The cast of “Zoolander”: Where are they now?

Catch up with the "really really really ridiculously good-looking" ensemble more than 20 years after Ben Stiller first introduced the world to Blue Steel.

<p>Paramount Pictures/Getty</p> Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller in

Paramount Pictures/Getty

Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller in 'Zoolander'

Ex-squeeze me, but have you ever heard of Zoolander?

Based on a series of sketches for the VH1 Fashion Awards and co-written by Drake Sather, John Hamburg, and star and director Ben Stiller, this model industry send-up finds supermodel on-the-decline Derek Zoolander (Stiller) at the center of a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia. As the brainless wonder uncovers the brainwashing scheme with the help of journalist Matilda Jeffries (Christine Taylor), he must also contend with rising "hot" model Hansel McDonald (Owen Wilson) and tyrannical designer Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell).

The Manchurian Candidate-esque, over-the-top comedy was unfortunately released on Sept. 28, 2001 — 17 days after the tragic events of 9/11 — and box office returns suffered as a result. In addition, the film was banned in Malaysia and Singapore due to its assassination storyline. Despite these setbacks, the movie gained new life on DVD and became a beloved classic in the years since its release. A sequel, Zoolander 2, came out in 2016.

Catch up with the cast of Zoolander more than two decades after they strutted their stuff on the big screen.

Ben Stiller (Derek Zoolander)

<p>CBS via Getty; Taylor Hill/WireImage</p> Derek Zoolander; Ben Stiller

CBS via Getty; Taylor Hill/WireImage

Derek Zoolander; Ben Stiller

Ben Stiller serves Blue Steel as a superficial male model turned brainwashed assassin Derek Zoolander.

“What I learned in making [Zoolander] was that the same rules apply for all movies," he told EW in October 2001. "No matter how silly or unrealistic the tone of the movie is, audiences want to connect with characters. With the main characters, Derek and Hansel, there’s a real story between the two, a real relationship."

Before starring, co-writing, co-producing, and directing Zoolander, Stiller — the son of actors Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller — helmed two feature films, Reality Bites (1994) and The Cable Guy (1996), and won an Emmy for his sketch series (The Ben Stiller Show). His star rose even higher after leading roles in the hit comedies There’s Something About Mary (1998) and Meet the Parents (2000).

Post-catwalk, Stiller held onscreen gigs and voice work in several franchises — including two Meet the Parents sequels (2004, 2010); the animated Madagascar films (2005, 2008, 2012); and the Night at the Museum franchise (2006, 2009, 2014). He also returned to the director’s chair for the controversial Tropic Thunder (2008), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013), and the less successful sequel Zoolander 2. The multihyphenate received multiple Emmy nominations for his directing work on the series Escape at Dannemora and Severance, winning a Directors Guild of America award for the former.

Stiller recently looked back at Zoolander 2 on an upcoming episode of costar David Duchovny's podcast Fail Better, revealing he was disappointed by the 2016 sequel's lackluster reception. "I thought everybody wanted this," Stiller said (via PEOPLE). "And then it's like, 'Wow, I must have really f---ed this up. Everybody didn't go to it. And it's gotten these horrible reviews.' It really freaked me out because I was like, 'I didn't know [it] was that bad?'"

He continued, "What scared me the most on that one was l'm losing what I think what's funny, the questioning yourself. It was definitely blindsiding to me. And it definitely affected me for a long time."

The actor was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014 but announced he was cancer-free later the same year. Stiller and his Zoolander costar Christine Taylor married in 2000, and after separating in 2017, they reunited while in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have two children, Ella and Quinlin.

Owen Wilson (Hansel McDonald)

<p>CBS via Getty; Monica Schipper/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty</p> Hansel McDonald; Owen Wilson

CBS via Getty; Monica Schipper/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty

Hansel McDonald; Owen Wilson

Owen Wilson strikes a pose as Zoolander’s rival, the “so hot right now” hippie model, Hansel McDonald. One of the film's most iconic moments features Wilson in a runway "walk-off" opposite Ben Stiller.

Reflecting on this scene, Wilson described to PEOPLE in July 2023, "[I felt] very self-conscious with all the dance-type stuff ’cause I’m not a natural dancer. But then just committing to it. It ends up, I think, being one of the really good scenes in the movie.”

