- Cult classic Beetlejuice came out 35 years ago today
- The Tim Burton film served as a big break for Winona Ryder and Alec Baldwin
- Highly-anticipated sequel is eyeing Johnny Depp and Jenna Ortega
When cult classic Beetlejuice hit movie theaters 35 years ago today, it instantly launched its cast to all-star status, helping to catapult the likes of Winona Ryder and Alec Baldwin to the upper echelons of fame.
More than three decades after the spooky comedy was first released, both Winona and Alec - along with their co-stars Michael Keaton and Geena Davis - remain among some of the biggest names in Hollywood, having gone on to achieve a myriad of successes on the big and small screens.
But their iconic roles in Tim Burton's 1988 phantom flick will, for some fans, remain their most memorable.
For Michael, it was his portrayal of thegrizzly and mischievous ghost Beetlejuice, who wreaks havoc on the new owners of the home that belonged to his fellow ghosts Barbara (Geena) and Adam (Alec).
After Barbara and Alec perished in a car crash, they take on phantom form and watch on as a new couple - Charles (Jeffrey Jones) and Delia Deetz (Catherine O'Hara) move into their house with their teenage daughter, Lydia (Winona).
35 years on, the movie remains a cult classic - and rumors about a sequel have been swirling for years, ever since Ryder confirmed that a follow-up was in the works back in 2015.
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Since then, casting has been up in the air. Burton has expressed his desire for both Keaton and Ryder to return for the sequel.
New names have since been thrown into the mix including Johnny Depp and Jenna Ortega, who would play Lydia's daughter. However, none of this has been officially confirmed.
Even though the sequel is still yet to get the green light, Beetlejuice has remained relevant over the past 35 years through the Broadway musical adaptation, Universal Studio's 2021 Halloween Horror Nights and its devoted fanbase.
It also helps that nearly the entire cast went on to have successful careers.
The majority of them star in some of Hollywood's biggest hits like Stranger Things, Schitt's Creek and more.
Michael Keaton stepped away from Hollywood, but returned to win an Emmy and two Golden Globes
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Keaton, 71, starred as the one and only Beetlejuice. The role was one of the most notable of his career and he used its momentum to create a long-lasting career in Hollywood with iconic roles like Bruce Wayne in Batman and Riggan Thomson in Birdman, a role that he won a Golden Globe for.
The actor revealed that he played a huge role in shaping Beetlejuice, one of the quirkiest and most unique characters to ever hit the big screen.
At first, he didn't see himself in the part and initially turned down the role multiple times.
'I liked Tim personally, but I really didn't know what he was trying to explain with the concept of the movie. And so I said no two or three times,' Keaton toldEW.
However, once he was on board 'it was off to the races.'
The 71-year-old explained that he personally approached the wardrobe and makeup department and told them: 'I want mold on my face. My hair has to look like I stuck my finger in an electric socket.'
He also had a role in picking the way Beetlejuice's teeth and skin looked while Burton selected the character's iconic suit.
Keaton appreciated that freedom in the creative process.
'Beetlejuice is the ultimate "Yes and..." movie, really, because Tim never went, "Wait, no, you can't do that." He went, "Oh, you're going to do that? Cool. Then watch this. Then go over there and do this,"' he shared.
The veteran actor added: '[My character] isn't even in the movie very much! But it's 100 per cent just an original piece of art.'
Shortly after Beetlejuice, he joined Burton on his next project, 1989's Batman.
Fans of the comic book saw it as a controversial choice, especially coming off of his campy portrayal of Beetlejuice.
However, he knew what it took to play a grounded version of the character by focusing on his alter ego, Bruce Wayne.
'I know the name of the movie is Batman and it's hugely iconic and very cool and culturally iconic,' he said on the In The Envelope: The Actors Podcast.
'I always knew from the get-go it was Bruce Wayne. That was the secret... from a character perspective it's about Bruce Wayne. Who's that guy?'
During that time he was married to Caroline McWilliams. They shared one son together, Sean, who was born in 1983 - five years before the release of Beetlejuice.
They ultimately divorced in 1990 after eight years of marriage.
Sadly, Williamspassed awayfrom complications of multiple myeloma - a cancer that comes from malignant plasma cells - in 2010.
