and I felt totally accepted for who I was versus what I looked like," he explained. "And that I think was kind of the bedrock that I was successful with my goals at." From there, the couple married in 2006 (not long after "My Name is Earl" began), and they have four daughters.

"I realized that I was possibly going to have the life that I wanted, but it required a little extra effort on my part," Suplee explained when interviewed by Menace Tube in 2022, where he admitted that his work as Darius "D" Pringle on "Chance" was his favorite role so far.

A strange conversation with Jim Caviezel was also instrumental

The support of Ethan Suplee's family wasn't the only thing that changed his perspective on physical health. In the very first episode of his "American Glutton" podcast, Suplee recounts a strange encounter he had with "Passion of the Christ" star Jim Caviezel while on his way to film "Cold Mountain." On the plane, Caviezel sat beside the actor and confronted him on his way of life, specifically noting that if your life doesn't emulate Jesus Christ, you're going to hell.

"It was the first conversation of that nature that I'd ever had with somebody. Nobody had ever talked to me like that," the actor explained (via Pulse). "Nobody had ever said: 'Look at yourself, you're going to f**king hell ... You don't care about yourself at all, you're a mess.'" Suplee stated that Caviezel was never unkind to him during this encounter, and it likely came from "a place of love, compassion." Nevertheless, the conversation understandably shook Suplee, who didn't know how to respond.

"I'm not saying [Caviezel was] right or that my decision [to lose weight] had anything to do with Jesus Christ, but my decision was, 'I don't want people to feel they can talk to me like that,'" he noted. As time went on, Suplee turned his life around, in part due to this odd encounter with Caviezel.

He was Team Depp during the Depp v Heard trial

Few celebrity trials were more covered and invested in by news outlets and fans alike than the legal battle between "Pirates of the Caribbean" star Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard. Unsurprisingly, Hollywood jumped onto this dispute head-first, with the streaming platform Tubi even releasing a feature film adaptation in 2022. Additionally, a Netflix documentary titled "Depp V Heard" premiered in August 2023, reminding us that Hollywood has nothing better to do than make endless content about itself.

Before a verdict was reached, many actors and celebrities claimed either "Team Depp" or "Team Heard," and Ethan Suplee was no exception. Though they appeared together in the 2001 feature "Blow," Suplee and Depp haven't collaborated since. Nevertheless, Suplee had some thoughts. "I have four daughters and a granddaughter, and we are resoundingly Team Depp," the actor admitted when asked in an impromptu interview conducted by Menace Tube. "All of us." 

Since then, Depp has been exonerated in the public eye (not to mention by the jury themselves) from Heard's very public accusations. "The jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled," Depp said in a statement following the trial (via Barrons). Since then, he's appeared as Louis XV in the 2023 Jeanne Bécu biopic "Jeanne du Barry."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Suplee is confident in his weight loss journey

A breath of fresh air nowadays, Ethan Suplee is hard to offend, even after his incredible weight loss journey. "You can't offend me with those words," the actor admitted on the "Timcast" podcast in 2021 when the host danced around mentioning his former weight. "I was 550 pounds, so I was morbidly obese, perhaps even more abundantly obese." For a long time, the actor was known because of his overweight stature, a look that helped him land roles in "Remember the Titans" and "My Name is Earl," but that part of his life is behind him now.

"I've definitely had some people say that, 'I've preferred you fat,'" the actor later admitted. "I just don't care ... I had been wanting to be the size I am now for so long that the way you want me to be just doesn't matter." Using his influence on social media, through his podcast, and his physical on-screen transformation, Suplee hopes to inspire others — maybe even those not as unhealthy as he once was — to step up and make the change themselves. According to Suplee, this doesn't necessarily require expunging foods from your diet but rather a balance.

"Taking an entire food group and demonizing it, and cutting it out of my life, that's also extreme," he concluded, hoping to encourage his audience to decide for themselves to be healthy and active on their own. We could all learn something from Suplee's inspiring example.