'Freaks and Geeks': Where Are They Now?
For one all-too-brief, glorious season, some serious comedic talents teamed up for a stint at Chippewa, Michigan’s William McKinley High School. While Freaks and Geeks was canceled in 2000 after only 18 episodes, the short-lived series from Paul Feig and Judd Apatow continues its legacy more than a decade later. Catch up with the famous faces who walked the halls, then and now, ahead.
Linda Cardellini (Lindsay Weir)
THEN: Linda Cardellini found her spot at school as Lindsay Weir, a smart young woman who rolls with some particularly freaky friends. The actress picked up the gig a few years into her career after hitting the big screen in Good Burger and making appearances in late ’90s episodes of 3rd Rock from the Sun, Step by Step, Kenan & Kel, and Boy Meets World.
NOW: The year after Freaks and Geeks wrapped, Cardellini nabbed two big gigs, playing Chutney in Legally Blonde and Velma in Scooby-Doo. She went on to reprise the latter role in Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004), expanded her résumé with a role in Brokeback Mountain (2005), and spent six years playing Nurse Samantha Taggart on ER. In recent years, the star appeared in a handful of 2014 episodes of New Girl as Abby Day, landed a nine-episode arc as Sylvia Rosen on Mad Men, and joined Bloodline in 2015 as Meg Rayburn. After appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Laura Barton, aka the wife of Hawkeye, she now stars on Netflix’s dramedy Dead to Me.
John Francis Daley (Sam Weir)
THEN: John Francis Daley joined Freaks and Geeks as Sam Weir, the little brother to Cardellini’s Lindsay Weir. The quiet comedy enthusiast finds his clique in the geeks. Daley, who made his debut on the show when he was 14 years old, earned his very first credited on-screen role for his turn as Sam.
NOW: Daley filled his teen years with acting gigs. As Freaks and Geeks came to a close, the young star busied himself with appearances in early 2000s episodes of Boston Public, The Geena Davis Show, Spin City, and Kitchen Confidential. He also hit the big screen in View from the Top (2003), Waiting… (2005), and Horrible Bosses (2011). In recent years, he played Dr. Lance Sweets on Bones, and acted alongside Ed Helms and Christina Applegate in 2015’s Vacation. But his real career renaissance has come with him stepping behind-the-scenes, having penned scripts for films like Horrible Bosses, Horrible Bosses 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, directing Game Night and Vacation, and producing Stuber.
James Franco (Daniel Desario)
THEN: In 1999, with just a few credits to his name, a then-unknown actor by the name of James Franco landed the part of Freaks and Geeks‘ Daniel Desario. Franco started playing the charming freak after making early appearances in Never Been Kissed (1999) and ’90s episodes of Pacific Blue and To Serve and Protect.
NOW: Freaks and Geeks was just the beginning for Franco, who appeared in Whatever It Takes when the show wrapped, going on to appear in Spider-Man (2002) as Harry Osborn and reprising the role in 2004’s Spider-Man 2 and 2007’s Spider-Man 3. The star added to his résumé with roles in Tristan + Isolde, Annapolis, and Flyboys in 2006, Pineapple Express and Milk in 2008, and Eat Pray Love in 2010. He also earned his first Oscar nomination for 2010’s 127 Hours, keeping busy as ever with gigs in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Spring Breakers (2012), Oz The Great and Powerful (2013), Lovelace (2013), This is the End (2013), episodes of General Hospital, The Interview (2014), The Night Before (2015), Angie Tribeca (2016), Why Him? (2016), The Disaster Artist (2017), and his HBO series The Deuce. Franco, who’s also taken on various writing projects, recently appeared in Hulu’s 11.22.63, stars in the upcoming King Cobra, and continues to teach film classes.
Samm Levine (Neal Schweiber)
THEN: Samm Levine entered geekdom as Neal Schweiber, a nerd with a soft spot for Lindsay Weir (Cardellini). Levine came into the gig with one credit to his name after playing Hector in a 1997 episode of One Life to Live.
NOW: Levine continued his small-screen work after Freaks and Geeks aired its finale, appearing in early 2000s episodes of Spin City, Yes, Dear, Just Shoot Me!, The Steve Harvey Show, That ’70s Show, and Life As We Know It. Levine also picked up movie roles in Not Another Teen Movie (2001), After School Special (2003), Inglourious Basterds (2009), and I Love You, Beth Cooper (2009). In recent years, Levine reprised his uncredited voice role of Arty in Netflix’s 2015 Wet Hot American Summer revival and appeared in the short-lived series Selfie, as well as appearances on Comedy Central shows Drunk History and Another Period.
Seth Rogen (Ken Miller)
THEN: A young Seth Rogen landed his first on-screen role as Ken Miller in Freaks and Geeks. He played the freak with a crush on a band geek for the length of the show’s run, developing a relationship with EP Judd Apatow through the gig.