Keaton had complicated feelings about his ex-wife's illness and death, which he described in a 2010 interview with Elle.
'And the feelings that came up were odd, but not in a bad way, necessarily, because we had remained close,' he stated.
'She was a remarkable mom. Sean is the great guy he is because of her — we've always been tight, but now the bond's even tighter. We're the family now.'
He then went on to date Friends star Courteney Cox in 1990 up until 1995. During that time, he returned for the Batman sequel, Batman Returns (1992).
He spent the rest of the 90s taking on more film projects including The Paper (1994), Multiplicity (1996), Jackie Brown (1997) and Out Of Sight (1998).
During the 2000s, his career slowed down and he stuck to making cameos on TV series like The Simpsons and Frasier.
Keaton has spoken out about the break in his career and explained that it was an active decision to step away from Hollywood for about a decade.
'Look, there's two different things here. There's me taking a pause. I really like life, doing things, having a normal life. So there was that,' he told The Guardian.
'And there was me getting bored, hearing the sound of my voice, seeing the same old tricks. So I may have lost interest, combined with a whole lot of people not knocking on my door. It wasn't just me.
'But I also consciously started to slowly change things internally, and it worked.... Just thinking about things, asking what you want, what you don't want, how am I going to get to there? And it takes a lot of stumbling around, and it takes discipline,' he explained.
With a newfound sense of discipline, he returned to Hollywood in 2008 in the film The Merry Gentleman.
However, it wasn't until 2014 that he landed the biggest role of his career.
Keaton was excited to accept a meeting with Birdman's director, stating: 'I had seen all of Alejandro Inarritu's movies and loved them.'
Once he read the script, he claimed he 'knew from the get-go I was doing that movie. I thought, "Boy, this is going to be really scary." But when I'm frightened, that's generally speaking a good sign.'
It certainly was a great omen for him as the film landed him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and the film went on to win an Oscar for Best Picture.
The performance rebooted his career and he went on to star in Spotlight (2015) and The Founder (2016).
Keaton landed his next award-winning role in the 2021 TV miniseries Dopesick. He won both an Emmy and Golden Globe for his performance as Dr. Samuel Finnix.
The role had a deep emotional impact on him and he even teared up when giving his Emmy acceptance speech, noting that he lost his nephew to drugs.
'Given the subject matter, this is for my nephew, Michael, and my sister, Pam,' he shared. 'I lost Michael to drugs and it hurts. To my sister Pam, thanks.'
Most recently, Keaton has confirmed that he will be putting on the Batman helmet once again in The Flash after walking away from the role decades ago.
'I thought, "Boy, what would that be like?"... It has to be good,' he told THR of his prerequisites for taking on the role.
'There's no reason to do it if it's not good. It's not gonna really change anything.'
He added: 'And I just jumped in and had fun. And why would you not? You know, I mean, director Andy Muschietti is fantastic, and it's really creative. I don't know. It's fun.'
He is also winning on the romance front as he has been datingMarni Turner for reportedly more than six years.
Unlike her famous beau, Turner has remained out of the spotlight. She has been a supportive figure in his life and even accompanied him to the Emmys in 2022.
Keaton has proved that he's not opposed to reprising old roles and he has said the same in regards to a Beetlejuice sequel.
'I've emailed Tim a couple of times, talked to the writer a couple of times, but all really, really preliminary stuff,' he toldMTV.
'I always said that's the one thing I'd like to do again, if I ever did anything again. But it kind of required Tim to be involved some way or another.'
The feeling is reportedly mutual. Burton spoke with IGN about how a sequel only felt right if Keaton was involved.
He said: 'There's only one Beetlejuice, and that's Michael. There is a script, and I would love to work with him again. I think there is now a better chance than ever.
'I miss that character. There's something that's cathartic and amazing about it. I think it's closer than ever.'
And he insisted that the story would have to be perfect, explaining: 'I have talked to Michael and I have talked to Winona, I've talked to a few people.
'It's something that I really would like to do in the right circumstances, but it's one of those films where it has to be right. It's not a kind of a movie that cries out [for a sequel], it's not the Beetlejuice trilogy,' he pointed out.
'So it's something that if the elements are right - because I do love the character and Michael's amazing as that character, so yeah we'll see. But there's nothing concrete yet.'
