Thirteen was released almost 15 years ago, but it’s one of those movies that really stuck in our minds. It was enthralling, entertaining, and disturbing all at the same time. As the name suggests, it follows the life of one girl who turns 13. This year proved to be one of the most tumultuous of her life. She transforms from a loser kid with “cabbage patch” clothes to a “hot girl” who hangs out with the “in” crowd. Sadly, this is a familiar story and many girls are going off the rails at an early age these days, just like the girls depicted in this film. The movie was a huge success, and it was filmed on a low budget. They managed to scrape together about a couple million to shoot the film, and it did extremely well both critically and at the box office.
The budget was so low that the production team had to be very creative. At one point, they put the video camera on a shopping cart to create a tracking shot. The shopping cart was found discarded nearby. They also had to get very creative with the lighting techniques, and shot on ultra cheap 16mm film. But where they saved the most money was in their casting. They wanted maybe one or two big names for their cast, but the rest would be unknown actors and actresses. Luckily, they found some really talented young people, and these people for the most part went on to do great things. But where did all these people end up? Where are they today?
15. Holly Hunter
Holly Hunter was a hugely integral part of Thirteen. The producers and the directors were not even sure they would be able to go ahead with the movie. But when Holly Hunter expressed a desire to be part of the project, that was the moment when the film finally got the green light. In the film, she played the extremely important role of Melanie, Tracy’s mom. This role demanded a huge amount of emotional commitment, perhaps the most challenging role in the entire movie. She beautifully captured the struggle of a mother trying to win back her daughter.
Holly Hunter is an actress of immeasurable quality and proven worth. The 1993 film The Piano, which she headlined, won her an Academy Award for best actress. She was actually nominated for an Academy Award for her role in Thirteen as well. This actress has also won a total of two Emmy Awards, and one Golden Globe. These days, you might recognize her for her role in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.
14. Vanessa Hudgens
You might have missed it, but Vanessa Hudgens was actually in Thirteen. She didn’t play a large role, but she was definitely in there. A lot of people don’t realize this was the case, because she looked very different back then. She was probably a lot younger than a lot of the other actresses who played students in this film, and my how she’s grown. Vanessa’s character is named Noel, and initially she is Tracy’s best friend. But then Tracy befriends Evie and turns into a completely different person, and leaves Noel behind. Noel’s character serves as a foil for Tracy and Evie. While the two main girls are corrupt and going down the wrong path, Noel is the picture of innocence.
We all know how huge Vanessa Hudgens became in the years following this movie. And this would have come as a pretty big surprise back in the day, considering Vanessa only had a supporting role. But in a twist of fate, she would go on to become arguably the most famous person in the entire cast. After her debut with Thirteen, she went on the star in High School Musical, which was her major breakout role. Years later, she’s a successful actress and singer. Interestingly, she played a very similar role as Evie and Tracy in Spring Breakers, which shows her range as an actress.
13. Kip Pardue
Kip Pardue played another memorable role in Thirteen. He plays Luke, a “hot lifeguard” from across the street who Tracy and Evie both fantasize about. Eventually, they begin to seduce him more and more, until he can’t resist any longer. Luke is in his 20s, so hooking up with two 13-year-olds would have been highly illegal. This part of the film illustrates how the girls are using their sexuality to manipulate others, putting them in potential danger. Before things go too far, Luke stops the make-out session, dismissing the girls as “jailbait.”
Kip Pardue is easily one of the most talented actors on this list, and has gone on to achieve great success as an actor and also a screenwriter. He’s also a model, and has modeled for designers such as Armani and Polo. He’s appeared in huge movies such as Remember The Titans, Rules Of Attraction, Driven, as well as countless appearances on television. As previously mentioned, he is also starting to show his talent as a writer as well.
12. Nikki Reed
Nikki Reed was an integral part of the Thirteen movie. She was very good friends with the director of the film, Catherine Hardwicke. Nikki Reed was basically the director’s “surrogate child,” and they actually wrote the entire film together, and Nikki Reed was a vital part of the creative process from the very start. She played Evie in the movie, and she was the bad influence on Tracey that started her whole downward spiral. She was an incredibly brave actress in the movie, doing things that most girls her age would not feel comfortable with.
Today, she is a huge success. Reed went on to build on her success from Thirteen with a host of other roles in television series and movies. She usually plays the sexualized, promiscuous teenager, although she’s grown out of those roles now. Nowadays, she’s most famous for her roles in movies like the hugely popular Twilight series, in which she played the vampire Rosalie Hale. Since then, she’s been keeping active in the industry with a ton of roles in independent films and television shows. We’re probably going to see a lot more of her in the future.
