See the Stars of Mystic Pizza, Then & Now10/21/2020
Julia Roberts, Lili Taylor and Annabeth Gish starred in the 1988 coming-of-age movie about three best friends working as waitresses at a beloved local pizza joint, which turned 32 on Oct. 21.
32 years later and we're still wondering what Leona put in that famous pizza.
Mystic Pizza quietly debuted at the box office on Oct. 21, 1988, with three mostly unknown actresses at its center: Annabeth Gish, Lili Taylor and a 21-year-old named Julia Roberts. Plus, a young actor made his feature film debut in the coming-of-age tale: Matt Damon.
While it only made $14 million at the time of its release, the movie about two sisters and their wise-cracking best friend who work at a local pizza shop in Mystic, Conn. has endured as a cult classic. And that's due in large part to its lead trio.
"I have a feeling that Mystic Pizza may someday become known for the movie stars it showcased back before they became stars," the late movie critic Roger Ebert wrote in his review at the time. Of course, the legendary writer was spot-on. Roberts went on to become one of Hollywood's most in-demand stars, while Gish and Taylor have enjoyed successful careers on the big and small screens.
Here's what the stars of Mystic Pizza are up to now, 32 years after its release…
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Just two years before her big break as Vivian in Pretty Woman, Roberts starred as the impulsive waitress Daisy. And while her unruly hair would become iconic, it almost cost her the role in Mystic Pizza.
"I had gone in for a reading and the casting director had said, 'You can't be blond when you see the director,'" she reflected in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "I had never colored my hair before, so I went to Lamston's [five-and-dime store] and bought black mousse."
Roberts became one of the most successful and beloved actresses in Hollywood, starring in Steel Magnolias, Notting Hill, Stepmom, The Pelican Brief and My Best Friend's Wedding. And in 2000, she won her first Oscar and became the first woman to earn a $20 million paycheck for her turn the titular heroine in Erin Brockovich.
Among her many other credits, the 52-year-old has also starred in Runaway Bride, Mona Lisa Smile, Closer, Ocean's 11, Eat Pray Love and Ben Is Back. After fronting Ryan Murphy's TV movie The Normal Heart in 2018, Roberts made her first major foray into television in Amazon Prime Video's Homecoming, earning a Golden Globe nomination.
After a string of high-profile romances—Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric Liam Neeson, Benjamin Bratt, Dylan McDermott and Matthew Perry—and a short marriage with country singer Lyle Lovett, Roberts married camerman Danny Moder in 2002. They have three children: twins Hazel and Phinnaeus, 15, and son Henry, 13.
Rebellious firecracker Jojo was Taylor's first starring role in a feature film and prior to slingin' pizza she had just one credit on her resume as "Girl at Medical Lab" in She's Having a Baby.
"I did not think this movie would stick around," Taylor admitted to Entertainment Weekly in 2013. "I don't know why. But there's something pure about it. We were all sort of innocent. Open. Willing. Maybe that spirit came through."
Taylor would go on to appear in hits such as Say Anything, Rudy, High Fidelity and The Haunting. She's earned three Emmy nominations for her work on TV series such as Six Feet Under and American Crime, and most recently starred in HBO's Perry Mason.
The 53-year-old married writer Nick Flynn in 2009 and the couple has one daughter, Maeve, 12.
Gish was just as young (16) and naive (flying in from Cedar Falls, Iowa) as her character Kat when she filmed the movie in Mystic, Conn.
"I was the only one who had to have a guardian, so there was a marked separation because my mom was there," she said in an interview with EW. "I never felt left out, but I'm sure they did things after hours that were…uh, how do I not incriminate anyone?"
After Mystic Pizza, Gish would star in Shag, Wyatt Earp and Beautiful Girls. In 2001, she began her recurring role as Monica Reyes on The X-Files, one she would reprise for Fox's 2018 revival of the iconic sci-fi series. Gish, 53, also appeared on Pretty Little Liars, The Haunting of Hill House, Sons of Anarchy and Halt and Catch Fire.
Gish married X-Files stuntman Wade Allen in 2003 and they have two sons, Cash, 13, and Enzo, 11.
After playing Leona, the affectionately stern owner of the Mystic Pizza shop, Ferrell would go on to earn multiple Emmy nominations for her performances on L.A. Law and Two and a Half Men.
Ferrell passed away on Oct. 12, 2020 at the age of 77 due to complications following a cardiac arrest. According to Deadline, she died peacefully and was surrounded by family at a Los Angeles hospital.
Before he played Det. Goren on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, D'Onofrio co-starred as Bill, Jojo's fisherman fiancé who memorably accused, "All you love is my dick."
In an interview with EW, D'Onofrio admitted he was enamored with the movie's three stars, saying, "I was flirting with everyone. They were all just so beautiful. To me, they were just these angels. I adored being around them. I was smitten."
After his memorable turn in 1997's Men in Black, the 61-year-old kicked off his 10-year run on Law & Order: CI in 2001, appearing in 141 episodes. He's also starred in Netflix's Daredevil as the DC Comics villain Kingpin and co-starred in Ratched, the streaming giant's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest prequel.
In 1997, D'Onofrio married Dutch model Carin van der Donk and the couple have two sons. He also has a daughter, Leila George, from a previous relationship with actress Greta Scacchi. George, 27, married Sean Penn, 59, in August 2020 after three years of dating.
Moses was already well-established in Hollywood when he played Kat's much older (and married) love interest, thanks to his six-year stint on the popular soap Falcon Crest.
He would go on to make recurring appearances in a string of hit TV series, including Melrose Place, Touched By an Angel and The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
Moses was married to actress Tracy Nelson for ten years before the couple, who share daughter, Remington, divorced in 1997. The 60-year-old went on to marry Sarah Moses in 2000. He also starred in 17 Perry Mason TV movies and nine outings of the Jane Doe movie franchise. His most recent credit was in the final season of How to Get Away With Murder.
After playing Daisy's rich boyfriend Charlie, Storke would go on to star in the 1994 Stephen King miniseries The Stand and appear in Death Becomes Her and Tales From the Crypt. His other TV credits include Crossing Jordan, Our Generation and New Amsterdam.
"Hair was a big deal on this movie," the 58-year-old recalled in an interview with EW in 2013. "I had to dye my hair white and then put a rinse in it every day. Julia's hair was big one day and small the next. I think [the filmmakers] had a hard time focusing on exactly what they wanted."
The future Oscar winner made his feature film debut as Charlie's little brother, making a brief appearance in a dinner scene.
"He actually looked like Jason Bourne," Storke joked on Good Morning America in 2013.
Of course, Damon would go on to become one of the most successful actors of his generation after his breakout moment in 1997, starring in and writing Good Will Hunting with best friend Ben Affleck. The pair went on to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Damon's other lead roles include The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Departed, Ford. V. Ferrari, Invictus and the Bourne franchise. He's been nominated for three Oscars in acting categories and won a Golden Globe for his turn in 2016's The Martian.
After meeting at a bar when he was filming Stuck On You, the 50-year-old married Luciana Bozán Barroso in December 2005. They've since welcomed three daughters, Isabella, Gia and Stella, and Damon adopted Alexia, Barroso's daughter from her previous marriage.
Mystic Pizza is available to stream on Hulu.
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