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Empire Records – What happened after Rex Manning Day?

When Empire Records was released in 1996 it captured the grunge vibe that many teens were going through at that time. “Damn the man – save the empire” we all screamed whilst dreaming of getting a job at a record store. Now all these years later it’s time to look back at what happened to those staff, shop lifters, and slackers after Rex Manning Day ended…

Rory Cochrane (Lucas)

The first member of the crew we meet is Lucas played by Rory Cochrane. Rory already had a cult following thanks to his turn as Slater in Dazed & Confused, following Empire Record many expected big things from the character actor and Cochrane has remained steady with memorable roles in The Last Don, Dogtown, Flawless, Southlander: Diary of a Desperate Musician, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, A Scanner Darkly, The Company, 24, Argo, Oculus, Black Mass, Hostiles and the upcoming Tyson’s Run.

Anthony LaPaglia (Joe Reaves)

Already a well known face on the big and small screen for his roles in Amazing Stories, Magnum P.I., Hunter, Cold Steel, the Equaliser, A Man Called Hawk, One Good Cop, Tales From the Crypt, and I Married An Axe Murderer, LaPaglia played Joe the record store owner who had a lot to contend with in the movie! Following Empire Records he went on to star in Murder One, Frasier, Without A Trace, All-Star Superman, The Code, Riviera, Sunshine, and Bad Blood.

Johnny Whitworth (A.J.)

With just a few appearances (including Party of Five) before Empire Records, Whitworth would continue on with his career with roles in The Rainmaker, NYPD Blue, The SHIELD, The Anarchist Cookbook, Cold Case, Numb3rs, Without A Trace, 3:10 to Yuma, CSI: Miami, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The 100, Blindspot, Colony, and will soon be appearing in Meet Me in a Happy Place.


Liv Tyler (Corey Mason)

Empire Records was Tyler’s first major role following a bunch of Aerosmith videos for her Dad and her career has not slowed down since. Roles flooded in after Empire Records including That Thing You Do!, Stealing Beauty, Armageddon, Plunkett & Macleane, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Strangers, The Incredible Hulk, Super, The Leftovers, Gunpowder and Harlots. She remains active on the big and small screen.

Renee Zellweger (Gina)

After a few blink and you will miss it rolls in Dazed and Confused and Reality Bites, Zellweger got some good Hollywood traction in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation before playing Gina, who had loose morals and secretly wanted to be a singer. In Empire Records it was Gina who got to grips with Rex Manning in the office. Zellweger would of course go on to global stardom in the Bridgette Jones movies as well as major roles in Chicago, Cold Mountain, Jerry Maguire amongst others. She is soon to play Judy Garland in Judy.

Robin Tunney (Debra)

Debra was the most emotionally disturbed member of the Empire Records staff and Tunney played her with great conviction, even agreeing to shave her head for one scene in the movie. Tunney already has some weight on her C.V. before she accepted the role including Life Goes On, California Man, Class of 96, Cutters, and J.F.K.: Reckless Youth. Following her turn as Debra the role continued to pile up with appearances in The Craft, Montana, Vertical Limit, The Twilight Zone, House M.D., Prison Break, Hollywoodland, The Mentalist, Insatiable, Monster Party and The Fix.

Ethan Embry (Mark)

With a number of small TV roles under his belt including Murder She Wrote before the movie, Embry would go onto steal nearly every scene he was in as the Gwar loving Mark. His acting career would continue after the movie with That Thing You Do!, Vegas Vacation, Disturbing Behaviour, The Wild Thornberrys, Hercules, Work With Me, Batman of the Future, FreakyLinks, Sweet Home Alabama,  Spider-Man, Dragnet, Once Upon a Time, Brotherhood, The Witches of Oz, Convergence, Sneaky Pete, and most recently Grace and Frankie.


Coyote Shivers (Berko)

Shivers was actually Liv Tyler’s step-dad (he was married to her mother Bebe Buell 1992-1998) at the time of filming and was already a well known Canadian musician and had played the role of Buddy in Johnny Mnemonic. Following in the film Shivers concentrated back on his music career but did, over the years, appear in Smut, Down and Out with the Dolls, Girls in 3D, The Boys & Girls Guide to Getting Down and 2011’s Hollywood Sex Wars. He was married to Pauley Perrette between 2000-2006, and is now married to Mayra Dias Gome.

James “Kimo” Willis (Eddie the Pizza Guy)

An uncredited role as a party guest in Dazed and Confused led Willis to playing Eddie the Pizza Guy in Empire Records. Following the release of the film Willis remained quiet until 2000 when he appeared in The Tao of Steve, The Independent, and Lush. He would then make appearances in Buffalo Soldiers, The District, and White Oleander.  after 2003 things went quiet again before appearing in Monk in 2009. Again silence followed before his last credited role to date, Tuna, in 2009.


Brendan Sexton III (Warren the Shop Lifter)

Shoplifter!!! Empire Records was Sexton’s second credited acting role and he managed to turn the role of Warren the Shop Lifter into a character we all invested in. We wanted to see what happened to him next. following Empire Records Sexton stayed very busy with roles in Hurricane Streets, Sparks, Pecker, Boys Don’t Cry, Black Hawk Down, Winter Solstice, Life on Mars, The Runaways, The Killing, Seven Psychopaths, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Russian Doll (as Horse the homeless man), Jukebox Hero, and will soon appear in Chronicle of a Serial Killer as Henry Brolin.

Debi Mazar (Jane)

Mazar was no stranger to the big screen when she signed on for Empire Records. Her career began as a dancer appearing in videos for Madonna amongst others and soon notched up roles in Goodfellas, The Doors, Jungle Fever, Little Man Tate, Singles, Malcolm X, Toys, Civil Wars, So I Married An Axe Murderer, Beethoven’s 2nd, L.A. Law, and Batman Forever. Following Empire Records, Mazar appeared in Space Truckers, Temporarily Yours, Casper: A Spirited Beginning, The Wild Thornberrys, Working, Providence, Grand Theft Auto III, The Tuxedo, Grand Theft Auto III, Friends, 7th Heaven, All of Us, Be Cool, Ghost Whisperer, Ugly Betty, Burn Notice, Entourage. Most recently she was seen in Happy! and Younger.

Maxwell Caulfield (Rex Manning)

Caulfield was another well known name before Empire Records with roles in Ryan’s Hope, Grease 2, The Powers of Matthew Star, Electric Dreams, Dynasty, The Colbys, Beverly Hills 90210, Murder She Wrote, Waxwork II: Lost in Time, Animal Instincts, Alien Intruder, and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. As Rex Manning, Caulfield created a cult character that lives onto this day with Rex Manning Day now celebrated every April 8th. Following Empire Records Caulfield would appear in Spider-Man, Veronica’s Closet, La Femme Nikita, Son of the Beach, Stripmall, Dragon Storm, Casualty, Holby City, Emmerdale, Modern Family, and is due to appear in Those Who Wander.

So there we have it! Empire Records – What happened after Rex Manning Day? Now we know, so why not now sit back and enjoy the man himself…

Founded Cult Faction in 2014; previously crawled out of the Black Lodge in 1976, only to find himself in the Village.

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