While Kevin Spacey, Annette Benning and Chris Cooper acted their little socks off in ‘American Beauty’ there are probably three scenes that stick out in your memory – Mena Suvari rolling around naked on the bedroom ceiling while covered in rose petals…
… the teenage lad filming a ‘profound’ plastic bag (perfectly spoofed in Family Guy)..
… and perhaps that bit where Thora Birch flashes her boobs from the bedroom window (well, it was critically acclaimed by teenage boys anyway).
But what ever happened to those three teenagers?
Well one developed a heroin addiction, one has mostly disappeared and one has appeared in five films featuring the word ‘American’ in the title.
Check out their life stories after the jump!
Thora Birch – Jane Burnham
Thora was named after the Norse god (and later Marvel superhero) Thor. There seems to be a lightning theme in her house as her younger brother is called Bolt.
Her parents are both former porn stars who appeared in the 70′s adult film ‘Deep Throat’.
You’ll know Thora as the child star who appeared in ‘Hocus Pocus’.
(Find out what happened to her co-star Omri Katz here)
She played Jack Ryan’s (Harrison Ford) daughter in both ‘Patriot Games’ and ‘Clear and Present Danger’.
And she starred with Christina Ricci in ‘Now & Then’ (more on the that cast HERE)
As a teenager she appeared alongside Keira Knightley in ‘The Hole’, and with Scarlett Johannson in ‘Ghost World’.
Since then her career has slowed down a little with some direct-to-DVD horrors, true-story TV movies and reports she was fired from a ‘Dracula’ play because of her father’s interference.
Wes Bentley – Ricky Fitts
Wes comes from a religious family from Arkansas – his dad is a Methodist minister and his mom is a church elder.
Wes took part in the documentary ‘My Big Break‘ which followed him and three other young actors trying to make it in Hollywood – the doc showed he struggled with a heroin addiction following his ‘American Beauty’ breakthrough.
He went on to have a small part in the Heath Ledger movie ‘The Four Feathers’ in 2002 but his addiction took over and after he and his first wife Jennifer Quanz split in 2006 he began doing drugs ‘full time’ with occasional roles in movies like ‘Ghost Rider’.
Wes has been clean since reaching out to get help in 2009 and his career has bounced back.
He plays Seneca Crane in ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise (above) and has a role in the upcoming biopic ‘Lovelace’ starring Amanda Seyfried. Wes has also been cast as the lead in Ryan Murphy’s latest TV drama ‘Open’.
He has a son called Charles with his second wife Jacqui Swedberg.
Mena Suvari – Angela Hayes
Mena started out as a teen model who landed guest roles in ‘Boy Meets World’ and ‘ER’, she had a huge breakthrough in 1999 with her roles in ‘American Beauty’ and ‘American Pie’.
The photoshop on that poster is flawless. Tara Reid’s head never looked so natural.
Mena went on to appear in ‘Carrie 2: The Rage’, ‘Loser’ (with ‘American Pie’ co-star Jason Biggs), ‘Sugar & Spice’, ‘Trauma’, and ‘Spun’ with the late Brittany Murphy.
She was a recurring character on the fourth season of ‘Six Feet Under’, and had roles in ‘Day of the Dead’, ‘Rumor Has It’ with Jennifer Aniston, ‘Factory Girl’ with Sienna Miller, and ‘Domino’ with Keira Knightley.
Her most recent high profile role was in ‘American Reunion’ with all her former ‘American Pie’ co-stars.
Mena has been married and divorced twice. In total she has appeared in five films with the word ‘American’ in the title and was in an episode of ‘American Horror Story’.
The former teenagers of ‘American Beauty’, we salute you!