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

Whatever Happened To The Cast Of Snakes On A Plane?

For a brief period of time in 2005, "Snakes on a Plane" appeared to be poised for pop culture greatness: a grindhouse-style action/horror film wrapped in a high-concept premise and top-billed by Samuel L. Jackson. He played an FBI agent who battles a surprise horde of pheromone-enraged snakes, let loose on a Boeing 747-400 flight to Los Angeles by a crime boss awaiting trial. Internet buzz soared to a white-hot frenzy when word got out that one line, dubbed by a Jackson imitator and featured in a fan-made trailer, was going to be included in the theatrical release; the line, of course, is Jackson shouting, "I have had it with these motherf***ing snakes on this motherf***ing plane!"

But response to the actual film, directed by the late David R. Ellis ("The Final Destination"), was anything but rapturous. Box office response was tepid and reviews were unkind in regard to its pulpy premise and wan special effects. The legacy of "Snakes" is two-fold: it proved that online fascination doesn't always translate into ticket sales, and that a cast of good actors can carry even the most lightweight material.

And whatever happened to that cast? Read on, though spoilers will follow.

Samuel L. Jackson made Snakes on a Plane cool

Of the many internet rumors that swirled around "Snakes on a Plane," one of the most amusing was the notion that Samuel L. Jackson had signed on to star in the film without reading the script. That wasn't entirely true, as this interview noted, but if anyone was going to make the idea of snakes terrifying passengers on a transcontinental flight exponentially cooler, it was Samuel L. Jackson. He handles his role as FBI Agent Neville Flynn with his signature blend of confidence, sharp wit, and commanding presence.

An Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild nominee, Jackson was already a bona fide movie star and critical favorite before "Snakes" thanks to his electrifying turns in "Do the Right Thing," "Jurassic Park," "Pulp Fiction," "Jackie Brown," and "Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace." His star status only vaulted higher after "Snakes" thanks to his connection with some of the film world's most celebrated titles: he played Nick Fury in nearly the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe run from "Iron Man" to "Avengers: Endgame" and "Spider-Man: Far from Home," reunited with Quentin Tarantino for "Django Unchained" and "The Hateful Eight," and reprised Frozone in "The Incredibles 2."

Jackson continued to spin cinematic gold with "The Hitman's Bodyguard" films, "Kong: Skull Island," and "Kingsman: The Secret Service." He'll also return to Marvel as Nick Fury in the upcoming "Secret Invasion" series.

Julianna Marguiles: still saving people in need

"Snakes on a Plane" was one of Julianna Marguiles' forays into feature films after her long-running and Emmy-winning stint on "ER." Her role -– flight attendant Claire Miller — was cut from the same cloth as that show's Nurse Carol Hathaway: confident, cool under fire, and quick-witted in an emergency, even one as wild as exotic snakes loose on a Boeing 747.

After departing "ER" in 2000, Marguiles starred in several features, including the critically praised "Man from Elysian Fields," with Andy Garcia (who was later her co-star in the indie comedy "City Island"), and the less-well-regarded "Ghost Ship." TV remained her best showcase: she enjoyed a recurring role as a real estate agent brought low by Tony Soprano on "The Sopranos" and starred in several limited series like "The Grid." "The Good Wife" marked her triumphant return to weekly series work and netted Marguiles two Emmys and a Golden Globe Award.

When "The Good Wife" ran its course in 2016, Marguiles moved on to a starring role in the short-lived dark comedy "Dietland" before joining the cast of "The Morning Show" in 2021.

Bobby Cannavale handled the snakes from the ground

FBI Agent Hank Harris is Flynn's lifeline on the ground in "Snakes on a Plane." While Flynn tries to keep his fellow passengers alive, Harris brings in snake expert Dr. Steven Price, and coordinates the delivery of the anti-venom for injured passengers when the plane lands.

Emmy-winning and Tony-nominated actor Bobby Cannavale had already amassed an impressive list of screen credits prior to signing on for "Snakes," including the award-winning indie drama "The Station Agent" with Peter Dinklage, and a starring role on the NBC series "Third Watch." Cannavale's career took off after "Snakes": he earned an Emmy as Will's boyfriend on "Will and Grace," and terrified "Boardwalk Empire" viewers as the feral gangster Gyp Rosetti, which also earned him an Emmy. He also starred in Martin Scorsese's short-lived HBO series "Vinyl" and enjoyed recurring roles on "Blue Bloods," "Mr. Robot," "Bojack Horseman," "Big Mouth," and "Homecoming."