Before Zoolander, Wilson made his film debut as director, co-writer, and former college roommate Wes Anderson’s first feature Bottle Rocket (1996) alongside his brothers Luke and Andrew. He and Anderson continued to collaborate, and co-wrote Rushmore (1998) and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), with the latter bringing the pair an Oscar nomination for Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen). He previously worked with Stiller in the movies The Cable Guy (1996), Meet the Parents, and Permanent Midnight (1998).

After Zoolander, Wilson continued to appear onscreen with Stiller, including in Starsky & Hutch (2004) and the Night at the Museum series. He also reunited with Anderson four more times, earning a SAG Award nomination for The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). Outside of his collaborations with Stiller and Anderson, he had one of the biggest hits of his career with Zoolander costar Vince Vaughn in the 2005 smash Wedding Crashers. He was also Time Variance Authority analyst Mobius in the Marvel Disney+ series Loki, and played a fictional parody of famous painter Bob Ross in 2023’s Paint.

Wilson has three children, sons Ford and Finn and daughter Lyla, from previous relationships.

Will Ferrell (Jacobim Mugatu)

<p>Paramount. Courtesy: Everett; eff Kravitz/FilmMagic</p> Jacobim Mugatu; Will Ferrell

Paramount. Courtesy: Everett; eff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Jacobim Mugatu; Will Ferrell

Eccentric fashion guru/supervillain Jacobim Mugatu — inventor of the piano key necktie — is shrieked into existence by Saturday Night Live vet Will Ferrell, who wore a uniquely bizarre curly coif.

Zoolander was my real hair," Ferrell told PEOPLE in November 2006. "That is where I learned you don’t actually have to bleach your hair till you go bald. The hair person was like, 'I’m surprised it hasn’t all fallen out.'"

The sketch comedy star had mixed success on the big screen before the film. He vacillated between supporting parts in hits like the first two Austin Powers movies (1997, 1999), and box office bombs like the SNL-based A Night at the Roxbury (1998).

His film career finally took off post-Zoolander, thanks in part to the dual success of Old School and Elf, both in 2003. The actor has gone on to deliver a string of prolific hits since, including Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) and its 2013 sequel, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), Blades of Glory (2007), Step Brothers (2008), and The LEGO Movie (2018) as well as its 2019 sequel. He also made two uncredited appearances alongside his Zoolander costars in Starsky & Hutch and Wedding Crashers. Additionally, Ferrell was an executive producer on Succession and played the fictional CEO of Mattel in 2023’s record-breaking blockbuster Barbie.

Awards-wise, Ferrell has snagged two Golden Globe nominations for The Producers (2006) and Stranger Than Fiction (2007), and a Tony nomination for his 2009 portrayal of the 43rd president in You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush. He also earned four Primetime Emmys and has three Daytime Emmy nominations.

He is a partner in both the online platform Funny or Die and the Major League Soccer team LAFC. In 2019, after 25 years of working together, Ferrell and producing partner Adam Mckay publicly parted ways over casting for the Max series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.

Ferrell has been married to Viveca Paulin since 2000, and they share three sons.

Christine Taylor (Matilda Jeffries)

<p>Paramount/courtesy Everett; Rob Kim/Getty</p> Matilda Jeffries; Christine Taylor

Paramount/courtesy Everett; Rob Kim/Getty

Matilda Jeffries; Christine Taylor

Matilda Jeffries, the model-hating investigative reporter who falls for Zoolander, is played by Ben Stiller’s real-life wife, Christine Taylor.

"My joke with that movie was [Stiller and I] had just got married and he was reading lots of actors for the part [of Matilda Jeffries], and I had auditioned for Meet the Parents…and I didn't get the part," Taylor said in a March 2023 interview on The Drew Barrymore Show. "I always joke that I'm fourth choice and cheap, which is why I cast in it."

Following her debut on the Nickelodeon TV series Hey Dude, Taylor transitioned to her iconic role as the highly meme’d Marcia Brady in The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), a reboot of the classic '70s sitcom (she returned for A Very Brady Sequel in 1996). Other notable projects pre-Zoolander include the horror hit The Craft (1996) and the Drew BarrymoreAdam Sandler-starring rom-com The Wedding Singer (1998).

After the film, Taylor and Stiller often worked together in projects like Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004), Tropic Thunder, and Zoolander 2. Outside of their collaborations, she had an 11-episode stint on the dark comedy series Search Party and starred opposite Patricia Arquette on Apple TV+'s short-lived dramedy show High Desert.

Except for a brief separation, she and Stiller have been married for over 20 years and share two children.