Winona Ryder struggled with Johnny Depp split and shoplifting arrest - but returned to Hollywood triumphantly with Stranger Things
Ryder, 51, got her big break in Beetlejuice and her career flourished in the 1990s.
After a dramatic breakup with Johnny Depp and a shoplifting incident in the 2000s, she had a recent resurgence due to her role of Joyce Byers in Stranger Things.
Ryder starred as Lydia Deetz when she was just 16 years old.
She has expressed in numerous interviews that she wasn't one of the popular kids in school and unfortunately, matters only got worse for her after Beetlejuice.
'I remember thinking, "Ooh, it's, like, the number-one movie. This is going to make things great at school,"' she told Marie Claire UK.
'But it made things worse. They called me a witch.'
After Beetlejuice, she starred in the cult classic Heathers (1988) and played Jerry Lee Lewis's cousin child bride Myra in Great Balls Of Fire (1989).
Even after having four films under her belt and dating the likes of Rob Lowe in the mid-80s and Christian Slater around the time she filmed Heathers, she still wasn't widely accepted among her peers.
'When I get around people my own age, I'm a wreck. What they think of me is so much more important than what people in the industry think of me,' she told Vogue back in 1994.
'I think it's just facing my own insecurity. I was not accepted in high school, not in junior high school, not in elementary school. I was always picked on. I never had friends, except for one, Heather.
'This is going to sound weird, but even after I got famous, kids weren't nicer to me. I mean I stayed in high school until I was a sophomore. I'd done four movies. I'd done Beetlejuice – it was a huge movie. But kids still threw food at me,' she concluded.
At that point, she left high school and started working on high-profile films with Hollywood's elite.
Burton welcomed her back for Edward Scissorhands where she met Depp. The two played love interests and would take their relationship off of the big screen into real life in 1989. Ryder was only 17 years old at the time while Depp was 27.
'What we have... Nothing I say will really be right,' she said of her and Depp's relationship to Interview Magazine in 1990.
She added: 'I will say that he's an amazing human whom I have an enormous amount of respect for and very deep feelings for. It's not a possessive, weird little Hollywood promenade.'
He proposed to her just five months after they had started dating. While many thought they were moving too fast, Ryder wanted to assure people at the time that they were moving at their own pace.
'I'm not getting married. It's nice that people worry about me, but they don't know me and they don't know what we have. And it's not what they've said it has been,' she shared.
'It's a friendship. It's a relationship, but we're not married, and we're not getting married. We're just hanging out. We both have our own lives,' she added.
Ryder's career was taking off in 1990. Not only was she in Edward Scissorhands with her partner, but she had also starred in Mermaids and had accepted a role in The Godfather Part III.
Struggling with the balance of working on three films in succession, Ryder had to drop out of The Godfather Part III.
'It taught me that I have to slow down,' she said of the experience to Interview Magazine.
She caught a respiratory infection from filming Mermaids in Boston and wearing tiny dresses. The day after Mermaids wrapped, she hopped a plane to Rome for The Godfather Part III.
'I never should have flown. The doctor said I could have gone deaf,' she admitted.
'Of course, that's not the way everybody made it sound. They made it sound like I freaked out and ran,' she added.
She continued: 'I regret screwing people up, but I would have been a wet noodle. My acting probably would have been panned. How do you act when you don't have anything left? One thing you have to have when you act is energy.'
So she flew back to her hometown in San Francisco, claiming she was most looking forward to tasting her mom's soup and being in her own bed.
Many feared that Ryder was pulling the plug on her own career.
'This business is brutal,' she told Harper’s Bazaar, reflecting on the issue, in 2022.
'You're working constantly, but if you want to take a break, they tell you, "If you slow down, it's going to stop."'
She continued: 'And then it did slow down. So then you're hearing, "It's going to be impossible to come back." And then that changes to "you're not even part of the conversation." Like, it was brutal.'
However, she would surge into the spotlight again with her role in 1992's Dracula.
Ryder has opened up about how difficult filming with director Francis Ford Coppola was.
Coppola sometimes had cruel methods for goading Ryder into the performance he wanted.
'At the time, I thought, "Oh, I'm a real actress." But in retrospect I probably wouldn't take that again unless it was a director that I knew really well and that I really trusted,'Ryder admitted.
