This week marks 20 years since a young American boy took us on a crazy adventure through the wilds of China to save a cute panda cub in The Amazing Panda Adventure.
Watching this film as a child, I was so insanely jealous that the main character Ryan (Ryan Slater) got to go on an adventure with a real life panda bear, and I'm sure that many of you felt the same way. Not only was the film fun, but it also introduced young audiences to the importance of animal conservation, and the danger that poachers pose to endangered animals.
But 20 years after Ryan and Ling managed to avoid poachers and bring the panda cub to safety, what are the stars of The Amazing Panda Adventure up to? Check it out for yourself:
Ryan Slater as Ryan Tyler
What he's been up to since: Ryan, whose brother is Christian Slater, and mother is casting director Mary Jo Slater, has been acting since he was young. Following The Amazing Panda Adventure he worked in The Babysitter, The Outer Limits, After Jimmy, Merry Christmas, George Bailey, Rhapsody in Bloom, Sinbad: The Battle of the Dark Knights, The Animated Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Hell's Kitchen, Home Team, Undresses, The Haunted Heart, Naked Movies, Black Hole, Perception, Killer Women, Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses, Mistresses, Vanity. He also has two upcoming films, a thriller titled She Dreams of Fireflies and romcom Byrd and the Bees.
Stephen Lang as Michael Tyler
What he's been up to since: This Tony Award-nominated actor and playwright has been extremely busy since his days saving pandas. Lang has also starred in: Strangers, An Occasional Hell, Shadow Conspiracy, The Outer Limits, Loose Women, Niagara, Niagara, Fire Down Below, Liberty! The American Revolution, Automatic Avenue, Dead Man's Gun, A Town Hs Turned to Dust, Story of a Bad Boy, Trixie, The Proposal, The Fugitive, Eye See You, Gods and Generals, The I Inside, The Treatment, Save Me, The Bronx Is Burning, From Mexico With Love, Public Enemies, The Men Who Stare at Goats, Psych, Avatar, Christina, White Irish Drinkers, False Creek Stories, Conan the Barbarian, Terra Nova, In Plain Sight, Reckless, Officer Down, Pawn, The Girl on the Train, Pioneer, The Monkey's Paw, The Nut Job, In The Blood, Sun Belt Express, Jarhead 2: Field of Fire, Gutshot Straight, Into the Badlands, Exeter, Salem, Band of Robbers. He also has a number of upcoming films, including the three Avatar sequels which are currently in pre-production.
Yi Ding as Ling
What she's been up to since: Following The Amazing Panda Adventure Yi Ding had just four more on-screen appearances in The Water Ghost, Pavilion of Women, TV series ER and finally as one of the main characters in the movie Smile. It's hard to find any currently information on the actress, though IMDB reports that in the late '90s she graduated from the University of California, Berkley with a Bachelor of Science in Business and a Bachelor of Arts in Film.
Sadly, I was unable to find any information on the panda (or pandas) who were used in the film. Interestingly, The Amazing Panda Adventure used a mixture of both real and animatronic pandas to make the film, enlisting the special effects work of Rick Baker. Here's hoping the pandas that starred in the film are still somewhere in the mountains of China living it up with a bunch of bamboo in paw!