11. Evan Rachel Wood
Evan Rachel Wood was a huge part of the success of Thirteen. Early on, when Nikki Reed and Catherine Hardwicke were writing the film, they decided that it would be unsuitable for Nikki Reed to play the lead herself. They needed a different kind of actor who could take the audience on the journey from innocence to corruption, and finally to complete destruction. They auditioned many young actresses, and finally settled on a very talented young individual – Evan Rachel Wood. This proved to be an excellent decision, as Wood really made the film what it was. Although her character was 13, Wood was 15 at the time.
Since this movie, she was really propelled into fame. This was definitely her big break. She later went on to star in a number of small independent films such as Running With Scissors, before landing a leading role in Across The Universe. These days, however, you might recognize her for her role in the critically-acclaimed and extremely popular television show Westworld, in which she plays the android Dolores.
10. Jeremy Sisto
Jeremy Sisto was another actor who played a pretty big role in Thirteen. In the film, he plays Melanie’s (Tracy’s mother) drug-addicted boyfriend. Tracy witnesses this man being abusive towards her mother, as well as him doing drugs, and this is part of what pushed her away from her mother and what’s left of her family. Jeremy Sisto’s character is named Brady, and although we don’t see much of him, he plays an important role. Ironically, by running away from home because of Brady’s behavior, she ends up falling into the same drug addiction that fuels his abusive relationship with her mother.
Jeremy Sisto is an extremely talented actor who is very well-recognized in the acting world. Aside from Thirteen, he’s appeared in HBO’s Six Feet Under as Billy Chenowith, as well as Law & Order, playing Detective Cyrus Lupo. He’s also a very experienced theater actor, and has won awards for his acting on Broadway. Furthermore, he’s starting to show his talent as a screenwriter as well. Right now, he has a recurring role in the show Ice, which also stars Donald Sutherland.
9. D.W. Moffett
DW Moffett is another actor who played a somewhat minor role in Thirteen, but an important one. In this film, he played Tracy’s biological father. When Tracy starts going really downhill, her mother tries to send her to live with her father, believing this will set her straight. She almost goes to live with him – but the move never happens. Considering the fact that he seems a much more stable individual, this move probably would have been a good idea. But then again, we wouldn’t have had an interesting story.
This actor has an incredible career on stage, performing with the likes of Kevin Spacey and John Malkovich, and Matt Damon. In terms of film, he won an award for his role in Traffic, and also starred in Stealing Beauty. But you might recognize him best for his role in the television series Friday Night Lights, Happily Divorced, and Switched At Birth.
8. Brady Corbet
Brady Corbet played the important role of Tracy’s brother in the movie. There are quite a few very interesting scenes involving Brady Corbet, and he is a pretty integral character. Tracy’s brother often has to give her rides, and cover for her when she lies about where she’s been. He’s also portrayed as a weed smoker and a skateboarder, but even this “bad boy” persona is dwarfed by Tracy’s eventual descent into drug addiction, sexual promiscuity, and defiance against her mother.
Brady Corbet has become quite an up-and-coming actor these days, and believe it or not, he’s also getting quite the reputation as a director. But even before Thirteen, he was already a pretty established actor, winning a guest role on King Of Queens at the age of 11, and following that up with extensive voice acting work on various anime series. He also played Jack Bauer’s son in 24. These days, he’s best known as a director, with his directorial debut coming out in 2013, called The Childhood Of A Leader. His next film is reported to star Jude Law.
7. Ulysses Estrada
Ulysses Astrada was another actor who played a relatively minor role in the movie Thirteen. However, it was essential for the producers to find a few very talented young actors such as Estrada to play the various kids that Tracy would interact with at school and on the streets. He plays the role of Rafa, one of the guys that takes notice of Tracy as she starts dressing more suggestively, and acting more promiscuous.
Ulysses Estrada has been continuing with his acting career, although he’s admittedly been less successful than many of the other actors on this list. But that’s not to say he hasn’t been active in the acting world. After Thirteen, he appeared in the television series Medical Investigation, and many others. He’s also appeared in the 2015 movie The Boatman.
6. Sarah Clarke
Sarah Clarke is another actress who you might recognize from the movie Thirteen. She admittedly plays a pretty minor character, but she is a memorable part of the film nonetheless. Her role is Birdie, one of Melanie’s friends that comes and stays at their house. This frustrates Tracy, who is at this point constantly high on drugs and going completely off the rails. She makes rude comments about Birdie to her face, and is clearly not happy that she’s staying at their house.