NOW: The part was a pivotal one for Rogen, who would go on to work with Apatow on projects like 2001-2002’s Undeclared, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Knocked Up (2007), Superbad (2007), Pineapple Express (2008), and Funny People (2009). In addition to his Apatow collaborations, Rogen has lent his voice to movies including Kung Fu Panda (2008), Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! (2008), and Monsters Vs. Aliens (2009). In recent years, he starred in Neighbors, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, The Interview, 2015’s Steve Jobs, Sausage Party, The Night Before, The Disaster Artist, Like Father, Long Shot, Disney’s The Lion King remake, and made small-screen appearances in The Comeback, Kroll Show, Friends From College, and The League. He’s also created and produced TV shows like Preacher, Black Monday, and The Boys and movies like Good Boys, Game Over, Man!, and Blockers.
Jason Segel (Nick Andopolis)
THEN: The freaks found their resident good guy in Jason Segel, who played Nick Andopolis. Segel joined the cult series after picking up roles in Can’t Hardly Wait, SLC Punk!, and Dead Man on Campus in 1998.
NOW: After Freaks and Geeks ended, Segel reteamed with Apatow and Rogen for Undeclared from 2001 to 2003. He also starred in Slackers (2002), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), I Love You, Man (2009), Bad Teacher (2011), The Muppets (2011), The Five-Year Engagement (2012), This Is 40 (2012), and Sex Tape (2014). In addition to his film work, Segel is now best known for the nine years he spent playing Marshall Eriksen on How I Met Your Mother.
Martin Starr (Bill Haverchuck)
THEN: After making a brief appearance in the 1992 movie Hero, Martin Starr earned his second on-screen credit as Bill Haverchuck in Freaks and Geeks. The then-newbie actor played a member of the geeks, who is a quintessentially nerdy kid.
NOW: Starr found success on the small screen, appearing in episodes of Roswell and Revelations in the 2000s before joining Party Down as Roman DeBeers, and Silicon Valley as Bertram Gilfoyle. Starr also appeared in Knocked Up (2007), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Adventureland (2009), Save the Date (2012), The Lifeguard (2013), 2014’s Veronica Mars movie, This Is the End, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Honey Boy, and TV shows like Burning Love, Hawaii Five-0, Life in Pieces, Drunk History, and a cameo in the final season of Game of Thrones.
Becky Ann Baker (Jean Weir)
THEN: Becky Ann Baker joined the cast of Freaks and Geeks as Jean Weir, the kind mother to Daley’s Sam and Cardellini’s Lindsay. Baker started playing the maternal figure after previously appearing in The Protector (1985), Blue Steel (1989), Lorenzo’s Oil (1992), Sabrina (1995), and Men in Black (1997).
NOW: Baker continued her small-screen turns in 2000s episodes of Sex and the City, Life As We Know It, All My Children, and Kings. She also appeared in Spider-Man 3 (2007) and Nights in Rodanthe (2008) before landing her role of Loreen Horvath in HBO’s Girls, and playing Alma Hoff in The Good Wife and spinoff The Good Fight. She’s also appeared in films like Table 19, and TV shows like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Night Shift, NCIS: New Orleans, The Blacklist, Brockmire, Big Little Lies, and Younger.
Joe Flaherty (Harold Weir)
THEN: Baker found her other half in Joe Flaherty, who played Jean’s husband, Harold Weir. The traditional father watches over Lindsay (Cardellini) and Sam (Daley) as they navigate high school. A veteran actor, Flaherty came into the role after racking up credits for SCTV, Going Berserk (1983), Club Paradise (1986), Innerspace (1987), Back to the Future Part II (1989), Maniac Mansion, Happy Gilmore (1996), and Police Academy: The Series.
NOW: On television, Flaherty followed-up with 2000s appearances in Even Stevens, That ’70s Show, The Legend of Tarzan, The King of Queens, and Family Guy. He also landed feature film work with Slackers (2002), National Security (2003), Home on the Range (2004), and Summerhood (2008). Flaherty most recently appeared in the Canadian series Call Me Fitz and popped up in a short film called Nightlife.
Busy Philipps (Kim Kelly)
THEN: Busy Philipps picked up her first major role as Kim Kelly on Freaks and Geeks. She played the wild member of the freaks who is in an on-again, off-again relationship with Daniel (Franco).
NOW: The year after the show wrapped, Philipps continued to play a student when she landed the role of Audrey Liddell on Dawson’s Creek. She made the transition to the big screen with movies like Home Room (2002), White Chicks (2004), Made of Honor (2008), He’s Just Not That Into You (2009), I Don’t Know How She Does It (2011), and The Gift (2015). Philipps saw her greatest success on television, however, with roles in Love, Inc., ER, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles in the 2000s, Cougar Town in the 2010s, and a gig on HBO series Vice Principals. Most recently, she appeared in the movie I Feel Pretty and on TV with episodes of Camping and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, as well as her short-lived talk show Busy Tonight.