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What Ever Happened To The Cast Of Pleasantville?

Directed by Gary Ross, "Pleasantville" is a comedy movie about two teenagers who get sucked into a black-and-white 1950s sitcom and must figure out how to adjust to their new surroundings. When the siblings start exposing the classic television characters to new experiences that go against their predetermined path, the film quickly shifts from a fish-out-of-water comedy into a drama film about the dangers of repression and prejudice, and how the only way to truly live life is to be free to do as you please.

The messages of "Pleasantville" still hold up today, and this is helped by the strength of its cast. The film features many famous faces, ranging from young actors who only got bigger after the film's release to long time veterans lending their talents to an already strong story. Here is a look at what happened to the cast of "Pleasantville" since the film's release back in 1998.

Tobey Maguire – David

The main protagonist of "Pleasantville" was David, the teenager who pushed the town into trying new things and slowly turns the black-and-white sitcom into a colorful world of free expression. Tobey Maguire portrayed the young David, four years before he took on the role of Peter Parker in Sam Raimi's original "Spider-Man" trilogy. Maguire would become synonymous with the character of Spider-Man even after being replaced by both Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland, but all three iterations of the character would finally meet face to face in last year's "Spider-Man: No Way Home."

Outside of the "Spider-Man" films, Maguire can be seen in "Wonder Boys," "The Cider House Rules," "The Great Gatsby" and "Seabiscuit" (which was also directed by Gary Ross). Maguire's production company, Material Pictures, has been behind several films like "Rock of Ages" and "Z for Zachariah." Maguire's next film, "Babylon," is slated to come out in December of 2022.

Reese Witherspoon – Jennifer

David's sister Jennifer, played by Reese Witherspoon, accompanies him on his journey through the television world and is the first to bring color to the television show. The late 1990s and early 2000s featured some of Witherspoon's best or most recognizable works. These include "Election," "Sweet Home Alabama," "Cruel Intentions," "American Psycho" and two "Legally Blonde" films. She also won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as June Carter in the Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line." She recently lent her voice to "Sing 2," and also produces, including the adaptation of Delia Owens novel "Where the Crawdads Sing."

Witherspoon has also been heavily involved in television. She has guest spots on shows like "Friends" and "The Simpsons," and was one of the leads in both seasons of HBO's "Big Little Lies." She recently starred alongside Kerry Washington in Hulu's "Little Fires Everywhere" and his currently one of the leads on Apple TV+'s "The Morning Show."

Don Knotts – TV Repairman

David and Jennifer get sucked into the Pleasantville television show after a repairman gives them a magical remote. Don Knotts, who played the TV repairman, knows a thing or two about being in a classic sitcom. Knotts played the character of Barney Fife for five seasons of "The Andy Griffith Show," one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1960s. He also starred in several older films like "The Shakiest Gun in the West" and "The Incredible Mr. Limpet." Knotts also had a role in another classic sitcom, appearing as Ralph Furley in "Three's Company."

After "Pleasantville," Knotts' live action roles were limited. His last theatrically released film was Disney's "Chicken Little," and his last film overall was the Direct-To-DVD "Air Buddies." Knotts also did various work as a guest star on shows like "That '70s Show" and "8 Simple Rules." He died in February 2006 due to complications with lung cancer at the age of 81.

Joan Allen – Betty Parker

David and Jennifer assume the roles of Bud and Mary Sue Parker respectively, two characters within the Pleasantville television series. One of Bud and Mary Sue's parents, Betty Parker, was played by Joan Allen. Allen was known for her roles as Senator Laine Billings Hanson in "The Contender" (which came out after "Pleasantville"), Pat Nixon in "Nixon," and Elizabeth Proctor in "The Crucible." All three of these roles got Allen nominated at the Academy Awards either for Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress.

Allen later starred in "The Notebook," "Death Race," "The Upside of Anger" and several entries in the "Bourne" film series. To date, the last film she has starred in was 2015's "Room" playing Nancy Newsome, the mother of Brie Larson's character Joy. Allen's television work includes "The Killing," "Luck," and the lead role in "The Family." She also played Amanda Debusher in the Apple TV+ miniseries "Lisey's Story."

William H. Macy – George Parker

Dave and Jennifer's other parent, George Parker, was played by William H. Macy, who many movie lovers might recognize for his Academy Award nominated performance as Jerry Lundegaard in the Coen brothers' movie "Fargo." Macy starred in several other films after "Pleasantville," such as "Sahara," "Air Force One" and "Jurassic Park III." He also had roles in television shows like "ER" and "Sports Night."

Many people know him as Frank Gallagher, the perpetually drunk and often terrible father to the Gallagher children for all 11 seasons of the Showtime dramedy "Shameless." While "Shameless" was on the air, he once again played the husband of Joan Allen's character in "Room," and also starred and directed the 2017 film "Krystal." He also plays physician Richard Fuisz in Hulu's upcoming series "The Dropout," which focuses on Elizabeth Holmes and the fraud she committed with her technology company Theranos.

