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Whatever Happened To The Cast Of The Blair Witch Project Movies?

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University of Central Florida film students Dan Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez came up with the idea for "The Blair Witch Project" in 1993 by wanting to make a scary movie like the ones that scared them as little kids, with no help from CGI or special effects. They would eventually send three actors into the woods with cameras in search of the titular witch — along with directions and outlines for scenes — but let them improvise their lines. Sánchez said, "The prime directive was to not give anything away that was fiction."

The opening slate of their finished film lays out the spooky premise to perfection: In October of 1994, three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, while shooting a documentary. A year later, their footage was found.

When the film was released, that's all the audience — at a time when the Internet was just beginning to gain traction — was presented with as far as information about the film. To build up buzz for their $300,000 budgeted film they constructed a website saying that the "students" had really disappeared, and when Artisan Entertainment bought "Blair Witch" at the Sundance Film Festival for $1 million, they ratcheted up the mystery in marketing even more, initially preventing the principal actors from doing press and listing them as deceased on IMDb.

Almost $250 million worldwide box office bucks later, 1999's "The Blair Witch Project" spawned two not-as-well received sequels (2000's "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" and 2016's "Blair Witch"), novels, comic books, video games, spoofs, and even an escape room experience in Las Vegas. It also had a huge influence on the film industry as it "popularized the found-footage approach, for better or for worse," co-director Myrick said. It also put Burkittsville, Maryland on the map, having fans descend upon the town searching for evil, as well as taking dirt from the cemetery and stealing the town's welcome sign.

The legend of the "Witch" lives on, and so do the careers and lives of numerous actors who have appeared in the three films. So, let's get out of the woods and find out what happened to the cast of "The Blair Witch Project" movies.

Heather Donahue (Heather Donahue)

Heather Donahue sadly admits that her "name and face are forever going to be someone else's intellectual property." This is what happened when she shot to stardom playing "herself" as the film's lead believer and documentarian investigator. While she had a "joy" making the film, immediate success afterwards was elusive as the marketing team at Artisan Entertainment wanted truth to exist beyond the fiction, and  for a long time her IMDb profile listed her as dead at age 24. This confusion about her mortality status didn't help land her many subsequent roles, but she did carve out a dozen or so more movies later, before calling it quits on Hollywood in 2007.

Her next move was to the Sierra Nevada foothills, where she became a medical marijuana grower. Donahue's high times became the basis for her green memoir, "Growgirl," which was published in 2012. She then co-created and tried to shop around a pot comedy pilot called "The High Country."

The "one-time actress, full-time curious human," is currently focused on developing a line of herbal skin-care products, and inspiring and teaching others to share their own stories through writing. No matter what adventure she tackles next, she has admitted: "Nothing I do will ever surpass what I did at 24."

Joshua Leonard (Joshua Josh Leonard)

"I was up for any kind of adventure back then, so said yes when the two of them [directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez ] asked me to play the cameraman," Josh Leonard told The Guardian back in 2018. Leonard also experienced troubles being "listed as deceased on IMDb" by the Artisan marketing department, as "our parents started getting condolence calls." His career came very much alive after the film, when he decided to stop "being the guy from 'Blair Witch'" and truly pursued the craft of acting.

A year later he appeared opposite Robert De Niro and Charlize Theron in "Men of Honor," followed by a steady diet of independent films, network TV shows, and video game voice overs. Inspired by his work in Lynn Shelton's improvised 2009 mumblecore film "Humpday," and an interest in exploring "the messiness of the human journey," he branched out as a director, with 2011's "The Lie," and later with 2018's "Dark Was The Night," and 2020's "Fully Realized Humans."

Leonard continues to be a working actor in projects like Steven Soderbergh's 2018 iPhone horror flick "Unsane" and TV series including "Bates Motel" and "Togetherness."

He has been married to fellow actor Alison Pill since 2015. The two appeared together in the 2016 short "Women in Deep," and in the upcoming Peter Hedges film "The Same Storm," but their greatest collaboration might be their daughter Wilder.

Michael C. Williams (Michael Mike Williams)

Michael Williams is a very common name, but the Bronx born sometimes-actor knows you know him better as "Mike" aka "The map guy" aka "The guy in the corner" from "The Blair Witch Project." He feels luckier than he does proud to have been a part of the phenomenon, as he puts it, "I stepped in sh*t and came out smelling like roses."

He extended his resume by guesting on a few TV shows like "Law & Order" and "FBI," as well as reuniting with director Eduardo Sánchez for his 2006 horror film "Altered." Williams enlisted Sánchez and his "Witch" co-star Joshua Leonard for the 2013 webseries "Four Corner of Fears," as he "always thought that it would be funniest to spoof BWP [Blair Witch Project] myself."

While he does have a few new projects on the horizon, Williams has moved away from having a full time career as an actor. He currently works as a school counselor, is an adjunct faculty member at the Jacob Burns Media Arts Lab, and runs the MCW Acting Studio alongside his wife Toni.

Williams is currently writing a book about his debut film, with the working title "Escaping the Most Famous Corner in Hollywood: How I Survived the Blair Witch." In his free time, he enjoys fishing in the great outdoors.