She added: 'I learnt a lot on that set about what I'm not capable of tolerating.'
Ryder may have felt obligated to put up with inappropriate behavior on set because of her breakdown and disappearance from Hollywood.
She hit another low when she and Depp split the next year in 1993.
'That was my Girl, Interrupted real life,' Ryder told Harper's Bazaar, referencing her hit film that hadn't come out until six years after the breakup.
'I remember Michelle [Pfieffer] being like, "This is going to pass." But I couldn't hear it,'Ryder said of her former co-star.
She added: 'I've never talked about it. There's this part of me that's very private. I have such, like, a place in my heart for those days. But for someone younger who grew up with social media, it's hard to describe.'
The rest of the '90s were a pivotal time for her as she starred in Little Women (1994), The Crucible (1996) and one of her most iconic films, Girl, Interrupted (1999).
She also had a brief relationship with Matt Damon in 1997 after she was introduced to him by Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck.
Even though their relationship lasted less than a year, it seemed to end amicably.
She toldBlackbook magazine that he 'couldn't be a greater, nicer guy' and that 'I'm really lucky that I'm on good terms with him.'
However, her career would hit another snag in 2001 when she was arrested for shoplifting.
She had allegedly stolen more than $5,000 worth of designer clothes and accessories from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.
According to Us Weekly, she was charged with grand theft and vandalism, but was acquitted on a burglary charge.
She ended up facing three years of probation, 480 hours of community service, $3,700 in fines and $6,355 in restitution to Saks along with mandatory psychological and drug counseling.
The incident ultimately lead to her taking another break from her career, which she reflected on years later.
'It's so interesting when you look at the early aughts. It was a kind of a cruel time. There was a lot of meanness out there,' she told Porter Magazine in 2016.
'And then I remember coming back to LA and - it was a rough time. And I didn't know if that part of my life was over.'
Specifically addressing the shoplifting incident, she stated: 'I won't get into what happened, but it wasn't what people think. And it wasn't like the crime of the century.'
'But it allowed me time that I really needed, where I went back to San Francisco and got back into things… I just had other interests, frankly,' she continued.
It did take some time for Ryder's Hollywood career to pick up again after the scandal.
During the 2000s and 2010s, she made notable cameos in films like Black Swan.
It wasn't until she accepted the role as Joyce Byers in Stranger Things, starting in 2017, that she became a big name once more.
Now that she's back in the business, fans are wondering if she'll return for the potential Beetlejuice sequel.
While she confirmed that it was in works in 2015, she seemed less certain about it pulling through in 2016.
'I don't really know what's going on with that. Obviously, it was an iconic film,' she toldColliderof the remake's status.
'The only way it could really ever be done is with Tim [Burton] and Michael [Keaton]. I don't know. There's something that really resonates with all ages, with that film
'It's interesting. I think it would be great if it happened, if it was the right circumstances.
'Gosh, you know you're getting older when they're making TV shows, sequels or plays for things that you did. It's very flattering and very humbling, indeed.'
Geena Davis became the 'it girl' of the 90s and had four weddings... and divorces
Davis, 67, played the naive newlywed-turned-ghost, Barbara Maitland. After Beetlejuice, Davis went on to play her biggest roles in the 1990s.
However, it wasn't all highs for Davis.
She married Manhattan restauranteur Richard Emmolo in 1981, but the two divorced in 1984 - four years before Beetlejuice hit theaters.
Then she started dating Jurassic Park star Jeff Goldblum in 1985. They tied the knot in 1987 - a year before Beetlejuice's release, but he filed for divorce after three years of marriage.
'I'm sure we're both pretty sad. We certainly had high hopes, every good intention. It's upsetting,' she told People.
'Other people's perceptions are that it's just perfect, he's the funniest guy. This is not a reflection on Jeff. I mean, it can apply equally to me,' she added.
She continued: 'We were a normal couple and had all kinds of experiences. We weren't sitting around just laughing all day, putting on shows for each other.'
Three years after Beetlejuice, she went on to land her career-making role as one half of the iconic duo Thelma and Louise.
A year later, she would star in the iconic 1992 film A League of Their Own.
Her next marriage came in 1993 with Finnish filmmaker Renny Harlin.
He went onto direct her next two films, Cutthroat Island (1995) and The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996).
