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Why Fran From The Wedding Planner Looks So Familiar

It's been 20 years since Jennifer Lopez starred in The Wedding Planner, where she plays (as you might have surmised) a wedding planner named Mary Fiore, who wants to become a full partner with her boss Geri (Kathy Najimy) at the company she works for. Mary convinces Geri to grant her full partnership — provided she land an account with a new money family, the Donollys — but since this is a romantic comedy, naturally, there has to be a wrinkle. So while Mary very easily convinces the Donolly family to take her on as their wedding planner, she accidentally falls in love with Eddie (Matthew McConaughey), the man who just so happens to be the groom.

Watching the movie today, you'll have little to no trouble recalling where you've seen international pop star Jennifer Lopez or big box office actor Matthew McConaughey, but you may find yourself trying to remember where you recognize Eddie's wife-to-be Fran Donolly (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras). 

It turns out you certainly have seen Wilson-Sampras many, many times before. In fact, The Wedding Planner probably isn't even the biggest movie you remember her from. Let's take a look back at some of the career highlights for Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, to see what else you might want to watch once you're done seeing two women vie for the same Matthew McConaughey.

Bridgette Wilson-Sampras was Whitney Slater in Last Action Hero

By the early nineties, big budget action movies had long been the genre du jour. And arguably there was no bigger action star than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Conan, Commando, Predator, The Running Man, Total Recall, and the legendary Terminator franchise all solidified Schwarzenegger as one of the most instantly recognizable faces in movies, period. Soon enough, Schwarzenegger was also gaining ground as a comedic actor, with movies like Twins and Kindergarten Cop. Following those two films, Schwarzenegger starred in the 1993 film Last Action Hero, a film which sought to combine action and comedy while self-analyzing and parodying all the tropes of the movies Schwarzenegger had spent the previous decade starring in. 

In addition to Schwarzenegger's action archetype character Jack Slater, Last Action Hero also features a daughter character, Whitney Slater, who is played by a pre-Wedding Planner Bridgette Wilson-Sampras. And just as Jack Slater serves as a gruff, one-liner spewing tough guy, Whitney Slater waffles back and forth between being a screaming damsel in distress and becoming a badass broad who gets things done without the help of any man. The role and the performance are a send up of the two types of roles women often find themselves boiled down to in action films from that era — and it's pretty spot-on!

Bridgette Wilson-Sampras was Veronica Vaughn in Billy Madison

What Arnold Schwarzenegger was for action movies, you could argue Adam Sandler was for big screen comedies in the mid-nineties. After featuring on Saturday Night Live from 1990-1995, Sandler made one of the most successful leaps from SNL to film of all time. By the end of the decade, Sandler had played an angry golfer in Happy Gilmore, an angry musician in The Wedding Singer, and an angry water boy in The Waterboy. Before all those angry dudes, though, Sandler played a wealthy guy set to inherit his father's hotel empire ... but only if he can go back to school, and earn his way to a high school diploma.

This movie, Billy Madison, was a massive success for Sandler. Audiences loved watching a grown man have to go to grade school, and were oddly charmed by how he protected young kids by pretending that peeing your pants is the coolest when you're an adult.

Naturally, Billy Madison has to have a love interest, and he finds one in the form of his third grade teacher, Veronica Vaughn — played by Bridgett Wilson-Sampras. In the midst of all the outrageous silliness, Vaughn is basically the humanizing, adult element that keeps Billy Madison from going completely off the rails into cartoon silliness.

Bridgette Wilson-Sampras is Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat

Video game movies are a hot commodity these days, which is absolutely wild, considering how infamously bad they used to be. And yet, here in 2021, people are practically soaking in sweat from the excitement of the upcoming Mortal Kombat movie. Part of the reason people are excited for a new Mortal Kombat film, though, is because the first movie adaptation, which came out in 1995, is one of the first video game movie adaptations that people genuinely loved. 

Something about the willingness to throw logic out the window, in favor of bringing in as many references to the actual games, made 1995's Mortal Kombat a hit with fans. The film brought in tons of the franchise's fighters, including Raiden, Liu Kang, Johnny Kage, Shang Tsung, Scorpion, and Sub-Zero. And in addition to all those male fighters, the film included the only woman fighter from the first Mortal Kombat game, Sonya Blade — played by Bridgette Wilson-Sampras. 

All the hero characters in the Mortal Kombat movie are chosen by Raiden (Christopher Lambert) and each wants to fight for their own personal reasons. In the case of Sonya Blade, she is seeking revenge against Kano (Trevor Goddard) for killing her partner.

Fun fact: the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie is remembered so fondly that in the recent game, Mortal Kombat 11, there is a DLC featuring movie versions of three characters, including Sonya Blade. Not only does the game recreate the look of movie Sonya, but they even got Wilson-Sampras to reprise the role.