What the cast of Freaks and Geeks looks like today

Paul Feig and Judd Apatow's nostalgic Freaks and Geeks failed to make it an entire season before being canceled, but is remembered fondly by all but the most heartless of TV-viewers. The canceled-too-soon series featured a then-relatively-unknown cast of future stars, launching most of the main cast into successful Hollywood careers. Some actors and actresses, however, were never heard from again, making us wonder: what does the entire cast of the best single-season, high-school-centered dramatic comedy look like today? And furthermore, what are they doing?

Linda Cardellini — Lindsay Weir

Linda Edna Cardellini has, since the days of Freaks and Geeks, grown up from an angsty, pot-sampling teenager to a radiant adult—who's making the 40s look like the new 30s. Like a good portion of the show's cast, Cardellini used Paul Feig's nostalgic, one-season series as a launchpad for a successful acting career. 

Though Freaks and Geeks wasn't technically her first gig—having made one-episode appearances in 3rd Rock from the Sun, Step by Step, Kenan & Kel, and having randomly played Heather, the "psychopath," in Good Burger—the leading-role in NBC's turn-of-the-century dramatic comedy surely served as her breakthrough. 

Since those early days, you have probably caught Cardellini as Samantha Taggart in ER, as Don Draper's neighbor in Mad Men, as Cassie in Brokeback Mountain, or as Laura Barton in Avengers: Age of Ultron. These days, you can catch Cardellini starring as Meg Rayburn in the Netflix original series Bloodline.

John Francis Daley — Sam Weir

The actor behind the pre-pubescent high school freshman and kid brother to half-freak, half-geek Lindsay Weir no longer needs to worry about when he'll grow up and start sporting some chest hair. 

Sam Weir was John Francis Daley's first major role and, since then, the actor has found success both on screen and behind the scenes. Daley is well-known for his role as FBI criminal profiler Dr. Lance Sweets on FOX's hit drama Bones, but also notably co-wrote Horrible Bosses, which was a success both critically and at the box office. Fans of Daley's work can look forward to his next film, Game Night, starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, due out in early 2018—which the former teenage star is co-directing.

James Franco — Daniel Desario

We last see too-cool-for-school, held-back-twice badass and heartthrob Daniel Desario playing Dungeons & Dragons with Linday's little brother and friends—but that certainly was not the last stop for the series' notable face.

Easily the most famous of all Freaks and Geeks cast members, James Franco is a full-fledged icon of 2000s acting—receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Golden Globe for his role as James Dean in the TV biographical film by the same name, and more mainstream and independent awards and nominations than you can shake a pack of cigarettes at. 

His most notable roles include Harry Osborn in the Spider-Man trilogy, the stoned, cross-joint smoking drug dealer in Pineapple Express, Scott Smith in Milk, the platinum-teethed Riff Raff look-alike alien in Spring Breakers, and Will Rodman in both Rise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Outside of film, Franco is all over the place, having acted on dozens of episodes of General Hospital, been the face of a Gucci fragrance line, tried his hand at penning short stories, hosted Saturday Night Live, created various independent multi-media art projects, and taught high school film classes. Nobody can ever be sure what's next for the sex-symbol, but one thing is certain: we can expect to keep seeing a lot more of Franco as time goes on.

Samm Levine — Neal Schweiber

Whether he's riling up Sam Weir, trying to sweet talk Lindsay Weir, talking about how excited he is to one day grow chest hair, or spooling up some old-school pornography on his family's projector, Samm Levine's lovable freshman geek Neal Schweiber exudes confidence and charisma—or, at least, thinks he does. So what happened to the self-styled smooth operator with the bar mitzvah dough?

These days, Levine is indeed sporting a neatly-trimmed beard and—it's safe to assume—chest hair, and his current appearance would surely serve to make prepubescent Schweiber even more confident in his future. Since Freaks and Geeks, Levine has appeared in a variety of largely-unknown short films and television shows, with only one other major gig to his name: PFC Hirschberg in Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds, which he landed, in part, thanks to the director's being a fan of the show. These days, you can catch Levine side-kicking and occasionally hosting Kevin Pollak's Chat Show, archived on both YouTube and iTunes.

