Office Space Turns 20: Where Are the Stars of the Hilarious Cult Classic Now?

Did you get the memo? Mike Judge's wicked corporate culture satire is celebrating a big birthday!

By Billy Nilles Feb 19, 2019 11:00 AMTags

TPS reports. Flair. The red Swingline stapler. That POS printer.

Did you get the memo? It's been 20 years since writer-director Mike Judge, then best-known for creating the animated hits Beavis and Butt-Head and King of the Hill, made his live-action debut with the wicked corporate culture satire Office Space.

The film, which told the story of fed-up Initech programmer Peter Gibbons (played by Ron Livingston) as he and his equally over-it coworkers plot to take down the company that's sucking the life out of them, was born out of an animated short that Judge created and voiced, centered on mumbling office worker Milton and his condescending boss, that aired on Comedy Central in 1991.

"In 1996, I had an overall deal at [20th Century] Fox. [Network president] Peter Chernin had seen the short film and said, 'This should be a movie,' so writers pitched ideas for a Milton-focused feature," Judge revealed to Entertainment Weekly in January. "I said, 'It can't be just about Milton. You don't want to know what he does at home after work.'"

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Once someone suggested something of an ensemble piece—"Like Car Wash, but in an office," Judge recalled—the story of Peter and his quest for revenge was born. The film was not a success upon its debut, earning a disappointing $12.2 million on a $10 million budget, but its arrival on Comedy Central and home video took the well-reviewed film into full-blown cult status. 

"It felt like it kind of went viral before that concept even existed," Livingston remarked to the publication. He's not wrong. The film, especially its infamous printer-smashing scene, has been parodied several times over in pop culture, and generated countless memes, while still remaining one of Fox's most consistently-selling DVDs in an age when no one is really buying those anymore.

In honor of 20 years of hilariously relatable film, let's take a look at what its key players have been up to over the last two decades!

Peter: Ron Livingston

When writer-director Mike Judge was casting the lead role of Peter, the over-it programmed at Initech, Fox suggested that, despite the meager budget, he try and get either Ben Affleck or Matt Damon, hot off the success of Good Will Hunting. Despite agreeing to meet with Damon, when Ron Livingston's tape came through, he only wanted the Swingers star for the role. In the two decades since Office Space, Livingston's cultivated an impressive resume of TV credits, including Sex and the City (as the Post-It dumping Berger), Band of Brothers, Search Party, Loudermilk, and ABC's newest hit drama A Million Little Things. He's also been active in the world world, starring in Adaptation, Little Black Book, The Conjuring, and Tully, among others.

Joanna: Jennifer Aniston

When Jennifer Aniston was cast as Chotchkie's waitress—and Peter's love interest—Joanna, she was Judge's fulfillment of Fox's desire for some star power. And the casting of the Friends star, then halfway through the hit show's 10-year reign, meant that the role had to beefed up and altered in ways befitting the star—most notably, writing her out of the film's sex-dream sequence. In the years following the film's release, she went on to become, you know, one of Hollywood's biggest stars. After Friends wrapped in 2004, she found continued success on the big screen, starring in films like The Break-Up, Marley & Me, Horrible Bosses, Cake, and Dumplin', though she'll be making her long-awaited return to series regular TV in Apple's upcoming untitled morning show drama co-starring Reese Witherspoon.

And then there's her personal life, which has made her a tabloid fixture ever since the tied to knot with Brad Pitt a year after Office Space was released. They famously split in 2005 when he fell for Angelina Jolie. After dating the likes of Vince Vaughn and John Mayer, she married Justin Theroux in 2015. They split after two years. And only one of her ex-husbands was invited to her 50th birthday celebration in February 2019. Sorry, Justin!

Milton: Stephen Root

When Stephen Root was cast as Milton, Initech's meek collator who just wants his stapler back, he'd already collaborated with Judge, doing voice work in the Fox animated series King of the Hill, and starred on an NBC series of his own, the criminally-underrated NewsRadio, which ended the year Office Space came out. In the years since, the dependable character actor has worked in both TV and film, providing voices for Finding Nemo, Ice Age and Adventure Time, while appearing in projects as varied as True Blood, Selma, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Get Out, and Barry, to name but a small few.