Jeff Daniels – Bill Johnson

One of the most pivotal characters in "Pleasantville" is Bill Johnson, the owner of the soda shop who yearns to become an artist. Jeff Daniels, who played Mr. Johnson, was already known for films like "Dumb and Dumber" and "Speed" before starring in the film, and is still one of the most sought after actors today.

Daniels has had starring roles in "Good Night and Good Luck," "Looper," "Steve Jobs," "State of Play," "The Divergent Series: Allegiant" and "The Martian." He also has been in several television projects, like his Emmy Award winning role as Will McAvoy in "The Newsroom." His other television shows include historic and political dramas, like playing former FBI director James Comey in the miniseries "The Comey Rule" and playing NY FBI's counter-terrorism chief John O'Neill in another miniseries, "The Looming Tower."

Recently, he was the lead in the short-lived series "American Rust" and played Atticus Finch in Aaron Sorkin's stage adaptation of "To Kill A Mockingbird."

Paul Walker – Skip Martin

Another key character within the sitcom of "Pleasantville" is Skip Martin, a high school student and the main love interest to Jennifer. The man who played Skip Martin, Paul Walker, is most widely recognized as Brian O'Conner from the "Fast & Furious" film franchise. O'Conner played a key role in six of the first seven installments in the film series, with his character being written out in "Furious 7."

The sad reason O'Conner was retired is that Walker died in a car crash in 2013 at the age of 40. "Furious 7" was his final film role, with Walker's siblings stepping in to film his final scenes using CGI. But before his death, Walker was also well-known action and drama star outside of the "Fast" series, appearing in several films like "Takers," "Brick Mansions," "Running Scared," "Eight Below," "Joy Ride," and "Flags of our Fathers."

Marley Shelton – Margaret Henderson

The character of Margaret, a love interest for David, is another high school student in the town of Pleasantville who awakens to the world of color. Marley Shelton played the character, and starred in "Nixon" and "The Sandlot" before appearing in the film. After "Pleasantview," she landed roles in films like "Planet Terror," "Never Been Kissed" and "Sin City." Nowadays, Shelton is known for her role as Sheriff Judy Hicks in the two most recent installments of the "Scream" franchise.

Shelton has also been very active in television with numerous roles in both series and television movies. You can find her on "Mad Men," "Fantasy Island," "American Dad" and "Family Matters." She also had lead roles in short lived shows like "Rise" and "The Lottery," both of which were cancelled after only one season. Another recent and prominent television appearance was her three-episode run on "Manhunt."

J.T. Walsh – Big Bob

The main antagonist of "Pleasantville" is town mayor Big Bob. Played by J.T. Walsh, Big Bob tries to do everything in his power to keep the town in black-and-white, and persecute anyone who tries to change. Big Bob was one of the last film roles for Walsh, who died of a heart attack at the age of 54 five months before the film's release. The last film Walsh ever made was "Hidden Agenda," which was released the next year.

Prior to his death, Walsh was known for appearing in films like "Nixon," "A Few Good Men," and "Good Morning Vietnam." On television, he had a main role in the science fiction series "Dark Skies" and has smaller roles in "L.A. Law," "The X-Files" and "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman." His last television roles were an episode of "C-16: FBI" and the television movie "Hope," the latter of which was directed by Goldie Hawn.

Jane Kaczmarek – David and Jennifer's mother

Betty Parker may be Dave and Jennifer's mother in the sitcom, but their mother in the real world was played by Jane Kaczmarek. Many know Kaczmarek as a different pop culture mother, playing Lois for all seven seasons on "Malcolm in the Middle." Kaczmarek's television career is very extensive before and after "Malcolm in the Middle," as well as before and after "Pleasantville."

She can be seen on "Frasier," "The Simpsons," "Party of Five," This Is Us," "The Big Bang Theory," "Mixed-ish" and two different "Law & Order" series. She also had starring roles in the legal drama "Raising The Bar" and the comedy "Help Me Help You," but neither one of those lasted very long. Kaczmarek's film credits aren't very numerous, with most of them being television movies. She can be seen in films like "CHiPs" and "6 Balloons," and was recently in the 2020 film "Killing Eleanor."

Maggie Lawson – Lisa Anne

There are a number of smaller characters within the world of Pleasantville. One of those is Lisa Anne, one of Mary Sue's sitcom friends, played by Maggie Lawson. "Pleasantville" was the first theatrical film Lawson ever did, and — though she has a few film credits — then the actress has stuck mainly to television.

She had small or recurring roles in "Two and a Half Men," "The Ranch," "Party of Five" and "Lethal Weapon," as well as starring roles in short lived shows like "Crumbs," "Angel From Hell," and "Back in the Game." But Lawson's most prominent role is Detective Juliet O'Hara in the USA Network comedy series "Psych," which followed a man who gets employed by the police when he pretends to by a psychic. Lawson played O'Hara for all eight seasons of the show, and she even reprised her role for three "Psych" films, the first on USA Network and the next two for Peacock.