Jerry Stiller (Maury Ballstein)

<p>Paramount/courtesy Everett; Bobby Bank/WireImage</p> Maury Ballstein; Jerry Stiller

Paramount/courtesy Everett; Bobby Bank/WireImage

Maury Ballstein; Jerry Stiller

Ben Stiller’s real-life dad, Jerry Stiller, played his father figure and Mugatu’s co-conspirator agent, Maury Ballstein.

”I’ve never seen anything like [Zoolander], I must say… Then again, I’m not in the fashion world. I get my ties from Tie City," Jerry told EW in September 2001. "But my point is, Ben’s really very normal and I would never dream that he would be able to come up with something like this. He probably gets that from his mother.”

Jerry and his late wife — actress Anne Meara, who had a small cameo in Zoolander as the protestor who pelts Mugatu with an egg — performed as the legendary comedy duo Stiller and Meara during the '60s on variety programs like The Ed Sullivan Show. He released a 2001 memoir, Married to Laughter: A Love Story Featuring Anne Meara, about their life together. Modern-day viewers will recognize Jerry from his role as Frank Costanza on Seinfeld (for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy), and as Arthur Spooner on The King of Queens. Jerry was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for Married to Laughter.

Post-Zoolander, Jerry stayed on The King of Queens until its finale in 2007 before appearing as Mr. Pinky in the SAG award-nominated film adaptation of the musical Hairspray (2007) and as Doc in The Heartbreak Kid (alongside Ben). His final film was Zoolander 2 in 2016.

Jerry and Meara were married for over 60 years until her death in May 2015. They had two children, Amy and Ben, and two grandchildren. Jerry died at age 92 in May 2020.

Milla Jovovich (Katinka Ingabogovinanana)

<p>Paramount/courtesy Everett; Daniele Venturelli/Getty</p> Katinka Ingabogovinanana; Milla Jovovich

Paramount/courtesy Everett; Daniele Venturelli/Getty

Katinka Ingabogovinanana; Milla Jovovich

Milla Jovovich sports an accent and wields unique charisma while playing Mugatu’s harsh Russian henchwoman, Katinka Ingabogovinanana.

“I was very into her always looking like she just smelled something,” she told Esquire in September 2021. “In that sense, I wasn't scared to look weird.”

Before Zoolander, Jovovich — a real-life model — posed for legendary photographers like Herb Ritts at an early age. She started booking acting jobs and landed her breakout role as Leeloo in Luc Besson’s sci-fi hit, The Fifth Element (1997). High-profile parts followed, including the title role in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999). Jovovich is also a singer and released two albums during the 1990s.

Following the 2001 comedy, Jovovich became known as an action star by playing butt-kicking Alice in the first six Resident Evil franchise films. She also appeared in the horror sci-fi mystery The Fourth Kind (2009); played the villainous Blood Queen in the 2019 Hellboy reboot; and added another videogame film adaptation to her résumé with 2020's Monster Hunter. Jovovich has continued to record music, contributing songs to the soundtracks for The Rules of Attraction (2002) and Underworld (2003). She also stars in the 2024 action thriller Breathe with Jennifer Hudson and Sam Worthington.

Her first marriage to Dazed and Confused (1993) costar Shawn Andrews was annulled after only two months. She was then married to Luc Besson from 1997 to 1999, and later wed Resident Evil director Paul W.S. Anderson in 2009. They have three daughters, and their oldest, Ever Anderson, has joined her parents in the movie business, playing the young Natasha Romanoff in Black Widow (2021) and Wendy Darling in Disney’s live-action Peter Pan & Wendy (2023).

Nathan Lee Graham (Todd)

<p>Paramount. Courtesy: Everett; John Lamparski/Getty</p> Todd; Nathan Lee Graham

Paramount. Courtesy: Everett; John Lamparski/Getty

Todd; Nathan Lee Graham

Nathan Lee Graham plays Mugatu’s latte-soaked assistant, Todd. Zoolander was the first onscreen role for the St. Louis-born actor, who was previously part of the original Broadway cast of The Wild Party with Toni Collette, Mandy Patinkin, and Eartha Kitt.

“Ben [Stiller] came to see the final performance of The Wild Party.... So Paramount and Ben called my agents the very next day," Graham said in Vanity Fair’s oral history of the film in September 2021. "We set up a meeting, and I was just told to wear something sort of fashionable.... We talked a little bit about The Wild Party. And for the life of me, I have no idea how he watched that show...and thought that I should be a part of Zoolander. I don’t know how he made the connection, but thank goodness he did."