Ed Swanson (Fisherman With Glasses)

Ed Swanson isn't much of a fisherman, nor an actor, but he played up both in "The Blair Witch Project," as our trio of filmmakers headed deep into the woods. Swanson was on director Eduardo Sánchez's softball team and was asked to play a part in the movie. Besides that performance (complete with darkened sunglasses), Swanson hasn't acted outside of community and church theater.

He was in the Marine Corps, and got out right before the Gulf War. This brought him to Maryland where the film was shot, and he still resides there to this day. The almost 56 year old is an artisan who creates clocks from "car part furniture and accessories and whatever else I have half a mind to try and make."

As for his fishing buddy with the hat in the film, Bob Griffin? He had never met him before the film, nor saw him after, but said he passed away 5 or 6 years ago.

Recently, Ed returned to the site of his 15 minutes of fame, and talked about his experiences on the film.

Susie and Ingrid Gooch (Interviewee with Child)

Susie Gooch was in "the right place at the right time" when she and her young daughter Ingrid were interviewed for what they thought was an actual student film. They didn't think much about their ad-libbed lines (and Ingrid's perfectly timed panic attack) until a friend two years later said they'd seen them in a movie called "The Blair Witch Project" (where Susie was listed in the credits as "Jackie Hallex"). When they checked it out for themselves, mom would only let her 5-year-old daughter watch their scene, and the duo left the theater before all the scary stuff played out. Young Ingrid wouldn't see the film in its entirety until its 20th anniversary.

The non-acting, natural ladies relish their roles in the film, and have happily appeared at screenings and filming location tours in the years since. Susie has been a teacher for over 34 years and currently works as a tutor in Maryland. Ingrid graduated from Hood College with a Master's of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, is currently the Lead Clinician at an Outpatient Recovery Centers, is a big Korn fan (who even asked the band which song she should pole dance to), and is engaged to be married.

Check out this interview with The Gooches, as they vividly recall their bewitching good times.

Jeffrey Donovan (Jeffrey Patterson)

Attempting to capitalize on the hoopla behind "The Blair Witch Project," a quasi-sequel, "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2," hit theaters a year later, launching a filming locations "tour" of the first film within this film, led by Jeffery Patterson. Patterson was played by Jeffrey Donovan, who knew the risks of alienating fans of the original by outright saying it was pure fiction, and by trying to make the sequel about "media's impact on events." Fans and critics didn't care for this "not more of the same" approach, but it had little effect on Donovan's career.

His acting visibility started to pick up steam when he appeared in the 2005 Will Smith vehicle "Hitch," and two years later he landed a stint on TV's "Crossing Jordan." Leading man status was achieved when he got noticed as Michael Westen in USA Network's "Burn Notice." In between he played Robert F. Kennedy in Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar," and later his brother John F. in Rob Reiner's "LBJ." Other works of note include Season 2 of "Fargo," playing opposite Angelina Jolie in Eastwood's "Changeling," and in "Lucy in the Sky" alongside Natalie Portman.

While his time on "Burn Notice" may have at times felt like "a prison sentence," he is thankful that he met his wife Michelle Woods while shooting the series. The couple has 3 children. Donovan is a black belt in karate, and a giant Red Sox fan.

Kim Director (Kim Diamond)

When Kim Director heard about a "Blair Witch" sequel she was at first skeptical (and sad that the original team wasn't going to be a part of it), but "hit the floor" when she found out she was going to be directed by acclaimed "Paradise Lost" documentarian Joe Berlinger. She describes her psychic Kim Diamond character in "Book of Shadows" as a "very intuitive, slightly depressed, acidic goth girl." Director feels the follow-up didn't do well because it was marketed wrong, and that it ultimately "had a lot that it had to fight against."

Despite its failure, "Book of Shadows" was a breakout role for Director — actually her forth one, after securing small parts in the Spike Lee films "He Got Game," "Summer of Sam" and "Bamboozled." She reunited with Lee in 2004 for "She Hate Me," 2006's "Inside Man," and the 2017-2019 Netflix series version of his "She's Gotta Have it." Outside of her Lee collaborations, she has kept busy with other films, as well as appearances in notable shows like "Sex and the City," "Law & Order," "Orange is the New Black," "The Good Wife," and "Gotham." One of her larger, more memorable recent roles was as the heroin addicted prostitute Shay on HBO's "The Deuce."

The Pittsburgh born, current "blue-eyed girl in NYC," who sometimes gets mistaken for fellow actress Debi Mazar, keeps up with her "Blair" fans on Twitter and Instagram.

James Allen McCune (James Donahue)

2016's "Blair Witch" was more of a true sequel to the original than "Book of Shadows." It finds Heather's younger brother James (James Allen McCune) heading into those same, scary woods to try and find his sister. McCune has said that he knew "there was a lot of pressure to live up to the standards of the first one," but everyone involved tried to do "justice" to the original, and he applauded the script's "creative take on some of the tropes surrounding the found-footage medium." The film literally gave him nightmares, and in 2016 he told USA Today, "I had dreams of being chased by a creature down an alleyway on a regular basis. I'd have dreams of being ripped apart."

