Kevin Spacey, Benicio Del Toro, Bryan Singer. You may recognize their names today but would it surprise you to know that when The Usual Suspects was released in 1995, they were anything but known quantities? They were, in fact, relatively unknown; the biggest star in the movie being arguably Chazz Palminteri who was coming off the one-two punch of Bullets Over Broadway and A Bronx Tale. My, how times have changed.
Kevin Spacey: Now a mega-star,
Spacey was once pegged as an ensemble player with supporting roles films like the Denis Leary vehicle The Ref , and the all-star laden Glengarry Glen Ross .
After nabbing the plum role of “Verbal” Kint, Spacey became a
cheerleader for the script and helped producer Singer nab several other
actors for the production. With a similarly creepy turn in Se7en that same year, Spacey went from a familiar face to a box office sensation.
Benicio Del Toro: Del Toro had appeared most notably in the indie flick Swimming With Sharks, before rocketing to fame as the
mumble-mouthed Fred Fenster. Originally written for a Harry Dean
Stanton type, del Toro took the role in a different direction and ended up cementing himself a place in film history. After his
similarly outlandish performance in 1998’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas made him a household name, the actor hasn’t stopped working since.
Bryan Singer: Before The Usual Suspects, this producer-director had only one feature film under his belt, the minor Sundance hit Public Access.
Yet it was Singer’s clarity of vision, his relentless pursuit of untested
talent, and his knack for storytelling that eventually led to this groundbreaking film. Now, he’s
directing Hollywood blockbusters, from X-Men and its sequel to the under-appreciated Superman Returns.