However, their marriage came to an end not long after and their divorce was finalized in 1998, and she started dating surgeon Reza Jarrahy - with whom she shares daughter Alizeh, 20, and fraternal twin sons Kaiis and Kian, 18 - that year.
Thankfully, the end of her third marriage didn't mark the end of her career. In 2000, she landed her own TV series called The Geena Davis Show.
Just as her series was canceled in 2001, she and Jarrahy had a wedding ceremony. However, it is up for debate whether the two ever got married at all.
Jarrahy insists they were legally married since they had a wedding officiated by his father who was ordained.
Davis herself referred to her relationship with him as a marriage.
'I did say to Reza, "You're about to become someone's fourth husband. What on earth are you thinking?"But as for myself, I wasn't nervous at all,' she told Good Housekeeping in 2006.
'I really did feel that I had turned a corner, that I had pulled off changes that were real and permanent.
'And it was exciting to know I was marrying someone who I can be cranky or selfish in front of and he doesn't run screaming from the room or judge me for it. It's like I discovered a whole other way to live,' she shared.
However during their years-long custody battle and divorce, Davis said they had a 'marriage-like ceremony,' but didn't have a license and 'never intended to marry.'
A source told Page Six that she and her legal team were 'unfavorable' to Jarrahy and after nearly four years of going back and forth, he 'agreed to settle' in 2021.
'They were very unfavorable to Reza, who agreed to settle just to put this behind him and be free of the nightmare Geena has caused for him,' the source revealed.
The couple first separated on November 2017 after 16 years of marriage and Jarrahy subsequently filed for divorce when Davis reportedly kicked him out of their Pacific Palisades home.
Filed under pseudonyms, the surgeon cited irreconcilable differences in the documents.
Reza was only 27 when he attended a 1998 party and met Davis who was 42 at the time. They married on September 1, 2001, and started their family the following year.
As Davis focused on raising their family, her career had slowed down. She stuck to TV appearances on shows like Commander in Chief, Grey's Anatomy and Glow.
However, now that her kids are grown, it looks like she's eyeing some time on the big screen again.
Her most recent credit is the 2023 film Fairyland. Since she's back on the big screen, it's possible she could return for the Beetlejuice sequel.
She weighed in on the potential project back when it was first revealed in 2015.
'I did hear that it's really happening,' she told ETat the time.
'No one's talked to me about it. I would love to! That was one of my favorite movies, too.'
Davis joked: 'But ghosts probably don't age, and it's going to be 30 years now. Of course, I haven't aged, but I think Alec Baldwin maybe has aged, perhaps.'
Alec Baldwin became an A-List star before tragedy struck on his set of Rust after an accidental shooting
Baldwin probably has the most star power out of anyone in the cast. He became a household name after Beetlejuice for both his roles and making headlines.
The 64-year-old actor played the uneasy Adam Maitland, Barbara's husband, in Beetlejuice.
Baldwin admitted that he wasn't sure if the film would be successful with how unusual it was.
'When we did Beetlejuice, I had no idea what it was about,' Baldwin told GQin 2019.
'I thought my, all of our, careers are going to end with the release of this film. Maybe we're all going to be dead.'
He ultimately credits director Burton and Beetlejuice actor Keaton for the film's success.
'Michael came and knew the secret,' he began. 'Because I would act and then I would have some doubts.'
'I was much more neurotic about what I would do, and I was very young starting out in films.
'And Keaton just came out and he was like the comedy Annie Oakley. He was so self-assured. He just tore it up.'
Baldwin gained traction shortly after Beetlejuice appearing in The Hunt for Red October in 1990 and Glengarry Glen Ross in 1992.
He also started dating Kim Basinger after they starred in The Marrying Man together (1991). They tied the knot in 1993 and welcomed their daughter, Ireland Baldwin, not too long after.
However, the two would split in 2001 and had a 'heavy-duty, very out loud when you're in the public, divorce' as Basinger described it during an appearance on Red Table Talk.
He continued to be a big name on the big screen in the 2000s, starring in his biggest films including The Cooler (2003), The Departed (2006) and It's Complicated (2009).
He was also seen dating a number of famous women including Kristin Davis, Nicole Seidel and Lori Singer.