McCune is no stranger to nightmares, having appeared in 11 episodes of "The Walking Dead" as farmhand Jimmy. He has also made appearances on series such as "Shameless," "Homeland," and "How to Get Away with Murder." In films, he's appeared opposite the Rock in "Snitch," and had a role in Mary Harron's tragic Lifetime movie "Anna Nicole." Recently, he has also added the roles of producer and assistant director to his profile, having worked on the web series "Sugar Pine 7," and the short film "Taipei Jesus."

When asked, "Who is James Allen McCune?," his website's answer was, "He doesn't know yet. Please stop asking." He has hosted his own news show called "The Offbeat," composes music, and offers "a very disappointing date with James Allen McCune" for a measly $999.99.

Callie Hernandez (Lisa Arlington)

Lisa Arlington wanted to make a documentary called "The Absence of Closure," including the story of Heather Donahue's brother and her boyfriend James, and even "launched" a Kickstarter to help make it a reality. In reality reality, Lisa Arlington was played by Callie Hernandez, who had a "weirdly fun" time working on the third "Witch" film's memorable dirty tunnel scene. In an interview with /Film, she recalled having a better time handling the close quarters than the claustrophobic "camera guy" did.

Hernandez's acting career didn't start until her early 20s, as she's "usually a little late to the game," but when it did, it started with a bang, landing a role (that was later cut) in Terrence Malick's "Song to Song." That was followed by a trio of parts in Robert Rodriguez projects, including "Machete Kills." While shooting "Witch" in Vancouver, she made a singing tape that led to playing one of Emma Stone's roommates in "La La Land." Her impressive credits also include Ridley Scott's "Alien: Covenant," TV's "Graves" opposite "open and warm" Nick Nolte, and "Under the Silver Lake." Next on her dance card is joining Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel for "Shotgun Wedding."

The self-described "cult classic" Texan is an avid reader, knows how to play the cello, and enjoys dips in secret swimming holes.

Brandon Scott (Peter)

Peter is James' skeptical, childhood friend in the third film, and is played by Tuscaloosa native Brandon Scott (not to be confused with the Mayor of Baltimore). Scott told his hometown newspaper that the third film is "an homage to the first one, but it takes the story to the nth degree." The self-professed movie geek loved working on the film, being in "an environment where you can just be a nerd."

A graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 2004, Scott has racked up north of 70 credits since leaving school. His voice was heard in Disney's "Wreck-It Ralph" and "The Boss Baby" TV series, and he's been seen in everything from Showtime's "Guerilla" to "This is Us" to "Dead to Me" and "Goliath." In a "Blair Witch" alumni pairing, Scott played "Lucky" in Joshua Leonard's 2018 directed feature "Dark Was the Night."

Brandon married fellow actress Jenn Liu in 2017, complete with a dive in the pool in full gown and tux. The pair also took part in the "Disconnected Series," an experimental drama shot by the actors themselves while in quarantine at home.

Corbin Reid (Ashley)

Corbin Reid was "definitely scared" when reading the script for "Blair Witch," for which she was cast as Ashley (Peter's girlfriend, and the supportive friend of James and Lisa). The poor girl gets a nasty infection on her foot during the journey, which is one of the last things you'd want in the deep dark woods.

In real life, Reid was able to escape the forest and nab 13 episode stints on both "How to Get Away with Murder" and "Valor." In 2019, she wrote, directed and executive produced the short film "Blind Sight." She is currently making waves as one of the four strong "women who work, live, and play in Harlem as they strive for world domination" on the Starz series "Run The World." She appreciates that the show is "authentic to the black experience."

The Minnesotan is an avid long-distance runner, a lover of puppies, and interior design. Her dream role is to play Whitney Houston.

Valorie Curry (Talia)

In the third "Blair Witch" film, locals Lane (Wes Robinson) and Talia (Valorie Curry) were conspiracy theorists who found lost footage of Heather Donahue taped to a tree in the woods, setting the plot in motion, with the two acting as guides for James and his friends. Curry never saw the original when she was younger, as she "had a low threshold for fear," adding that she was even "terrified of E.T. as a small child." She said filming was "fun but also scary," and that "it was really freeing and fun to play pure terror and panic."

Curry's early acting career began with 6 episodes of "Veronica Mars," but she took a break soon after to see if another vocation would stick ... and it didn't. She returned to the craft in 2011 with parts on "CSI: NY," "Psych," "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2," and even appearing in blink-182's music video for their song "After Midnight." Her residency on the show "The Following" not only earned her a steady paycheck, but it was also where she met her future husband, actor Sam Underwood. The two have since acted together in a pair of short films, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and even performed music together live. Other notable works are Ewan McGregor's "American Pastoral," voicing Kara in the video game "Detroit: Become Human," and "The Tick" TV series.

Soon she will appear in Peacock's adaptation of Dan Brown's young Robert Langdon novel "The Lost Symbol." And, for the record, "The Babadook" is the scariest film she has ever seen, and her favorite dinner is "steak frites and a bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir."