The 2001 comedy Zoolander features an array of Hollywood celebs in its cast. Besides core stars like Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Will Ferrell, the movie boasts appearances by actors like Judah Friedlander, Alexander Skarsgård, and Andy Dick, among many other famous faces. But chances are you may have missed one major celebrity who was hiding in plain sight.
After Stiller’s model character Derek Zoolander is captured by villain Mugatu’s evil team, henchman Katinka, played by real-life supermodel Milla Jovovich, signals to a DJ to start the brainwashing process. The performer, donning dreadlocks, a stub of a beard on his chin, and a nasty-looking facial scar, puts down a record and starts playing a remix of “Relax” by the popular ’80s band Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
The gold-toothed baddie also memorably fights Wilson’s Hansel via breakdancing later on in the film (via People).
But just who was the man portraying the devious disc jockey? None other than actor Justin Theroux! Yep, the guy who starred in the HBO drama The Leftovers played the character “Evil DJ.”
And apparently those breakdancing moves were all his. “I learned when I was around — I don’t know — 12 or 13, somewhere in there, how to breakdance,” Theroux told TV host Conan O’Brien in September 2014. “I had a little crew that we used to roll around Washington, D.C.”
Stiller apparently decided to make use of Theroux’s skills for Zoolander after seeing him breakdance at his wedding to actress Christine Taylor (who played Zoolander’s love interest, Matilda Jeffries, in the movie).
Theroux later reprised the character of Evil DJ for the comedy’s 2016 sequel, Zoolander 2, the screenplay for which he also helped write with Stiller, Nicholas Stoller, and John Hamburg. He also dressed as Evil DJ on the red carpet for the premiere of the second film, posing for cameras in a white New York Yankees hoodie and gold sneakers, as reported by Hello! magazine.
Regarding working on Zoolander 2 with Stiller, Theroux told Business Insider in 2016, “I think we were all like, let’s not try to beat the first one, let’s not think about it like that. Let’s think about where the characters would be historically 10 years later and see if there’s a funny idea of them being aged out.” He continued, “We basically decided to run right at the fact that, yeah, they are older, instead of trying to pick up the movie one day after or one week later. We thought it would be funny if they were washed up and had to come back into the industry.”
His role in Zoolander and Zoolander 2 aside, Theroux has made a name for himself on the small and big screens with projects like Maniac, The Girl on the Train, and On the Basis of Sex. Not only an actor, he’s also a writer, lending his talents to the 2008 comedy Tropic Thunder and the 2010 superhero movie Iron Man 2.
And it’s not lost on him that his behind-the-scenes work varies greatly from his on-screen gigs. “It’s weird. I wouldn’t know how to write the stuff that I have been currently acting in,” he admitted to Business Insider. “Like The Leftovers, it’s not my comfort zone writing that kind of thing. I don’t think I’m at all bright enough to write those scripts. I feel more comfortable writing firmly comedic or slightly comedic stuff.”
However, despite his long list of film and TV gigs, fans of celebrity news may know him best for his relationship with movie star and Friends alum Jennifer Aniston. As noted by Cosmopolitan magazine, Theroux and Aniston were first thought to have gotten together in May 2011, and, before long, the two reportedly moved in together (via E! News). By August 2012, Theroux had proposed to his lady love, and the celebrity couple tied the knot in August 2015.
Unfortunately, Theroux and Aniston wouldn’t remain together. On Feb. 15, 2018, they announced that they had separated. “We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple, but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship,” they said in a joint statement at the time, as reported by Us Weekly.
But don’t feel too bad for Theroux. He appears to be doing well following the “heartbreaking” breakup, and he has at least one major acting gig on the horizon. In July 2018, Collider announced that Theroux would be voicing the character of Tramp in Disney’s remake of Lady and the Tramp. As for Lady? She’ll reportedly be voiced by Thor: Ragnarok‘s Tessa Thompson (via People).
Who would have guessed that Evil DJ would wind up working for the House of Mouse?