On the big screen, Cannavale has proven adept at nearly every genre. He's held his own opposite Will Ferrell ("Daddy's Home"), Melissa McCarthy ("Thunder Force") and Jack Black ("Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle"), sparred smartly with Paul Rudd in both "Ant-Man" films for Marvel, and even tackled musicals in "Annie." Between these efforts were dramatic turns in "I, Tonya" and Scorsese's "The Irishman," as well as a 2012 stint on Broadway in David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross" opposite Al Pacino.

Snakes gave Aussie Nathan Phillips his break in Hollywood

Australian actor Nathan Phillips made his American movie debut in "Snakes on a Plane" as Sean Jones, whose testimony is crucial in the government's case against crime boss Eddie Kim, who is responsible for putting the snakes on the plane. Neville Flynn is Jones's FBI escort, who soon discovers that he has to protect Jones from more than just Kim's cronies.

Phillips made his screen debut on the Australian TV soap "Neighbours" and quickly graduated from the small screen to Aussie features like "Warriors of Virtue: The Return to Tao" in 2002. His appearance as a backpacker targeted by a serial killer in the 2005 hit horror film "Wolf Creek" led to his role in "Snakes."

Unfortunately, Phillips's shot at Hollywood stardom faltered after both "Snakes" and his next Stateside feature, the racing drama "Redline," underperformed at the box office. He then bounced between independent American films — like the Matthew McConaughey vehicle "Surfer, Dude" — and Australian features; the majority of these efforts were horror films like the grisly "Dying Breed," "The Chernobyl Diaries," and 2021's "The Devil Below."

Todd Louiso: the doctor who saves the day in Snakes

In "Snakes on a Plane," science comes to the rescue in the form of ophiologist (read: snake scientist) Dr. Steven Price. The doctor proves crucial to the story after identifying the snakes on the plane from Mercedes' photographs, and later obtains the anti-venom needed to save lives from the dealer who bought the snakes for Eddie Kim.

Actor, director, and screenwriter Todd Louiso played Dr. Price in the film. A former teen actor who appeared in "Scent of a Woman," Louiso graduated to grown-up character roles in "Apollo 13," "The Rock," "Jerry Maguire" (he was Chad the nanny) and "High Fidelity." In the early 2000s, he began writing and directing features; his first in that regard was the indie drama "Love Liza," starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Louiso has balanced acting with behind-the-camera assignments for the past decade: he appeared opposite his "Snakes" co-stars Sunny Mabrey in "XxX: State of the Union" and David Koechner in "Thank You for Smoking," and directed the indies "The Marc Pease Experience" with Jason Schwartzmann and "Hello I Must Be Going" with Melanie Lynskey. In 2015, he co-wrote an adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Macbeth" with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard as the doomed Scottish king and his manipulative wife.

Rachel Blanchard was a socialite with a heart

Dismissed as a vapid socialite, Mercedes (Rachel Blanchard) becomes a key player in saving the crew and passengers in "Snakes on a Plane." Knocked unconscious and abandoned during the attack on the main cabin by the snakes, Mercedes and her beloved dog, Mary-Kate, are rescued by Chen. She later conceives the idea of sending photos of the snakes to Dr. Price, which aids in creating the anti-venom.

Blanchard began her career on television in her native Canada with guest roles on "The Kids of Degrassi Street" and "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" She graduated to teen roles in the late '90s and early 2000s, most notably as Cher Horowitz on the TV adaptation of "Clueless" and as Roxanne, Lucy Camden's rival and eventual friend on "Seventh Heaven." She's worked extensively on TV, including the recurring role of Bret's ex-girlfriend Sally on "Flight of the Conchords," and a Gemini Award-winning turn as a mentally disabled women on Jason Priestley's darkly comic series "Call Me Fitz."

