Dylan and Cole Sprouse are just about the most famous twins in show business not named Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. The actors, born August 4, 1992, in Tuscany, Italy, started out sharing roles in the 1990s on sitcom Grace Under Fire and opposite Adam Sandler in Big Daddy before splitting their efforts as stars of Disney Channel’s The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, its spin-off series The Suite Life on Deck, and The Suite Life Movie.
Lately, the Sprouse brothers have found successes in separate projects, such as Cole Sprouse’s role as Jughead on Riverdale or Dylan Sprouse’s appearances in a Camila Cabello music video, and they look almost completely unrecognizable from their Disney Channel image. In fact, unless you put them together and squint, you could barely tell that you were looking at Zack and Cody.
Even if your nostalgia for The Suite Life of Zack & Cody has not yet died down, those days are long gone for Cole Sprouse and Dylan Sprouse, as can be seen from how their careers have evolved since. With that in mind, what have the brothers been up to?
The 2011 final episode of The Suite Life on Deck saw Zack (Dylan Sprouse) and Cody Martin (Cole Sprouse) graduating from Seven Seas High School, where they attended classes on the S.S. Tipton cruise ship, and embarking on a next natural chapter: college. Cole figured that would be the next best path for him to take as well.
After living his entire childhood in the spotlight, Cole Sprouse decided to take a break from acting following The Suite Life and pursue an education. He started taking classes at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study where he studied geographical information systems and satellite imaging, considering that as a new path to take instead of returning to his acting career.
That was until a new opportunity intrigued him enough to give acting another shot. The CW asked Cole Sprouse to audition for the lead role in Riverdale, the network’s hit reinterpretation of the Archie comics. Cole found himself more interested in the character of Jughead Jones, Archie’s best friend, and requested to audition for that role, for which he died his signature blonde hair brunette.
Jughead (real name Forsythe Pendleton Jones III) in the comics is depicted as the more affable, cocky, asexual, food-loving member of the Archie gang. In The CW’s Riverdale, Cole Sprouse portrays Jughead much more seriously, as a darkly minded outcast in love with Betty Cooper, played by Lili Reinhart, whom Cole is dating in real life.
Speaking of romance, Cole Sprouse had his biggest starring role in a major motion picture since 1999’s Big Daddy with the teen romance drama Five Feet Apart in 2019. Cole plays Will, a young man with cystic fibrosis who falls in love with Stella (Haley Lu Richardson), who suffers from the same disease, meaning they must keep the titular distance between each other at all times.
In addition to preparing for the fourth season of Riverdale, Cole Sprouse has been cast in the upcoming true crime drama Silk Road. He will star alongside Nick Robinson, who plays Ross Ulbricht, the creator of the online black market site the film’s title borrows from.
Cole Sprouse has successfully transitioned from Disney Channel tween idol to popular network television heartthrob. The choices he has made have already led to a few intriguing surprises in his career as of recently, but that is nothing compared to what his brother has been up to.
His brother’s most iconic character at this point is, decidedly, Jughead on Riverdale, but Dylan Sprouse still has yet to take on a role as famous as Zack Martin on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. However, the roles he has played since are incomparable to his Disney Channel days.
Like his twin brother, Dylan Sprouse also took a break from acting by taking classes at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a focus on video game design. Also like his brother, Dylan’s first acting role out of college was a darker take on the high school genre, but not in the shoes of someone as likable as Jughead Jones.
Dismissed, a 2017 thriller, stars Dylan Sprouse as an overly ambitious high school student named Lucas who would kill for a good grade. After his English teacher (Kent Osborne) gives him a B+ on a literary analysis of Othello, Lucas’ sinister tendencies release as he begins to make his teacher’s life a living hell.
This surprise turn from the former child actor only led to more surprises, especially in 2019, which saw him in two short films that were highly sexual in theme, especially Daddy. The aforementioned short starred Dylan Sprouse as a male escort hired by an 80-year-old man to take his late wife’s place on the night of their first anniversary since her death. Needless to say, no, it is not a sequel to Big Daddy.
In addition to making appearances in music videos, such as Camila Cabello’s “Consequences” or “Think About You” by Kygo and Valerie Broussard, Dylan Sprouse is also set to make a return to the big screen in the near future. The actor will lead Tyger Tyger, a 1990s-set adventure story about reluctant prescription drug dealers, and Turandot, a film adaptation of a famous Italian opera of the same name.
Like Cole Sprouse, Dylan Sprouse has effectively made a reputation for himself far removed from his The Suite Life persona. While he may not have found the same level of mainstream success his brother has acquired from Riverdale or Five Feet Apart, you cannot deny that his choices to take on more challenging roles is something to be admired.
Dylan Sprouse and Cole Sprouse have proven that some actors can successfully grow out of their child stardom, even if it takes reinterpreting an iconic comic book character or playing a male escort in a dress. The Suite Life is only getting sweeter for them.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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