Catching up with '90s pop culture icons -- We find out what's going on with Coolio, Joe Eszterhas, Janine Turner and Jean-Claude Van Damme
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Jean-Claude Van Damme

THEN Kickboxed his way from Belgium to box office gold
In 1998, Jean-Claude Van Damme came to EW to promote one of his last U.S. movie releases, Knock Off, and to reveal his cocaine addiction and near overdose. Seven years later, the kickboxing fiend who shot to fame with B-movie classics like Lionheart, Universal Soldier, and Timecop says he’s ready to take back his career. ”I believe I’m stronger than ever,” exclaims the Belgian butt kicker. His strength will come in handy when he returns to film a sequel to the movie that made him a star, Bloodsport. ”We’re going to use real fighters. No cable work. No CGI,” says Van Damme, now 44. And in Second in Command, due in 2006, he plays an ”official” who must protect a U.S. embassy from an invading militia. As long as he’s setting the record straight, we had to ask: Does Van Damme mind being referred to as the Muscles From Brussels? ”It’s better than the Idiot From Brussels,” he says. — Tim Stack

Coolio

THEN Earned himself a Grammy making a gangsta’s paradise
For Coolio, 1995 was good. ”It definitely changed my life,” he recalls of the year that ”Gangsta’s Paradise” ruled airwaves, picked up a Grammy, turned the Dangerous Minds soundtrack into a hit, and made him one of EW’s Entertainers of the Year. ”My stock went up. I became not just known, but really well known around the world.” He’s leveraged that international profile to his advantage, so when his U.S. recording career went south — his last major release, 1997’s My Soul, didn’t sell well — the L.A. rapper picked up the slack with a plethora of European touring. Just back from a month of gigs in Switzerland, France, and Italy, Coolio explains his Continental appeal. ”They like my persona or whatever. It’s not about me having a hit record right now.” When not rocking European burgs like Verona and Frankfurt, Coolio has created a steady career in B-grade action flicks, his latest being Sci Fi Channel’s Pterodactyl, about — let us guess: ”Pterodactyls come to life, and I play an Army captain trying to depose them.” Between slaughtering dinosaurs and performing ”Fantastic Voyage” for Italian-speaking crowds, Coolio has jumped back into recording. He’s got a whole new album, Return of the Gangsta, coming out in Europe later this year (so far, no plans for a U.S. release), and he gave us a few titles: ”A Lady Gangsta,” ”Gangsta Walk,” and…wait for it, ”Keep It Gangsta.” But what does it sound like, Coolio? ”It’s gangsta! It’s hardcore and straight gangsta!” — Michael Endelman

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