Seth Rogen — Ken Miller

It's hard to believe that famous funny man Seth Rogen got his acting start on Freaks and Geeks, but it was, indeed, the 1999-2000 single-season show that first truly showcased the film-maker's acting chops. Playing no-nonsense, sarcasm-dropping, baby-faced tough guy Ken Miller, Rogen's role was merely the first of many alongside costars James Franco, Jason Segel, and the rest of the crew who appear regularly in works by the show's executive producer Judd Apatow. 

Rogen has since written, produced and/or starred in a whole slew of recognizable comedic heavy hitters, including The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Pineapple Express, and Funny People—and he shows no signs of slowing down in the film industry. Fans of the comedian might even be lucky enough to hear him voice Pumba in a Disney live-action remake of The Lion King. Keep your fingers crossed.

Jason Segel — Nick Andopolis

It's possible that the no-longer-baby-faced Jason Segel is the most internationally recognizable actor from the Freaks and Geeks cast, though certainly not because of Judd Apatow's show. Rather, another show rocketed Segel into the mainstream—namely, the hugely-popular How I Met Your Mother, in which the former actor of wannabe-professional-drummer Nick Andopolis moved on to playing Marshall Eriksen. Segel also starred in Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I Love You, Man, and Sex Tape, among other popular films. Honestly, if you're watching something starring or produced by Seth Rogen or Judd Apatow, there's a good chance Segel is involved.

In 2015, Segel was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead, thanks to his critically-acclaimed role as author David Foster Wallace in The End of the Tour. He can most recently be seen starring in Netflix's 2017 film The Discovery where, unlike Nick Andopolis, he isn't still hung up on Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham's death.

Martin Starr — Bill Haverchuck

Unlike James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and the rest of the cast, the actor behind uber-geek Bill Haverchuck is probably the least recognizable Freaks and Geeks cast member. Played by Martin Starr, it's easy to not make the connection between the actor then and now, thanks, in part, to Starr's penchant for beards—a fact mocked in Knocked Up, where he makes a bet with his Freaks and Geeks co-stars as to how long he can go without shaving, resulting in an onslaught of verbal abuse. 

Other than being likened to "Robin William's knuckles" by Rogen and crew in the famous comedy of prenatal proportions, Starr played Roman DeBeers in Party Down, Sam in NTSF:SD:SUV::, and — perhaps most notably—currently plays Bertram Gilfoyle in HBO's Silicon Valley. Don't expect to stop seeing Starr on television anytime soon.

Becky Ann Baker — Jean Weir

Jean Weir is basically the mother everyone wants. She always cooks delicious meals, loves and supports her children unconditionally, keeps her husband in check, and provides that adorably cheesy, motherly comedy that makes you feel all warm and cozy inside. Today, a difference in hair color from the Freaks and Geeks days can't mask Becky Ann Baker's warm expression, making the actress instantly recognizable to any fan of the show.

In addition to a slew of cameos on various television shows—such as Law & Order, Oz, Nurse Jackie and countless others, Baker's most notable role outside of Apatow's series is surely as Loreen Horvath on HBO's Emmy Award-winning Girls. Other than that, we can expect Baker to keep popping up randomly in famous shows until she one day decides to call it quits.

Busy Philipps — Kim Kelly

High-school badass Kim Kelly could definitely kick some ass, if need be—just ask James Franco. Today, actress Busy Philipps looks pretty much the same as she did almost two decades ago—and could surely still kick some serious ass, if need be.

Though Freaks and Geeks was Philipps' breakout role, most fans of the actress will probably recognize her as Audrey Liddell from early-2000s guilty pleasure Dawson's Creek. The blonde bombshell also starred in Love, Inc., ER, and Cougar Townwinning the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for the latter in 2011. She currently plays Gale Liptrapp on HBO's Vice Principals.

Steve Bannos — Frank Kowchevski

Known on Freaks and Geeks for hassling students loitering in the school's hallways and being not the friendliest math teacher we've ever seen, Steve Bannos' acting career isn't particularly extensive. Today, sporting a mustache and an even more grizzled expression, Bannos looks like one authority figure we wouldn't want to butt heads with.

Aside from both acting in and writing for the Apatow's TV show, Bannos often makes minor cameo and supporting appearances in popular films, such as Bridesmaids, Funny People, Superbad, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Pineapple Express, and anything else in which you can find other Freaks and Geeks cast members. He also played Mr. Combover and Mr. Gross on the Nickelodeon's Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, and also wrote for the children's network's famous cartoon Doug. He currently lends his copywriting talents to the entertainment industry.