Sarah Clarke is another actress whose career was already in full swing when she took part in Thirteen. As such, she has many other acting credits under her belt. Before Thirteen, she was making appearances in Sex And The City, and many other noteworthy projects. After Thirteen, she went on to be one of the many actors who took part in the television series, 24. She then went on to land a huge role in Twilight, playing Bella’s mother.
5. Yasmine Delawari
Yasmine Delawari is another actress who played a slightly minor role in Thirteen, but I’m sure all of the film’s biggest fans will be able to recognize her. In the movie, she played the English teacher at Tracy’s high school, and did a really good job. It was essential for this movie to realistically recreate the high school scene, both using child actors for the students and adult actors and actresses who could play the teachers. Yasmine Delawari had some interesting scenes to play with this character.
Prior to her role on Thirteen, Jasmine Delawari had a few roles in TV movies and other projects, but Thirteen was when she started to land really big roles. She then appeared on the TV series The Shield, and also American Family. She’s best known for her roles in the movie Mr. Brooks, as well as Lies & Alibis, and most recently Retaliation.
4. Deborah Kara Unger
Deborah Kara Unger plays a very memorable role in Thirteen, one that was typical of the type of work she was doing at that time. She played Brooke, who was Evie’s cousin slash caregiver. She worked at a strip bar, and she was hardly the ideal parental figure. Regardless, she becomes close with both Evie and Tracy, until Tracy’s life comes crashing down and Brooke and Evie try to lay the blame on Tracy for being a bad influence on Evie, when clearly it’s the other way around. Melanie has a plastic surgery procedure that goes wrong in the movie, leading to Evie asking Melanie to formally adopt her.
Deborah Unger was a major force in acting even before she took the role of Melanie in Thirteen. She’s actually a Canadian born actress, who studied in Australia, before finally making the jump to Hollywood in America after many roles on Australian television. She has appeared in many films, appearing as the icy female usually. Examples of her best work would be Crash, The Highlander III, and Whispers In The Dark.
3. Frank Merino
One of the most iconic scenes in Thirteen is the scene where Tracy gets her tongue pierced. This becomes a symbol for her descent into degeneracy, and the complete loss of her childhood. When her mother sees her belly button ring, she gets angry. Then, to taunt her mother even further, Tracy shows her that her tongue is also pierced. The promotional work for the film also heavily features pictures of both Evie and Tracy showing off their piercings. It’s obviously a message from the director about the prevalent sexualization of the youth these days.
When she goes into the tattoo shop, she must convince the tattoo artist to pierce her lip even though she is underage. The tattoo artist is played by Frank Merino. This actor played a small role in the movie Thirteen, but he went on to have great success. He’s appeared on countless TV shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, Weeds, and most recently High & Mighty.
2. Cynthia Ettinger
The character of Cynthia was played by none other than Cynthia Ettinger. A fitting role for an actress with the same name. This movie needed some amazing actresses such as her to fill in the gaps. With so much riding on this project, they needed every single role to be filled by a talented actor or actress. And the production really did the right thing by spending the money on acting talent rather than expensive film and cameras, or elaborate shooting techniques. Cynthia Ettinger is a testament to this ideology, and it really works.
Prior to Thirteen, Ettinger starred in Silence Of The Lambs as Officer Jacobs. She also appeared on Seinfeld. She was actually cast as Martha Kent in the pilot of Smallville, but she and production team came to a mutual agreement that she was not right for the role. After Thirteen, she appeared in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Deadwood, and Grey’s Anatomy.
1. Mo McRae
If you blinked, you might have missed Mo McRae in Thirteen. He played one of the rappers in the movie, and no one really expected much to come of this actor. Like Vanessa Hudgens, he played a small role in Thirteen but made a huge impact on Hollywood in the future following those early years. Not many people probably expected Mo McRae to succeed, but he did in a massive way. From his humble beginnings as simply a “rapper” in Thirteen, Mo McRae has really taken the film industry by storm.
Prior to Thirteen, he had appeared in TV shows like Boston Public and NYPD Blue. After Thirteen, he went on to star in TV shows like The Shield, before appearing in Cold Case, The Division, CSI, and ER. His first big movie was Gridiron Gang, but later went on to star in The Butler. Since then, he’s appeared in massively popular TV shows like Sons Of Anarchy, as well as Empire.
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