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Whatever Happened To The Cast Of Johnny Mnemonic?

It's been 26 years since "Johnny Mnemonic" flopped, and the film's failure seems just as shocking today as it did in 1995. The screenplay was written by beloved cyberpunk author William Gibson, who adapted the story from a short story he'd published years ago in the collection "Burning Chrome." Gibson worked very closely with first time director Robert Longo, who years later told "Johnny Mnemonic" actor Henry Rollins that the project was a "torturous" endeavor full of studio interference, that left him with "post-traumatic stress."

In a 1995 conversation published by Wired, Gibson and Longo recalled how they'd wanted to make the film for $1.5 million but couldn't find the money. "We went in and asked for a million and a half, and they laughed," Gibson said. "It wasn't until we started asking for much more that they started taking it seriously." The film ended up being given a $30 million budget and what had been planned as a simple production quickly became an incomprehensible mess.

What makes the failure of "Johnny Mnemonic" unique is that the film was not just stuffed with money, but also star power. With all kinds of talent from all over the world including Keanu Reeves, Beat Takeshi, Ice-T, Dolph Lundgren, Barbara Sukowa, and Rollins it seemed like that impressive acting lineup would pull the movie into greatness. Instead, the elements never properly came together, but the astounding cast of "Johnny Mnemonic" went on to make an impact across the film industry. Here's where they are today.

Keanu Reeves (Johnny Mnemonic)

When "Johnny Mnemonic" came out in 1995, Keanu Reeves wasn't the mega-star he is today, but he was already well on his way there. Four years earlier the actor starred in "Point Break," and he was fresh off the hit movie "Speed." In fact, Reeves explained in an interview that he'd gotten the script for "Johnny Mnemonic" while he was still working with Dennis Hopper and Sandra Bullock. "I came home one day from filming on 'Speed' and [the script] was sitting [on the porch], and I was like 'Hmm, a script.'" Because Reeves was a big fan of "Neuromancer," the debut novel from the author and screenwriter behind "Johnny Mnemonic," he decided to join the film.

"Johnny" wasn't the sci-fi smash it could have been, but that did nothing to put a damper on his career. Four years later Reeves starred in "The Matrix" and became a household name. These days, of course, he's the star of the "John Wick" franchise and this December he'll reprise his most famous role as Neo in "The Matrix: Resurrections."

Dina Meyer (Jane)

Unlike Keanu Reeves, Dina Meyer was a relatively fresh face in Hollywood in 1995. She'd been a recurring cast member on "Beverly Hills, 90210" since 1993, but "Johnny Mnemonic" would be her very first feature film. In an interview with Bobbie Wygant, Meyers said she thought her television role "had absolutely nothing" to do with her getting a part in the film because the two characters she plays are almost diametrically opposed to each other. She had to push director Robert Longo to give her a chance in the film, and her performance clearly shows Longo made the right decision.

"Johnny Mnemonic" was just the beginning for Meyer. Two years later she starred in the iconic sci-fi film "Starship Troopers." Meyer went on to have an incredibly busy career with roles in television shows like "Birds of Prey" and "Point Pleasant." She also made multiple appearances in the "Saw" franchise. In 2021 she can be seen in The CW series "All American." According to IMDB she's also in two films that are in post-production: "A Picture Perfect Holiday" and "Nightshade."

Ice-T (J-Bone)

Ice-T started releasing music in the '80s, but he wasn't a stranger to working in film when he joined the cast of "Johnny Mnemonic." He'd just come off of "Tank Girl," which would also premiere in 1995. In an interview with PROPS magazine in Canada, Ice-T said he'd taken the role in "Tank Girl" because he was interested in horror films and that he "had a reason for every movie I did."

After "Johnny Mnemonic" Ice-T started dedicating more of his time to acting. His list of acting credits on IMDB include an impressive array of feature films strung through the years and even some voice acting roles in video games like "Gears of War" and "Borderlands 3." He's probably best known for his work as a cast member on "Law & Order: SVU," Ice-T has been a part of the show for over 20 years, appearing in well over 450 episodes.

