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Anthony LaPaglia (Joe)
THEN: LaPaglia played Joe, the manager of Empire Records and father figure for its disparate group of isolated teenage employees. With the help of his young workers, Joe saves the store from corporate takeover, and is rewarded when Beck sells him the shop.
NOW: LaPaglia won an Emmy in 2002 for his guest stint on Frasier as Daphne Moon's drunken brother Simon, and was nominated in 2004 for his starring role as FBI missing persons detective Jack Malone on Without a Trace.
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Renee Zellweger (Gina)
THEN: In the film’s undeniable breakout performance, Zellweger played Gina, an Empire employee whose effortless confidence allows her to seduce aging pop idol Rex Manning.
NOW: Zellweger’s career skyrocketed after Empire Records. She officially broke into the mainstream with Jerry Maguire, then went on a run of multiple Oscar nominations (Bridget Jones’ Diary, Chicago) before finally winning a statue for Cold Mountain. She's been absent from the screen the past few years, but is set to return to Bridget Jones with a sequel next year.
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Liv Tyler (Corey)
THEN: A classic example of the pretty, smart student who’s secretly falling apart on the inside, Tyler's Corey is the only Empire employee legitimately excited for “Rex Manning Day.” But after the star rebuffs her seduction attempts, her cheery façade crumbles to reveal anger issues and a pill addiction.
NOW: Tyler followed up Empire Records with a starring role as Bruce Willis’ daughter in Armageddon, before giving Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies a much-needed female hero in the form of elf princess Arwen. She continued her nerd-adaptation streak as Betty Ross in The Incredible Hulk, and recently appeared on HBO’s The Leftovers.
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Debi Mazar (Jane)
THEN: Mazar’s Jane starts out as Rex Manning’s beleaguered assistant, but eventually ditches him for the free spirits of Empire Records, supporting the employees' attempts to save their store. She seems particularly impressed by Joe.
NOW: Mazar gained a real following as a divorce attorney on Civil Wars. She then had a recurring role on Entourage as Vince Chase’s publicist, and currently stars as Maggie on Younger. She also hosts a cooking show, Extra Virgin, with her husband Gabriele Corcos on the Cooking Channel.
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Ethan Embry (Mark)
THEN: Embry's Mark ends up solving the Empire employees' central problem when he spontaneously promotes a “Save the Empire” campaign in front of news cameras covering a robbery. The resulting fundraiser gets Joe enough money to stop a takeover and buy the store from disinterested owner Mitchell Beck.
NOW: Embry continued his teen-movie streak with Can’t Hardly Wait, before going a different route on Showtime's Brotherhood as a detective hunting down mobsters (who are also his childhood friends).
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Johnny Whitworth (A.J.)
THEN: As lovesick A.J., Whitworth spends the movie pining after Corey. Her initial rebuttal of his advances gives him the confidence and independence to finally enroll in art school. It all works out in the end – his art school is in Boston, giving him and Harvard-bound Corey the potential to develop their relationship.
NOW: Whitworth took a short break from acting after his first few movies. He reappeared in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Rainmaker, and later joined Empire Records co-star Rory Cochrane on CSI: Miami. More recently, he took a villainous turn as the demonic Blackout in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.
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Rory Cochrane (Lucas)
THEN: As Lucas, Cochrane sets the film’s plot into motion when he stupidly gambles away a day’s worth of receipts at an Atlantic City casino, leaving Empire Records vulnerable to takeover from franchise chain Music Town.
NOW: Cochrane’s biggest post-Empire Records roles included POW drama Hart’s War, Richard Linklater’s animated sci-fi adaptation A Scanner Darkly, and a recurring role on CSI: Miami. He recently turned up as one of the hostages in Argo and Whitey Bulger's right-hand man in Black Mass.
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Maxwell Caulfield (Rex Manning)
THEN: Caulfield played aging pop icon Rex Manning, whose agreement to do a signing day at Empire Records provides the central setting of the movie ("Rex Manning Day"). Slowly realizing that his fanbase has aged as much as him, a despairing Rex gives in to advances from an underage Gina, which gets him kicked out of the store.
NOW: In addition to various TV and movie credits, Caulfield has had a successful theatre career. He’s currently in the middle of an Australian tour of Legends! with his wife Julie Mills. He also took a crack at James Bond, voicing the iconic superspy in the 2002 video game 007: Nightfire.
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Robin Tunney (Debra)
THEN: Tunney’s suicidal Debra is the heart of the movie. Though she starts out mean, isolated, and depressed, she starts to overcome her problems thanks to Joe’s kindness and her friends’ support. Deb's peace of mind gives her the strength to save the store from a gun-wielding Warren.
NOW: After Empire Records, Tunney made her biggest mark in TV. She starred as Agent Teresa Lisbon on The Mentalist and lawyer Veronica Donovan on Prison Break.
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Brendan Sexton III (Warren Beatty)
THEN: "Warren Beatty" is one of the more enigmatic characters in Empire Records. He spends "Rex Manning Day" hanging with Empire employees in the back room after they bust him for shoplifting. He eventually returns with a gun, but he’s really only interested in a job at the store, and is quickly talked down by Deb.
NOW: Sexton appeared in Black Hawk Down, though he has since voiced concerns about the political message of the film. He also starred as Belko Royce in the first two seasons of The Killing.