In 2016, she starred in the U.S.-Canadian series "You Me Her," as one-half of a suburban couple (with Greg Poehler) who form a polyamorous relationship with an escort (Priscilla Faia). The series wrapped its fifth and final season in 2020.

Flex Alexander's Three Gs: hands off, please

Among the snake-infested flight's passengers is Clarence "Three Gs" Dewey, a hip-hop artist and producer, whose celebrity status can't keep him from being shuttled back to coach along with Mercedes and other first-class ticketholders. The move puts him in direct contact with the snakes, which is particularly galling for Three Gs, given that he's a germaphobe. In his panic, he briefly brandishes Flynn's gun, and puts everyone in harm's way.

Dancer-turned-actor Flex Alexander played Three Gs in "Snakes," which he landed during a particularly busy period in his screen career. Having survived a starring role in one of the worst-received series of the late 1990s — "Homeboys from Outer Space" — Alexander had just completed a recurring role on "Girlfriends" and launched the comedy "One on One," which offered him a leading role and producing credit.

Post-"Snakes," Alexander has remained busy as a producer (the UMC comedy series "Lawd Have Mercy") and actor in features like "The Hills Have Eyes 2" and on television. The latter included guest shots on "CSI: Miami," "Masters of Sex," "Mixed-ish," and "Kenan," with "Snakes" co-star Kenan Thompson.

Lin Shaye: from doomed flight attendant to horror hero

No one has ever accused "Snakes on a Plane" of subtle storytelling. Case in point: the moment when seasoned flight attendant Grace tells Claire that she's considering retirement after their current flight. That statement is all that's necessary for audiences to understand that Grace's screen time — and life span — will be cut short before the end credits. True to fashion, Grace suffers an unpleasant death from snake bite, but at least it's in the course of a heroic act (saving Maria's baby).

Actress Lin Shaye, who played Grace, has been appearing in features and on television since the late 1970s. Minor roles in "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and "The Running Man" preceded her breakout appearance in "Dumb and Dumber" as enraged dog owner Mrs. Neugeboren. That film's directors, the Farrelly Brothers, tapped Shaye for more outrageous comic turns in "Kingpin" and "There's Something About Mary."

In 2010, Shaye starred as psychic Elise Rainer in "Insidious." She would reprise the role in three sequels, which gradually advanced her character from supporting role to lead player. The success of "Insidious" led to other horror assignments from Blumhouse, including "Ouija," and appearances in other fright flicks, including the 2020 reboot of "The Grudge."

David Koechner was co-pilot and world-class jerk Rick

Actor-comedian David Koechner played Rick, co-pilot of the ill-fated Boeing 747-400 in "Snakes on a Plane." A world-class sexist who spends his scenes hassling Claire, Rick accidentally releases many of the snakes into the main cabin after several of them invade the cockpit. Rick is also afforded many of the film's more memorable lines ("I go faster and the engines seize up; we eventually plummet to a horrible death. They spend the next year identifying femurs.") although they can't save him from a fatal snake bite.

David Koechner's skill with a comic line was honed on the Chicago improv comedy scene and a stint on "Saturday Night Live." He's been a dependable utility player in numerous hit comedies, including "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," and "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby." On television, Koechner played the scurrilous Todd Packer on "The Office," and Lainey Lewis's dad, Bill Lewis, on "The Goldbergs," among an impressively long list of live-action and voice-acting roles.

In addition to his screen career, Koechner is one-half of the popular musical comedy act The Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show, which partners him with Dave (Gruber) Allen of "Freaks and Geeks" and "Love." The act, which features Koechner as an addled drifter and Allen as his undraped straight man, has been a staple of the Los Angeles comedy scene for years and was even adapted to TV as a Comedy Central series in 2007.

Terry Chen proves that kickboxing beats snakes every time

You know who's helpful to have in a situation like the one in "Snakes on a Plane"? A kickboxer like Chen Leong. Not only does the concept of drug-maddened, venomous snakes in an enclosed space seem to leave Chen unfazed, but he proves absolutely fearless under pressure, as evidenced by his rescue of Mercedes and her dog, Mary-Kate, when the main cabin is under attack.

