Adam Pascal / Roger Davis
Pascal is a young rock singer who had just broken up with his band and had never acted before when he responded to an open call for Rent. Though creative team members joked that he couldn't keep his eyes open on stage.
About Roger: A wounded rocker with AIDS who longs to write a song that will bring him one blaze of glory.
Friends and Lovers: Roger is Mark's roommate and best friend. The two also used to live with Benny and Collins. He has recently formed a volatile but passionate relationship with Mimi.
Did U Know?: Roger used to gig out at music clubs like CBGB's and the Pyramid Club with his band the Well Hungarians.
Tracie Thoms / Joanne Jefferson
Thoms was only first cast in Rent for the film, Thoms has a long history with the show, having auditioned countless times since her first year at Julliard, not to mention as a fan.
About Joanne: A busy, no-nonsense lawyer who is always conscious of her girlfriend's past relationships and tendency to flirt.
Friends and Lovers: Joanne is in a volatile relationship with Maureen.
Did U Know?: Joanne went to school at Harvard. Her father works in government and her mother is about to be sworn in as a judge.
Anthony Rapp / Mark Cohen
Rapp is the movie cast member who has been with the show the longest and the only other lead from the original Broadway cast besides Daphne Rubin-Vega who was part of the cast from the first studio production.
About Mark: An introverted filmmaker who grounds and centers the group of explosive personalities who surround him.
Friends and Lovers: Mark used to date Maureen and currently lives with Roger.
Did U Know?: Mark was offered a high-paying director job at Buzzline a sleazy TV show, but he turned it down in favor of his own artistic pursuits.
Wilson Jermaine Hereida / Angel Dumot Schunard
Heredia began with the company at New York Theatre Workshop and won a Tony Award for his performance on Broadway.
About Me: A sassy drag queen with an adventurous spirit, a fierce wardrobe and a giant heart.
Friends and Lovers: Angel meets Collins after Collins was mugged one night in the East Village. The two form an instant connection and lasting relationship.
Did U Know?: Not the type to hold down a regular job, Angel makes his living playing drums on the street and trimming Christmas trees.
Jesse L. Martin / Tom Collins
Martin had worked in theater but never done a musical before.
About Collins: An HIV+ technology professor who dreams of opening a restaurant in Santa Fe, and always has a smile and a helping hand to lend.
Friends and Lovers: Collins falls for Angel after meeting him on the street late one night in the East Village.
Did U Know?: Collins once ran naked through the Parthenon and has used his technological expertise to re-wire ATMs.
Indina Menzel / Maureen Johnson
Menzel was a wedding singer before she landed this part in the New York Theatre Workshop production that moved to Broadway later that year.
About Maureen: A defiant and sexy bisexual performance artist with a penchant for flirting and a voice that sends people over the moon.
Friends and Lovers: She used to date Mark but is now in an on again, off again relationship with Joanne.
Did U Know?: Maureen is originally from Hicksville, New York.
Taye Diggs / Benjamin Coffin III AkA: Benny
One of the only original Rent cast members with a Broadway credit to his name, Diggs joined the cast off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop.
About Benny: Married to a socialite from Westport, Benny is the sell-out of the group who attempts to shut down Maureen's performance piece because it interferes with his proposed Cyberarts studio construction project.
Friends and Lovers: Though estranged from his former roommates Roger, Mark and Collins because of his opportunistic ways and affair with Mimi, Benny eventually makes amends with the bunch.
Did U Know?: Benny and his wife Alison own an Akita named Evita.
Rosario Dawson / Mimi Marquez:
Dawson had never done a musical before she was cast in this film role.
About Me: A 19-year-old dancer at the Cat Scratch Club with a drug habit
Friends and Lovers: Mimi is torn between a new relationship with Roger and an old affair with Benny.
Did U Know?: Mimi moved out on her own at the young age of 15.