Dave Allen — Jeff Rosso

The connection between Freaks and Geeks Jeff Rosso and today's Dave Allen is crystal clear. He may have a bit less hair, a longer beard, and have gone gray, but Allen's friendly face still looks like the wise, hippie, kinda-cool, kinda-lame guidance counselor who'd score major cred for rocking out to Alice Cooper and lending out his Grateful Dead LPs, but administer some tough love when calling you out on your fake ID.

Allen's role as Jeff Rosso is probably his most notable, though the actor is also known for playing Mr. Kwest on Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide and the second troubadour in the more-witty-than-you series Gilmore Girls. Most recently, the wizard-esque actor has appeared as a recurring taxidermist on NBC's Trial & Error.

If we ever met Allen in a dark alley, we'd probably prefer he be a friendly guidance counselor over a taxidermist.

Sarah Hagan — Millie Kentner

Known primarily as Millie, the Bible-loving mathlete who always tries her best to keep Lindsay on the light-side of the force, Sarah Hagan has largely flown under the radar in the television industry. Since Freaks and Geeks, Hagan has only nabbed the noteworthy recurring role of Amanda in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Aside from that, the actress has made a handful of cameo appearances in the typical run of cameo-hungry shows, such as Grey's Anatomy, Medium, Close to Home, and NCIS. If you're into ceramics, you can also buy pieces from her official web shop—though be warned, some are a bit on the pricey side.

Jerry Messing — Gordon Crisp

Those who know Jerry Messing as an actor might recognize him as the Freaks and Geeks side-character Gordon Crisp, or as the occasional pop-in on Even Stevens. Messing hasn't had much of an acting career, however, and it's highly likely that most people recognize him as "The Fedora Guy"—a popular internet meme featuring Messing, as you might have guessed, in a fedora. 

The iconic image of the actor has come to represent negative internet tropes, such as "trolls" and "neckbeards," but Messing couldn't care less—telling BuzzFeed, "I'm certainly not thrilled with the communities the photo has come to represent, but it isn't something I can really do anything about—so I don't let it bother me." It appears Messing's attitude towards life mirrors his Freaks and Geeks character's, in that he doesn't worry about things outside of his control.

Who knows if we'll see Messing make an appearance in any television shows anytime soon, but we're sure the meme isn't going anywhere.

Stephen Lea Sheppard — Harris Trinsky

Playing the slightly-older, slightly-wiser geek whom freshmen Sam, Neil, and Bill regularly come to for advice, Stephen Lea Sheppard is one of the few Freaks and Geeks actors whom you've probably never seen again.

After playing Dudley Heinsbergen in the 2001 Wes Anderson classic The Royal Tenenbaums and Harris Trinksy in Apatow's high-school dramatic comedy, Sheppard's acting career abruptly ended. According to Maclean's, Sheppard simply quit looking for acting gigs a few years after The Royal Tenenbaums, ending up in a one-room apartment in Surrey, B.C. 

Though he credits Freaks and Geeks for, in some ways, saving his life, Sheppard simply didn't have the self-promotional and people skills necessary to make it in the acting biz. A true geek at heart, Sheppard has since lived an unremarkable life, reviewing video games for VICE in past years, moderating gaming forums and, according to his personal Twitter, writing role-playing game supplements—making him the most authentic geek on Freaks and Geeks, period.

Chauncey Leopardi — Alan White

Alan White may be a well-known jerk and all-around bully in Freaks and Geeks, but that's by no means the character Chauncey Leopardi is known for. Rather, almost every human alive who has seen The Sandlot knows Leopardi by his real claim to fame: playing Michael "Squints" Palledorous. These days, the actor behind Squints still looks like the bespectacled Mr. Steal Your Girl, while also looking like the type of dude who'd steal your towel after a gym class shower and force you to run naked through the school.

Aside from those two major roles, Leopardi's acting career ultimately fizzled out. He was in a handful of Gilmore Girl episodes as Kyle, and one episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, but he never landed another major gig of any significance after Apatow's production. These days, Leopardi maintains a fairly active Twitter presence, under the name @_squintz.