Bill Lumbergh: Gary Cole

Before Gary Cole became the world's most insufferable boss obsessed with TPS reports, he was most well-known for playing Mike Brady in The Brady Bunch Movie and A Very Brady Sequel. Since then, he's kept very busy on TV, lending his voice to animated series like Kim Possible, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, and Bob's Burgers, while appearing in shows like The West Wing, Suits, The Good Wife, its spinoff The Good Fight, Chicago Fire, and Veep. He's also starred in several films since Office Space, including Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, and Blockers.

Michael Bolton: David Herman

Mike Judge wrote the part of Michael Bolton—no, not that one—with David Herman in mind, as they'd worked together on Judge's King of the Hill. At the time, Herman was stuck in a contract as one of the original cast members of MADtv and he desperately wanted out. After Fox refused to release him from his contract, he showed up at the next table-read and screamed every single line at the top of his lungs. He finally got his wish. Since Office Space, he hasn't physically acted in much, save for a two-episode arc on 24 and small roles in films like Kicking & Screaming and Judge's eerily prescient Idiocracy, but you've no doubt heard him. He's provided voice work on animated series like Futurama, Brickleberry, American Dad!, Disenchantment, and Bob's Burgers.

Lawrence: Diedrich Bader

Before Diedrich Bader landed the role of Peter's next-door neighbor Lawrence in Office Space, he was most well-known for his role in the 1993 film adaptation of The Beverly Hillbillies, playing both Jethro and Jethrine Bodine, as well as his starring role on The Drew Carey Show. After Office Space, Bader continued playing Oswald on the ABC sitcom until it wrapped in 2004. Since then, he's appeared in films like Napoleon Dynamite and Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous, while providing voice work to numerous animated children's shows. Aside from guest-starring work on comedies like Arrested Development, Veep, and Better Things, he can currently be seen starring in the ABC sitcom American Housewife.

Samir: Ajay Naidu

When the Indian-American Ajay Naidu was cast as Samir, the character was rewritten from Iranian, as Judge had originally intended, to Jordanian, and the actor worked with a dialect coach to get the accent right. Since Office Space's release, he's appeared in films like Requiem for a Dream, Bad Santa, The Wrestler, and The Kindergarten Teacher. On the TV side of things, he's had guest-starring roles in shows as varied as The Sopranos, 30 Rock, Odd Mom Out, Blindspot, Friends from College, and God Friended Me

Bob Slydell: John C. McGinley

When John C. McGinley landed the role of one of the two Bobs in Office Space, after originally auditioning for Lumbergh, he'd already had a 13-year career as a character actor that began in Platoon and continued through such films like Wall Street, Point Break, and Seven. He's most recognizable to fans, however, for the role he landed two years after Office Space's release: Dr. Perry Cox in NBC's long-running beloved sitcom Scrubs. Since Scrubs wrapped, he's starred in less-successful sitcoms Ground Floor and Stan Against Evil. On the big screen, he's appeared in films like Wild Hogs, Are We Done Yet?, 42, and The Belko Experiment.

Bob Porter: Paul Willson

Prior to playing the other Bob in Office Space, Paul Willson's most notable credits were his roles on It's Garry Shandling's Show. and Cheers. Since the film's release, he's worked mostly on television, with guest-starring appearances on shows like The King of Queens, Star Trek: Voyager, Frasier (reprising his Cheers role of Paul Krapence), The Big Bang Theory, and, most recently, The Conners.

Anne: Alexandra Wentworth

Before playing Anne, Peter's cheating girlfriend who talks him into the life-changing hypnotherapy, Alexandra Wentworth was best known for starring in the fourth and fifth seasons of In Living Color, as well as appearing in Seinfeld's "The Soup Nazi" episode and Jerry Maguire. Since the film's release, she's headlined two sitcoms of her own, Head Case and Nightcap, as well as appearing in the film It's Complicated. The BFF of Mariska Hargitay and Debra Messing has been married to former Clinton Administration Adviser and current ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos since 2001. The couple has two children.

Stan: Mike Judge

When Judge couldn't find anyone to play the role of Stan, Joanna's flair-obsessed manager at Chotchkie's, he decided to just play the role himself, marking the first time that he'd ever appeared on-camera. Since the film's release, he's picked up a handful of live-action gigs, including the first two Spy Kids movies, an episode of Frasier, and The Front Runner. As a creator, he followed Office Space up with films Idiocracy and Extract, as well as the short-lived ABC animated comedy The Goode Family. In 2014, he landed his next hit, co-creating Silicon Valley for HBO.

Office Space is available to rent on iTunes and Amazon Prime Video. And for more on the cult classic, be sure to tune in to E! News tonight at 7 p.m. only on E!

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