It worked for Dallas. So it's no surprise Patrick Duffy, who returned to TNT to revive his role as Bobby Ewing for the hit Dallas reboot, is considering other possible TV reunions.
Next on his list? Step by Step, the beloved '90s TGIF series that Duffy hopes to bring back for a two-hour reunion special. "I would love to work with Suzanne [Somers] again," he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “The Step By Step cast was so wonderful to be with. They were my family and I think a little two-hour special about where these people are – not a documentary, but actually doing a show – seeing where they all come to over the years. It would be so fun to play that goofy Frank Lambert character again, aging another 25 years.”
But with the exception of Duffy and Somers, who has gone on to develop a lucrative line of anti-aging products, Step By Step's cast has stayed out of the spotlight following the series' wrap in 1998. So what have the Fosters and Lamberts been up to? And what do they look like now? Before they meet up for a second time around, find out below!
Following 2004's Dallas Reunion: Return to Southfork, Patrick Duffy — otherwise known as Step By Step's patriarch Frank Lambert — returned to Southfork once again with TNT's Dallas reboot, now in its second season. The actor also has used his fame for endorsement deals, proving how old we are by becoming a spokesman for Miracle-Ear hearing aids.
Suzanne Somers' Carol Foster-Lambert might have lived happily ever after with Frank, but since wrapping Step By Step, the actress has become obsessed with living happily ever after as a young woman. The 66-year-old actress so inspired fans with her anti-aging efforts that's she's developed a successful product line in her own name. But not everyone is happy with her happily ever after — Somers has come under fire for her support of the controversial bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and for her 2010 book, Knockout, which suggests alternative cancer treatments for those facing chemotherapy.
With the exception of a traffic incident that left Brandon Call shot in both arms in 1996, little is known about the actor who memorably portrayed oldest son J.T. Lambert. In fact, though Call starred on such series as Baywatch, Magnum, P.I., and the Charmings prior to his successful Step By Step run, J.T. would prove to be Call's final role call.
Staci Keanan — who played Carol's oldest daughter, Dana — would most likely be game for a Step By Step reunion. After all, the actress already reteamed with Duffy and Christine Lakin in You Again. But the 2010 comedy wasn't her only turn on the big screen — Keanan, who guest starred in various series like Diagnosis: Murder in the late '90s — turned her attention to film after Step By Step's run was complete. Among the projects on her resume: 2009's Sarah's Choice, 2010'S Holyman Undercover, and her most recent project, 2010's Death and Cremation. Could a Step By Step reunion revive her career again?
Angela Watson — the actress who played Step By Step's beauty queen, Karen — found herself fielding the same problem that plagues many child stars. Discovering that her own family had mismanaged the $2.8 million in wages she earned on Step by Step, the actress founded Child Actors Supporting Themselves in 2000 in an attempt to help young actors learn how to manage their money. Watson, who acts on stage and in various low-profile film projets, continues to turn her attention toward helping others, becoming the spokesperson for the charity Hugs America. It's nice to say that Karen wouldn't approve.
One of step By Step's more successful actors, Christopher Castile — who played brainiac Mark Foster — turned starring roles in Beethoven and Beethoven's 2nd into a voice acting role as Hey Arnold!'s Eugene Horowitz. But he had enough of show business following Step By Step's success — Castile soon left Hey Arnold! (replaced, strangely enough, by Jarrett Lennon, an actor who was cast as Step By Step's Mark before Castile stepped in) and retired from acting altogether. And it turns out life imitated art — Castile channeled his smarty-pants Step By Step alter-ego and became a political science professor at Biola University.
Arguably Step By Step's most successful alum, Christine Lakin — who played tomboy Al — boasted guest roles in high-profile series like Boston Public, Veronica Mars, CSI: Miami, Bones, Family Guy, and more. Her big screen is not quite as respectable, with critically reviled films like Valentine's Day, Parental Guidance, and, of course, the Hottie & The Nottie on her resume. The silver lining? The actress, who continues to win roles on the big and small screen, definitely grew up to be a hottie.
Just as quickly as Frank's youngest son Brendan mysteriously disappeared from the series without mention (in order to make way for the cuter baby Lilly), the actor who portrayed him, Josh Byrne, disappeared from Hollywood. We'd claim he was still chained in Frank and Carol's basement, but this picture of the actor dressed in costume proves he's alive, and presumably can be seen at your local Renaissance Faire.
Emily Mae Young was already famous by the time she joined Step By Step's cast as Carol and Frank's youngest daughter, Lilly. The young actress first won acclaim as the Cabbage Patch Doll-like girl in a series of Welch's Grape Juice ads before she moved on to the TGIF TV series. Her career, however, was short-lived, and following a role in 1999's Undercover Angel, Young disappeared from Hollywood.
Sasha Mitchell, who portrayed lovable loser Cody, suffered from a bout of bad publicity in the late '90s when he was accused of domestic abuse. Perhaps that's why Mitchell — who retained full custody of his children following claims that he was protecting his children from their abusive mother — opted to change his appearance dramatically following the headlines. Though Cody could hardly work hard enough to leave the Lamberts' backyard, Mitchell worked hard in the gym, beefing up enough to earn roles in films like Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star and on acronym-friendly series like JAG, ER, and NYPD Blue. Mitchell, who continues to act, also has a black belt. As Cody would say, Whoa.
Jason Marsden, loved for his roles in two beloved '90s series — Step By Step, as J.T.'s friend Rich, and Boy Meets World, as, fittingly, Jason Marsden — began a successful career in voice acting after Step By Step, starring in series like The Legend of Tarzan, Justice League, The Batman, The Fairly OddParents, and much, much more. Makes sense the animated actor would find money in animation.
Patrika Darbo, who played Carol's sister Penny, might have been written out of the series after Season 1, but she was hardly written out of Hollywood. One of the industry's more recognizable character actresses, Darbo has boasted roles in Seinfeld, Desperate Housewives, and Dexter. She also scored a recurring gig on Days of Our Lives, playing Craig Wesley's wife Nancy. So it turns out Darbo's hair wasn't the only thing that improved post-Step By Step.
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Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.