Takeshi Kitano (Takahashi)

Takeshi Kitano is a comedian, television host, actor, director, and writer who is better known under his stage name Beat Takeshi. He was already an established presence in Japan when he signed on to "Johnny Mnemonic," having worked on movies and television series in his home country for well over a decade. While he was a major presence in Japan, he wasn't well known around the world in 1995. In an interview with J. Hoberman, Kitano revealed that he didn't have a particularly good time working on the sci-fi film. "'Johnny Mnemonic' was a nightmare," he said. "I felt like a child invited to Disneyland. I was pleased that I got the chance to visit the real Disneyland. But I returned to Japan without being able to ride on any of the attractions."

Luckily, when Kitano returned to Japan his creative pace didn't slow for a moment. In 2000 he starred in "Battle Royale" in what is, at least internationally, his best known role. Kitano continues to work as an actor, writer, and filmmaker today. In 2017 he finished directing his "Outrage" trilogy, and in 2020 he played a role in the miniseries "The Forgotten Army." In 2021, a biopic about Takeshi Kitano's life, based on his novel "Asakusa Kid," was released on Netflix.

Denis Akiyama (Shinji)

Denis Akiyama is a Canadian-born actor who started working in television series in the mid-80s. His first feature film was 1987's "Captive Hearts." By the time he landed a role as the villain Shinji in "Johnny Mnemonic," he had half a dozen films under his belt, as well as roles in TV series and a handful of voice acting roles.

Television and voice acting continued to draw Akiyama after "Johnny Mnemonic." He played Dockwell in "Wild C.A.T.s" as well as the Silver Samurai and Iceman in "X-Men: The Animated Series." He continued to be interested in sci-fi and took roles in films like "Repo Men" and "Resident Evil: Afterlife."

In his later years, Akiyama played roles in films of varying genres. He had a memorable part as Professor Iwatani in the family film "Pixels," but he also took roles in the romantic drama "Kiss and Cry" and the superpowered action film "Kill Order." Akiyama passed away on June 28, 2018 at the age of 66. His last role was in the television series "Carter."

Dolph Lundgren (Street Preacher)

Dolph Lundgren is a beloved action movie star who started making a name for himself in 1985 with roles in "A View to a Kill" and "Rocky IV." He's never been much of a critical success, but Lundgren already had a cult following by the '90s. Speaking with Henry Rollins, "Johnny Mnemonic" director Robert Longo explained that it was the studio's decision to hire Lundgren into the film to build more buzz. Longo and writer William Gibson gave Lundgren the role of a bizarre street preacher at the last minute because they couldn't decide what to do with him.

Lundgren may have been unceremoniously shoved into "Johnny Mnemonic," but the film's poor critical reception did nothing to damper his growing career. Lundgren has over 95 acting credits on IMDB, and he's still going strong. The 63-year-old actor has three films scheduled for release in 2021, four scheduled for 2022, and he's currently working on "The Expendables 4" and "Wanted Man."

Henry Rollins (Spider)

When he joined the cast of "Johnny Mnemonic," Henry Rollins wasn't exactly an acting veteran, but he was no stranger to performing. Rollins had made a name for himself in the '80s as the lead singer of the legendary punk band Black Flag. He pivoted into acting in the '90s, and "Johnny Mnemonic" was only his third feature film. Interviewing Robert Longo, he told the director that while shooting the final fight scene for the film, a missed cue caused Dolph Lundgren to accidentally punch him square in the face. "My DNA uncoiled," Rollins said. "I found a new religion. He hit me so hard, and it just stopped."

Rollins continued acting in television and film for a decade after working with Lundgren on Gibson's sci-fi adaptation. Like other "Johnny Mnemonic" alums, Rollins found himself getting into some voice acting roles. Most recently he was heard in the Netflix release "Masters of the Universe: Revelations." He is currently filming for the series "New-Gen," a comic book adaptation.

Barbara Sukowa (Anna Kalmann)

German actress Barbara Sukowa was already an established star in 1995. She started out working in German television series in the late '70s and by 1981 she'd secured her first feature film role as the title character in "Lola." So how does a German actress end up in "Johnny Mnemonic?" Well, Sukowa was already acting in English-language films, but she was actually engaged at the time to Robert Longo, the film's director. The two of them were married from 1994 to 2018 and had three children together.

