THEN AND NOW: The cast of 'Inception' 11 years later

·10 min read
leonardo dicaprio then and now
Leonardo DiCaprio starred in the 2010 film "Inception." Warner Bros.; Steve Granitz/Getty Images
  • Christopher Nolan's film "Inception" was released 11 years ago.

  • Many of the cast members have joined other projects spearheaded by the filmmaker.

  • Here's what the "Inception" actors have been working on since the movie's 2010 premiere.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Leonardo DiCaprio starred as Dominick Cobb, a man that infiltrates his targets' dreams to collect information.

Inception Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio is an actor. Warner Bros. Pictures

The Los Angeles-born actor grew up on the screen and became a global sensation after playing Jack Dawson in 'Titanic" (1997). He then appeared in films like "Catch Me If You Can" (2002), "The Aviator" (2004), and "Shutter Island" (2010).

Actors like Brad Pitt and Will Smith were reportedly offered the role of Dominick Cobb before DiCaprio was cast as the "Inception" lead.

He's an Academy Award-winning actor that's played the lead in several box-office hits.

leonardo dicaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio is an actor. Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

After his role in "Inception," DiCaprio took on ambitious Hollywood projects like "Django Unchained" (2012), "The Great Gatsby" (2013), and "The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013).

In 2015, he became the face of the intense adventure film "The Revenant," winning his first Academy Award for his performance as a frontiersman navigating brutal conditions in the wild.

More recently, he's gained attention for playing a Western actor named Rick Dalton in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" (2019).

Joseph Gordon-Levitt played Arthur, Cobb's right-hand man.

Inception Warner Bros.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an actor. Warner Bros.

The actor appeared on a television series called "3rd Rock From the Sun" as a child before moving into films. As an adult, Gordon-Levitt has matured into challenging projects like "Latter Days" (2003) and "The Lookout" (2007).

His performance as a heartbroken romantic in the indie hit "500 Days of Summer" (2009) gained attention from critics, and he also played The Doctor/Rex in "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" (2009) before working on Nolan's film.

He's appeared in numerous critically acclaimed films in addition to proving his ability behind the camera.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an actor. Faye Sadou/MediaPunch /IPX/AP

He worked with Nolan again as Blake in "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012). Gordon-Levitt also appeared in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" (2012) and played Edward Snowden in "Snowden" (2016).

As for his upcoming projects, he's set to appear in Netflix's science fiction film "Project Power," which is scheduled to be released in August 2020.

Since "Inception," he's also stepped behind the camera in addition to acting. "Don Jon," a 2013 film about a porn addict that falls in love with a woman named Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), marked Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut.

Marion Cotillard played Mal, Cobb's late wife that attempts to sabotage his missions.

marion cotillard
Marion Cotillard landed the role as Mal in "Inception." Warner Bros.

Prior to playing Cobb's late wife Mal in "Inception," the French actress had small roles on television and film before snagging screen time in the 1998 hit "Taxi."

Soon after, Cotillard gave a critically acclaimed performance as Sophie in romance film "Love Me If You Dare" (2003) and successfully transitioned to Hollywood with her role as Josephine Bloom in the fantasy movie "Big Fish" (2003).

In 2007, Cotillard gained global attention — and awards including an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA — for her portrayal of Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose."

She also appeared in "Public Enemies" (2009) and "Nine" (2009) before landing her role as the femme fatale in "Inception."

The French actress worked with Nolan again after "Inception" and continues to appear in international films.

marion cotillard
Marion Cotillard is an actress. Francois Durand / Getty Images

After "Inception" wrapped, Cotillard appeared in Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012) as Miranda Tate, an executive of Wayne Enterprises.

In more recent years, she's played roles in "Rock'n Roll" (2017), "Ismael's Ghosts" (2017), and "Dolittle" (2020). Cotillard also costarred across Adam Driver in "Annette," a 2021 musical that kicked off Cannes Film Festival.

Outside of filming, she's been the face of luxury advertising campaigns for brands like Dior and Chanel. Cotillard has also used her platform for environmental activism, serving as a longtime spokesperson for non-governmental organization Greenpeace.

Cillian Murphy played Robert Fischer, the heir to a multi-billion dollar fortune.

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Cillian Murphy played Robert Fischer in "Inception." Warner Bros.

Before taking on the role of Robert Fischer in "Inception," the Irish actor caught his big on-screen break in the post-apocalyptic film "28 Days Later" (2002).

His other early credits included "Intermission" (2003), "Red Eye" (2005), and "Breakfast on Pluto" (2005).

Murphy worked with Nolan for the first time as Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow in "Batman Begins" (2005). He continued the role in Nolan's film "Dark Knight" (2008) before appearing as the target of Cobb's corporate espionage in "Inception."

He's become well-known for his lead role on "Peaky Blinders."

cillian murphy
Cillian Murphy is an actor. Arturo Holmes / Getty Images

After "Inception," Murphy appeared in a number of Nolan's films, including "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012), "Transcendence" (2014), " and "Dunkirk" (2017).

He's become known for his television role as Thomas Shelby on the historical crime show "Peaky Blinders."

Murphy was also cast alongside Emily Blunt in "A Quiet Place Part II," which premiered in 2021 following a string of pandemic-induced delays.

Elliot Page played Ariadne, an architecture student tasked with designing dreams.

