Saturday’s Six: Cast and Crew from PCU who went on to greatness

It’s absolutely bizarre for me to consider that in just a few years, PCU — the movie that defined the college experience for me — will be 20 years old.  It still holds up as a fun flick that eerily predicted the rise of our politically correct society (and the divisions that that brings), but even more interesting is the fact that its cast and crew has enjoyed a huge amount of success in the two decades that followed.

Today, let’s take a look at six of these lovely folks and how PCU probably paved the path to glory for them!

1. Zak Penn

In PCU: Zak Penn was one of the two writers of PCU, loosely basing the film on his college experiences.  Penn also had a cameo in the film as the guy who wanted to use the restroom and had to pay for the privilege.  He also graciously sent me one of the original drafts of the script in 1997, and I still love him for that.

Since PCU: He went on to write a huge chunk of the superhero screenplays you may have watched over the past decade.  X-MenX2X-Men: The Last Stand?  The Incredible Hulk?  All Penn.  Sure, he’s had some stinkers (Elektra anyone?), but he’s proven himself enough that the studios are paying him to write the screenplay to next year’s highly anticipated Avengers movie.

2. Jon Favreau

In PCU: Favreau played Gutter, the dreadlock stoner who was That Guy by wearing the shirt of the band he was going to see.  He also kind of saved the party by bringing back George Clinton unknowingly.  Dumb, but lovable.

Since PCU: Jon Favreau enjoyed a modest streak of acting success, with roles in TV’s Friends, Swingers, Daredevil, Deep Impact and The ReplacementsBut it was in his talents as a director where he really hit the big time, by helming mega-hits like Elf, Iron Man and Iron Man 2 (throwing himself an acting role in each as a bonus).  This summer he’s got Cowboys & Aliens coming out, and I can’t wait to see it.

3. Jessica Walter

In PCU: Jessica Walter played the Big Bad of the film, the ultra-uptight president of the university who we couldn’t wait to see overthrown.

Since PCU: Walter was a prolific actress before and since 1994, but it was 2003’s Arrested Development where she became a huge star.  As Lucille Bluth, Walter enjoyed a role that few others would ever see: a cacklingly evil (yet sometimes caring) mother who was always on the sauce, wildly indifferent to the real world, and a source of eternal frustration for her kids.

4. Jeremy Piven

In PCU: Jeremy Piven played Droz, the leader and hero of The Pit, who tackled the absurd situations he’d encounter with laconic wisecracks and inspiring enthusiasm.

Since PCU: While reportedly a jerk to work with, Piven nonetheless enjoyed a great deal of success in the years to follow, with roles on TV’s Ellen, TV’s Cupid, Grosse Point Blank, Serendipity, Cars, and The Kingdom.  In 2003 he went back to the college setting in Old School, this time playing the oppressive dean instead of the liberating student.

5. David Spade

In PCU: Spade played Rand, the other bad guy of the film.  Rand was a (gasp) preppie conservative who made an unholy alliance with the liberal administration to bring down The Pit.  In the end he got torn apart by a mob.

Since PCU: While David Spade began his career with SNL and Police Academy 4, it was following 1994 that he became somewhat of a comedic heavyweight with TV’s Just Shoot Me, Tommy Boy, Black Sheep, Joe Dirt, The Emperor’s New Groove and The Benchwarmers.

6. Alex Desert

In PCU: Desert was Droz’s number two man, a laid-back fella with a heart of gold.

Since PCU: While Alex Desert became a big part of TV’s Becker and Boy Meets World, he’s since become a huge voice actor for many video games (Tomb Raider, Splinter Cell) and TV cartoons (Ultimate Spider-Man, The Avengers, Wolverine and the X-Men).


  1. Wait, you mentioned Jessica Walter, and don’t mention her current role, as a voice actor in the subversive spy spoof ‘Archer’? Especially given that ‘Archer’ is exactly the sort of show that Mutants should take to their heart. She’s the voice of the head of the agency (and Archer’s mom), who’s constantly drunk and hitting on anything in pants except her son (um… maybe) and having a long-distance flirtation with her opposite number in the KGB (who turns out to be Archer’s previously unknown dad).

  2. And how to do you mention Jeremy Piven’s career without Entourage? That show is what 95% of people nowadays know him from.

  3. Ugh, I hated Jeremy Piven in this. he was a too old male version of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. The film was good though in that it wasn’t afraid to show him as an idiot.

    It was a surprisingly funny film, but the main cast was too obnoxious at times to make it great. A lot of the fun was in the supporting cast-the pre-frosh, Spade’s lunkhead preppy sidekick, the hippies vs womyn frisbee game, and other scenes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s