Sukowa left "Johnny Mnemonic" and went on to continue her prolific acting career. To date, she has 65 acting credits on IMDB, ranging from shows like "12 Monkeys" to films such as "Atomic Blonde." In June of 2021 The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the 71-year-old Sukowa had been cast in "The Swarm," a television series that adapts the immensely popular Frank Schätzing sci-fi novel. The series is currently scheduled for release sometime in 2022.

Udo Kier (Ralfi)

Udo Kier is a legendary actor, and he was already immensely successful in 1995. His first feature film, "Shameless," was released in 1968, when Kier was just 24 years old. From then, Kier hardly ever stopped to take a break. The man is still acting today, and his credits on IMDB include well over 200 roles in films, television series, and video games.

Kier currently has two films that are in post-production. "The Ark: An Iron Sky Story" is about two college dropouts simultaneously discovering an alien signal from the moon and the existence of the Illuminati, who may count Kier's character among their ranks. In "My Neighbor, Adolf" Kier plays Mr. Herzog, who moves to Colombia in the '60s only to end up living next door to a man who believes he is Adolf Hitler in disguise.

In addition to those two films, Kier has appeared in four different feature films in 2021. He's also currently starring in two ongoing television series: "The Kingdom" and "Hunters." At 77 years old, Kier is as hardworking an actor as ever.

Tracy Tweed (Pretty)

For some of the actors involved in its production, "Johnny Mnemonic" was just another stop on a long journey. For others, the film was the beginning of a promising career. For Tracy Tweed, however, it was the end of the road. Tweed broke into the film scene with 1992's "Live Wire." From there she went on to star in "Sunset Heat," "Night Rhythms," and "Night Eyes Three" in the space of just two years.

After "Johnny Mnemonic," Tweed left acting behind, but it wasn't the last time her fans saw her. From 2006 to 2012, Tweed made regular appearances in the reality television series "Gene Simmons: Family Jewels." According to Tweed's IMDB bio, her sister is Gene Simmons's wife, Shannon Lee Tweed Simmons. Tweed hasn't spent much time in front of the camera since "Family Jewels" ended in 2012, but she's kept busy raising her daughter and twin sons.

Don Francks (Hooky)

Born in 1932, Don Francks was a true performer. According to his IMDB bio, Francks got his start as a singer and jazz musician, and he moved into television acting in the mid-50s. Francks was especially valued for his voice acting, and in the years leading up to "Johnny Mnemonic" he lent his talents to animated shows like "Garbage Pail Kids," "The Care Bears," "Police Academy: The Animated Series," and "The Legend of Zelda."

Francks was 63 when "Johnny Mnemonic" came out, but he still had quite the career ahead of him. He did voices for shows like "Monster Force" and "X-Men: The Animated Series," but he also acted in live-action shows like "La Femme Nikita" and, later, "Hemlock Grove." Not content to stop acting until the very end, Franck also threw himself into roles in films like "Lie with Me," "I'm Not There," and "He Never Died." Francks was 84 when he passed away in 2016. His final role was in "The Second Time," a film that came out the same year he died.

Von Flores (Viet)

According to IMDB, Von Flores is the stage name of Valentin Andres Tanga Flores IV. Born in 1960, Flores began acting in television in the late '80s. Flores played the lead role in the series "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues" from 1993 to 1996. In the midst of working on that series, Flores joined the cast of "Johnny Mnemonic."

In 1997 Flores rejoined his "Johnny Mnemonic" costar Don Francks for an episodes on "La Femme Nikita." From there he continued working primarily on television while also picking up the occasional feature film. Flores notably had a recurring role as Mr. Joseph Santos in "Degrassi: The Next Generation" from 2005 to 2008.

Flores continues to work today. In 2020, he had a regular role in the miniseries "Rising Suns" as well as guest appearances in "Coroner" and "Nurses." Since 2005, Flores has been making appearances on "Air Crash Investigation," with his latest coming in the 2021 episode "Grounded: Boeing MAX 8."