Following his auspicious breakthrough, Graham appeared in the Reese Witherspoon rom-com Sweet Home Alabama (2002), and on the Lisa Kudrow comedy series The Comeback. He returned to Broadway for the 2011 production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert before joining the U.S. national tour of Hadestown as Hermes. Additionally, Graham combined both his stage and screen experience in the Ben Platt-starring performing arts comedy Theater Camp (2023).

David Duchovny (J.P. Prewitt)

<p>Paramount/courtesy Everett; Emma McIntyre/Getty</p> J.P. Prewitt; David Duchovny

Paramount/courtesy Everett; Emma McIntyre/Getty

J.P. Prewitt; David Duchovny

David Duchovny is J.P. Prewitt, the world’s greatest hand model who summons Zoolander and Matilda to a graveyard of former models-turned-assassins to inform them about a male model conspiracy.

"I remember we ran the scene a lot. It was a real long walk-and-talk, and I had the bulk of the dialogue.... And I remember after a number of takes, I f---ed it up. And both Ben [Stiller] and Christine [Taylor] go, 'Finally,'" he told Vanity Fair in September 2021. "I think we laughed a lot at that moment where I explain everything, I give [Zoolander] all the answers, and then he asks the same question. I think we improvised where I said, 'You serious? I just told you.'”

After earlier credits in ‘90s fare like Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead (1991), Duchovny was cast as the narrator of the erotic Showtime series Red Shoe Diaries before becoming a household name as Special Agent Fox Mulder on The X-Files (and the 1998 film The X Files). He received two Emmy nominations for his work on the sci-fi hit.

Post-Zoolander, he starred in The X Files: I Want to Believe (2008); returned to The X-Files for two revival seasons in 2016 and 2018; and found new success on Showtime as hedonistic novelist Hank Moody on Californication. Duchovny, who has a master’s degree from Yale in English literature, took a brief hiatus from acting to focus on music and writing before returning to the screen in the horror reboot The Craft: Legacy (2020). He has recorded three studio albums and written six novels, one of which (Bucky F---ing Dent) he turned into a feature film in 2023 — the same year he starred opposite Meg Ryan in the rom-com What Happens Later.

Duchovny and actress Tea Leoni were married in 1997. They separated in 2008, briefly reunited, and officially called it quits in 2014. Together, they have two children: son Kyd and daughter West. Following in her parents' footsteps, West is an actress and has guest-starred in The X-Files' 11th season finale.

Alexander Skarsgård (Meekus)

<p>CBS via Getty; Amy Sussman/WireImage</p> Meekus; Alexander Skarsgård

CBS via Getty; Amy Sussman/WireImage

Meekus; Alexander Skarsgård

Alexander Skarsgård makes his American film debut as Derek’s ill-fated fellow model, Meekus.

"I was barely an actor — I was on vacation in Hollywood when I got the job," he told EW in May 2022 while discussing his career highlights. "It was my first audition… So I couldn't quite believe that two weeks later I was in New York shooting that scene with Ben Stiller."

The son of Dunes Stellan Skarsgård and brother of Pennywise the clown actor Bill Skarsgård, the Swedish star made his professional debut at age 7 in the drama Ake and His World (1984). He left performing behind during his teen years, but after a stint in the Swedish Armed Forces, he resumed his acting career.

After Meekus’ tragic end in Zoolander, Skarsgård went back to Sweden and worked there for several years before returning to the United States. He has found great success Stateside thanks to a handful of HBO projects like Generation Kill; his breakthrough role as the sexy vampire Eric on the SAG-nominated True Blood; his Emmy-, SAG-, and Golden Globe-winning role opposite Nicole Kidman on Big Little Lies; and two Emmy noms for his work on Succession. Other notable works post-Zoolander include The Legend of Tarzan (2016), the miniseries The Little Drummer Girl, The Northman (2022), and Infinity Pool (2023).

Skarsgård and his girlfriend, actress Tuva Novotny, welcomed their first child in 2022.

Jon Voight (Larry Zoolander)

<p>Paramount Pictures/Getty; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic</p> Larry Zoolander; Jon Voight

Paramount Pictures/Getty; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Larry Zoolander; Jon Voight

Derek’s disapproving coal miner father is played by Academy Award winner Jon Voight.