Canadian actor Terry Chen, who played Chen Leong, is perhaps best known for his portrayal of "Rolling Stone" editor Ben Fong-Torres in Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous" in 2000. He's worked steadily in features and on television since the release of "Snakes" in 2006; his film credits include "War," with Jet Li and Jason Statham, the big-screen version of "The A-Team," and "The Cabin in the Woods."

On television, Chen has appeared on "Battlestar Galactica," "Van Helsing," "The Expanse," "Jessica Jones," and "Legends of Tomorrow." He was a series regular on the Canadian sci-fi series "Continuum," and most recently recurred on ABC's "A Million Little Things."

Sunny Mabrey finds romance amidst the snakes

Sunny Mabrey's Tiffany splits the flight attendant duties in "Snakes on a Plane" with Claire and Grace. She also handles the majority of the screaming for the supporting cast, but proves more than capable of rescuing passengers, especially Sean, with whom she develops a relationship.

Mabrey began her screen acting career in television commercials and music videos like "Nookie," by Limp Bizkit. Her feature credits included "Species III," as the daughter of the alien played by Natasha Henstridge, "XxX: State of the Union," and as Glenn Close's character, Mamaw, during flashback sequences in Ron Howard's "Hillbilly Elegy."

Mabrey has also worked extensively on television, including a pair of appearances as Glinda, the Good Witch, on "Once Upon a Time" and guest turns on "Mad Men," "The Closer," and "The Librarians." In the late 2010s, Mabrey appeared in several made-for-TV features for Lifetime, including the thriller "The Perfect Mother."

A pre-fame Taylor Kitsch met a grisly end in Snakes

"Snakes on a Plane" gave Taylor Kitsch one of his earliest screen roles, and according to him, it was a memorable experience for all the wrong reasons. Kitsch, who played a passenger who joined the Mile High Club with his girlfriend (Samantha McLeod), is one of the first to die in the film. In an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Kitsch revealed he has a mortal fear of snakes, and didn't know that he would be covered with real, live reptiles in the scene where his corpse pops out of a storage space. "I lost it," he told Kimmel.

Kitsch not only survived the experience, but went on to become a major star in features and on television. His breakout role came as football player Tim Riggins on "Friday Night Lights," which led to appearances in "The Covenant," "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (as Gambit), and Oliver Stone's "Savages." Kitsch later overcame twin failures — "John Carter of Mars" and the second season of "True Detective" — to score high praise for his work on TV miniseries like "Waco" (as cult leader David Koresh) and "Shadowplay." Kitsch also served as executive producer on both.

Kenan Thompson shows how video games can save lives

Kenan Thompson had just begun his 18-year (and counting) stint on "Saturday Night Live" when he signed on to play Troy in "Snakes on a Plane." Troy's job is primarily to serve as comic support to Flex Alexander's germaphobic rapper, Three Gs, though he graduates to hero status when his experience with flight simulator video games helps to land the plane and save the surviving passengers.

Prior to "Snakes," Thompson was best known for his appearances in the "Mighty Ducks" franchise and on Nickelodeon's "All That" and "Kenan and Kel." Though "SNL" commanded the majority of his screen time, Thompson contributed voices to both big-screen "Smurfs" features as well as "The Grinch," and guested on numerous series and game shows, including "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and "Match Game." He stepped into leading man status in 2021 with his own sitcom, "Kenan," while also holding down his duties on "SNL," for which he is currently the longest-running cast member.

Elsa Pataky is one brave mom in Snakes

Spanish model-turned-actress Elsa Pataky is at the heart of a suspenseful subplot in "Snakes on a Plane." She played Maria, a young mother traveling with her infant daughter who is knocked unconscious during the first attack on the main cabin. When Maria revives, she discovers that both she and her daughter have been left behind after the coach passengers fled to first class. Veteran flight attendant Grace rescues them, but loses her life in the process.

Pataky is perhaps best known as Brazilian police officer Elena Neves in four of the "Fast and Furious" titles ("Fast Five" through "The Fate of the Furious"). She's also the wife of "Thor" star Chris Hemsworth, and served as a double for Natalie Portman in the post-credits scene of "Thor: The Dark World." In 2018, the couple appeared together in the military-themed action-thriller "12 Strong," while Pataky enjoyed solo stardom in the Australian fantasy series "Tideland."