He then had a seven-season run on Tina Fey's series 30 Rock from 2006 to 2013.
During this time, he met his current wife, Hilaria Baldwin. They met at a restaurant in 2011 and quickly started dating. By 2012, they had tied the knot.
They got to work quickly and welcomed seven kids into the world in the span of their ten-year marriage. The two are parents to sons Eduardo "Edu" Pao Lucas, two; Romeo Alejandro David, four; Leonardo Ángel Charles, six; and Rafael Thomas, seven; as well as daughters Ilaria and Maria Lucia Victoria, two, and Carmen Gabriela, nine.
Even though his career slowed down a smidge after he and Hilaria welcomed their kids, he still had time to film Blue Jasmine (2013), Still Alice (2014) and The Boss Baby (2017).
Most recently, he worked on producing the Wild West film Rust. However, production was halted when he was involved in an accidental fatal shooting on set.
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins tragically passed away after a real bullet was found in Baldwin's prop gun.
Baldwin's involuntary manslaughter charges were downgraded in February. Instead of the possibility of five years in prison, he now only faces 18 months.
Catherine O'Hara continued to act in comedy but her career climbed to new heights with Schitt's Creek
Beetlejuice was O'Hara's first big Hollywood film. Previously, the star performed improv at Second City in Toronto.
That's when the 69-year-old actress got the call to audition for Beetlejuice.
'I'd been asked to audition for Beetlejuice. I had all these calls with David Geffen, who was a producer,' she told The New Yorker.
'I didn't know him at the time. Out of ignorance, I'm, like, "Who is this guy? He keeps bugging me.He kept calling and saying, "This is a part for you. You should be doing this." He kept calling.
'Then they said they wanted me to meet this guy, Tim Burton. I didn't know Tim Burton. Then finally I was depressed at home, and I had nothing going. I said, "OK, I'll go audition. I'll go meet him.
'I flew to L.A. from Toronto, and I rented a car. The address was in Burbank. I drove for hours. I thought, "What kind of director is this far from show business?"
'I was so late. I got lost. There was no cell phone. I had to pull over somewhere and find a phone booth and phone my agent.
'I finally, two hours late, got back to Burbank. There was a note on the door from Tim Burton. It said, "I'm sorry. I waited as long as I could." I go back home to Toronto. A few weeks later they offer me the part.
'It's a good trick. If you're bad at auditioning, just don't go,' she concluded.
Not only did Beetlejuice make her break in Hollywood but it's also where she met her husband, Bo Welch. He served as the film's production designer and he asked her out while filming was finishing up.
Ultimately, O'Hara decided she felt the spark with Welch and decided to move to Hollywood to be with him.
The role put her name out there in the American market. Soon after, she landed roles in comedies like Home Alone (1990) as the mother of Macaulay Culkin's Kevin McCallister, Kate.
She also continued working with one of her fellow Canadian improvisers, Christopher Guest. She starred in his filmsWaiting For Guffman (1996),Best In Show (2000), A Mighty Wind (2003) and For Your Consideration (2006).
However, her most iconic gig came years later.
In 2015, she starred as Moira Rose in the Canadian TV series Schitt's Creek.
The show gained so much traction in the United States that it has become her most notable role to date.
Jeffrey Jones worked briefly after Beetlejuice - but was disgraced after being charged with having a 14-year-old boy pose for sexually explicit pictures
Jones, 76, was a notorious character actor before his role as Charles Deetz in Beetlejuice.
His most notable credit was as the dean, Ed Rooney, in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986).
After starring in Beetlejuice, he went on to star in a quirky film titled Stay Tuned (1992).
He also acted in a couple of Burton's other projects including Ed Wood (1994) andSleepy Hollow (1999).
While the '90s were a high point in Jones' career, his success didn't last for long.
In 2001,the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) received information from a minor who accused Jones of committing crimes of a sexual nature.
After an investigation was completed, a warrant was made for his arrest.
Eventually, he was charged with having a 14-year-old boy pose for sexually explicit pictures and he pleaded no contest.
He was required to upload his data onto the sex offenders registry every year. After his charges, the actor was hardly able to book roles outside of small TV movies.
Matters got worse for him when he faced another charge in 2010 for not updating his sex registry data.
The disgraced actor was charged with 250 days of community service.