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Elliot Page appeared in "Inception." Warner Bros. Picture - © 2010 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Page appeared in a series of television shows like "Pit Pony," "Trailer Park Boys," and "ReGenesis" before his breakthrough role as a pregnant teenager in the romantic comedy "Juno" (2007).

He also had parts in "Smart People" (20018) and "Whip It" (2009) before being cast as an intelligent, curious architecture student in "Inception," which was his first time working with Nolan.

He's played a wide range of characters and is a cast member on Netflix's "The Umbrella Academy."

elliot page
Elliot Page is known for starring in the Oscar-winning film "Juno" and Netflix's "The Umbrella Academy." Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

Page has proven his on-screen versatility since filming "Inception" in 2010.

He's appeared in films like the romantic satire "To Rome With Love" (2012), the action-packed "X-Men: Days of Future Past" (2014), and the drama "Tallulah" (2016).

Most recently, he starred on Netflix's "The Umbrella Academy," a series based on Gerard Way's comic book series of the same name.

At the tail end of 2020, Page came out as transgender and said he uses both he/him and they/them pronouns.

Michael Caine played professor Stephen Miles, the protagonist's father-in-law and mentor.

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Michael Caine appeared in "Inception." Stephen Vaughan - © 2010 Warner Bros. Entertainment

Long before he played Cobb's father-in-law, the British actor was an icon in the film industry.

Caine began acting in the '50s and gained attention for breakthrough performances in films like "Alfie" (1966) and "The Italian Job" (1969).

The Oscar-winning actor has since been in over 100 movies, working with Nolan for the first time as Alfred Pennyworth in "Batman Begins" (2005).

The actor had a role in Nolan's 2020 film "Tenet."

michael caine
Michael Cane is an actor. John Phillips/Getty Images

Caine has established a strong partnership with Nolan since their first collaboration in 2005 and has since been cast in eight of the filmmaker's projects — including "Interstellar" (2014), "Dunkirk" (2017), and "Tenet" (2020).

The actor has also stayed busy with roles in a variety of other films, such as "Twist," an adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel "Oliver Twist," and "Now You See Me 3," the third installment of the popular heist franchise.

Ken Watanabe was cast as Saito, a wealthy business mogul that hires Cobb to plant an idea in his rival's subconscious.

ken watanabe inception
Ken Watanabe appeared in "Inception." Melissa Moseley SMPSP - © 2010 Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Watanabe had a long film career in Japan before many Western audiences were introduced to him in "The Last Samurai" (2003).

Two years later, he worked with Nolan for the first time as Ra's al Ghul in "Batman Begins."

Nolan had such a positive experience working with Watanabe that he wrote the character of Saito with the actor in mind.

"I wrote the part specifically for Ken because I wanted to work with him again. I enjoyed directing him so much on 'Batman Begins,' but his role was smaller and we didn't have a lot of time together," Nolan told Warner Bros.

"This time I made sure he had a bigger part. Ken is an extremely charismatic performer, a true movie star. He is a consummate actor who knows how to get the most out of every scene. It's just a pleasure to watch him work," he added.

He's been in several major blockbuster films and landed a role in the upcoming show "Tokyo Vice."

ken watanbe
Ken Watanabe is an actor. Arnold Jerocki / Getty Images

After "Inception," Watanabe appeared in major productions including "Transformers: Age of Extinction" (2014) and "Godzilla" (2014).

More recently, he's appeared in "Pokémon Detective Pikachu" (2019) and "Godzilla: King of Monsters" (2019).

Watanabe is also slotted to appear as a detective in the Tokyo Police Department on HBO Max's upcoming series "Tokyo Vice," which is inspired by American journalist Jake Adelstein's 2009 memoir.

The show's production was halted in Japan due to the pandemic, however.

Dileep Rao appeared as Yusuf, a man that concocts the drugs needed to enter the dream state.

Dileep Rao appeared in "Inception." Warner Bros.

Before playing Yusuf in "Inception," Rao starred in the supernatural horror film "Drag Me to Hell" (2009) and also appeared in the science-fiction hit "Avatar" (2009).

He secured roles in upcoming projects "Avatar 2" and "Avatar 3."

Dileep Rao
Dileep Rao is an actor. Greg Doherty / Getty Images

Following his role in Nolan's film, Rao made appearances on several TV series like "Z Nation," "Con Man," and "Mr. Robot."

He's also set to appear in the upcoming additions to the Avatar franchise, "Avatar 2" (2022) and "Avatar 3" (2024).

Tom Hardy played Eames, who can transform into different people while inside of dreams.

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Tom Hardy appeared in "Inception." Warner Bros.

Before he played the master impersonator in "Inception," Hardy was introduced to audiences as Twombly in his first film, "Black Hawk Down" (2001).

The British actor also landed roles in "Star Trek: Nemesis" (2002) and "RocknRolla" (2008).

"Inception" marked Hardy's first collaboration with Nolan.

He continued to work with Nolan and joined the Mad Max franchise.

tom hardy
Tom Hardy is an actor. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

The relationships that the British actor formed while filming "Inception" carried over after the film wrapped.

After landing roles in Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012) and "Dunkirk" (2017), Hardy has been in three of the filmmaker's projects to date.

He also appeared alongside "Inception" costar Cillian Murphy on the series "Peaky Blinders."

In 2015, Hardy joined the Mad Max franchise as Max Rockatansky in "Mad Max: Fury Road." He'll revive the role in the upcoming film "Max Mad: Wasteland," though production has been delayed.

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