Real Genius is a 1985 American teen science fiction comedy film directed by Martha Coolidge and starring Val Kilmer. The film follows a group of high school students recruited by a government agency to develop a laser. The students must then use the laser to destroy a satellite before it can be used as a weapon. Real Genius was a critical and commercial success, grossing $81 million at the box office. It has since become a cult classic. A positive review from Santa Cruz Sentinel wrote the film: “Real Genius isn’t just a showcase for new talent. It’s a well-paced, extremely likable film about several things being beaten to death in the movies these days. It dares to be both intelligent and funny. Shouldn’t we all?”
It’s been 37 years since Real Genius premiered in theaters, which begs the question: whatever happened to the cast of this classic film? If you want to learn more about what life has been for the cast of this awesome ’80s classic, read ahead.
Val Kilmer portrayed Cris Knight in the hit sci-fi film Real Genius. After a string of successful films in the 1980s, he landed the lead in the movie. Kilmer’s career stalled in the 1990s, and he appeared in several unsuccessful films. His personal life also became tabloid fodder. In recent years, Kilmer has reinvented himself as an artist, and he has also become an advocate for environmental causes. He even reprised his role in the sequel of Top Gun, titled Top Gun: Maverick. He also starred in a self-titled documentary about his life, featuring amateur videos of himself he shot over the years. Kilmer remains one of Hollywood’s most versatile and intriguing actors despite his ups and downs.
Gabriel Jarret played Mitch Taylor in Real Genius. After starring in Real Genius, Gabriel Jarret enjoyed a successful career in Hollywood. He appeared in several popular films throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, including The Karate Kid Part III, Apollo 13, and Last Days. In addition to his work in film, Jarret also found success on television, guest-starring on shows like The West Wing and L.A. Law. Most recently, the actor has been actively working with the Deaf community.
Michelle Meyrink played Jordan Cochran in Real Genius. Meyrink retired soon after starring in the movie, with her last on-screen credit being Permanent Record. In 2013, she opened an acting school in Vancouver called Actorium.
Veteran actor William Atherton portrayed Professor Jerry Hathaway in Real Genius. Most people would recognize Atherton for his appearance in two blockbusters: Die Hard and Ghostbusters. In recent years, Atherton appeared in Jinn, Clinical, and Lowlifes. He’s also lent his talents to video games, voicing characters for Ghostbusters: The Video Game and Planet Coaster.
Robert Prescott played Kent in the ’80s film Real Genius. His post-Real Genius works include appearances in Spaceballs and Earthly Possessions. He also appeared in movies like The Bourne Legacy, Cold Comes the Night, and Roman J. Israel, Esq. His most recent credit is voicing Sheriff Hanley in Red Dead Redemption 2.
Jon Gries portrayed Lazlo Hollyfield in Real Genius. After appearing in Real Genius, Gries has kept busy with a variety of roles on both the big and small screens. In the 1990s, he had recurring roles on popular television shows such as Beverly Hills, and 90210. He also appeared in 54 episodes of the sitcom Martin, playing the role of Shawn McDermott. Gries has also performed in films such as The Grifters and Men in Black. More recently, Gries has become a staple of independent cinema. He has also continued to work on television, with guest-starring roles on shows such as Lost and Psych. Currently, he appears in the top-rated HBO series The White Lotus.
The late actor Ed Lauter portrayed David Decker in Real Genius. After the movie, he played characters in movies like Seraphim Falls, The Number 23, and A Modern Twain Story: The Prince and the Pauper. Lauter died of cancer in 2013, at the age of 75.
Louis Giambalvo appeared in Real Genius as Major Don Carnagle. Giambalvo is an actor who has appeared in several television shows and movies. He is perhaps best known for his role as Det. Tony Scali on the police procedural TV series Hill Street Blues. He has also had recurring roles in the legal drama Boston Legal and the sitcom Ugly Betty. In addition to his work on television, Giambalvo has also appeared in several films, including The Dead Pool and Weekend at Bernie’s.Val Kilmer