“I remember [Ben Stiller] thinking of me as a serious actor.… He didn’t think of me as one of his comic chums. But there was a little more respect or a different tone with me," he said in Vanity Fair's oral history of the film. "And that was nice, in a certain way. All I was trying to do was fill in and be the right guy for it, and be funny.”

Long before Zoolander unleashed “Magnum” on the runway, Voight gave a breakout performance in the X-rated Midnight Cowboy (1969), which won the Oscar for Best Picture and snagged him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. A decade later, he won the Oscar in that same category for the Vietnam War romance Coming Home (1978), costarring Jane Fonda. Voight then worked extensively in mostly dramatic projects, ranging from Deliverance (1972) and Runaway Train (1985) to the first Mission: Impossible movie (1996) and the Jennifer Lopez creature feature Anaconda (1997) — which also starred Zoolander castmate Owen Wilson.

After Zoolander, Voight stayed very busy, and was part of several franchises like National Treasure. He reunited with his fictional sons Stiller and Vince Vaughn in Tropic Thunder and Four Christmases (2008) and received critical acclaim for the role of Mickey Donovan on the Showtime hit Ray Donovan. The actor is also set to appear in Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis (2024).

Voight has been married twice, first to actress Lauri Peters, then to actress Marcheline Bertrand. He and Bertrand divorced in 1980, and together they have two children, actor James Haven and Academy Award-winning actress, director, and activist Angelina Jolie. He is a grandfather to Jolie’s six children. Voight and Jolie have had a strained relationship over the years and in 2002, she changed her surname to Jolie, legally dropping her father’s last name.

Vince Vaughn (Luke Zoolander)

<p>CBS via Getty; Unique Nicole/WireImage</p> Luke Zoolander; Vince Vaughn

CBS via Getty; Unique Nicole/WireImage

Luke Zoolander; Vince Vaughn

Frequent Ben Stiller costar Vince Vaughn makes a cameo appearance as Derek’s blue-collar brother, Luke.

Vaughn made his film debut in the football drama Rudy (1993), where he met friend and collaborator Jon Favreau. A few years later, they officially landed on Hollywood’s radar when the pals costarred in the Favreau-penned dramedy Swingers (1996). Vaughn went on to appear in Steven Spielberg’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997).

Following Zoolander, Vaughn starred in many comedies with his former castmates, and the group has sometimes been referred to as the “Frat Pack.” He achieved box office success with Will Ferrell in Old School (2003), Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers, and Stiller in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.

"They were fun movies to make," Vaughn told PEOPLE in November 2020 while reminiscing about Zoolander, Wedding Crashers, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005). "It’s always fun to make people laugh and go to work with people that are funny."

In 2009, Vaughn and Favreau collaborated again for Couples Retreat (2009). He also notably starred in Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017) and the horror-comedy Freaky (2020). In 2022, Vaughn launched the podcast network and production company, Audiorama, with former NFL players Ryan Kalil and Greg Olsen. Next up is a sequel to Dodgeball and — potentially — a Wedding Crashers follow-up (though nothing is confirmed yet).

Vaughn briefly dated his The Break-Up costar Jennifer Aniston, but the pair split in real life the same year as the film's 2006 release. He has been married to realtor Kyla Weber since 2010, and they have a daughter and a son.

Judah Friedlander (Scrappy Zoolander)

<p>Paramount Pictures/Getty; Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty </p> Scrappy Zoolander; Judah Friedlander

Paramount Pictures/Getty; Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty

Scrappy Zoolander; Judah Friedlander

Stand-up comedian Judah Friedlander plays the supporting role of Derek’s other brother, Scrappy. His part in Zoolander was so small, the comic joked on Twitter in 2013: “I just found out I was in Zoolander. Don't even remember filming that.”

Prior to Zoolander, Friedlander was most recognizable for playing “the hug guy” in the Dave Matthews Band music video for “Everyday,” and for his appearance in the cult comedy Wet Hot American Summer (2001).

After the film, he received a Film Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Male for his performance as Toby Radloff in the comic-book biopic American Splendor in 2004 — the same year he collaborated with Ben Stiller again in both Along Came Polly and Starsky & Hutch. Two years later, Friedlander landed the biggest role of his career as Frank Rossitano, opposite Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. Other notable projects post-Zoolander include “beer guy” in Feast (2005) and “bar patron” in Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens (2015). An avid soccer fan, he narrated the six-part ESPN docuseries Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil in 2014.

The comedian broadcasts weekly live-stream stand-up shows, and tickets for the sets are available through his website.

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