Owen Wilson Didn’t Realize He’s In the Frat Pack

Owen Wilson made the rounds supporting his role as Jennifer Lopez’s romantic foil in 2022’s Marry MeThe movie marks Wilson’s first after taking a four-year break between 2017 and 2021. During one marketing stop, he was prompted to reminisce about his early days as part of a comedy group that defined Hollywood comedies for a few years: the Frat Pack. But he didn’t recognize the name. 

Frat Pack member Owen Wilson barely knows what the Frat Pack is

Owen Wilson Frat Pack
(L-R) Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, and Owen Wilson attend the Press Conference ahead of the Paris Fan Screening of the Paramount Pictures film “Zoolander No. 2” at Hotel Plaza Athenee on January 29, 2016 in Paris, France. | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images For Paramount

Wilson answered questions about himself in a Wired Autocomplete Interview. The actor reads off a question about him being in a fraternity. He scoffs at the possibility. “I didn’t graduate from college,” Wilson says.

Someone offscreen follows up by questioning Wilson’s participation in the Frat Pack during his early ascent to offbeat comedy stardom. Wilson confirms that he was in that crew but didn’t correctly identify the name. 

He thinks the Frat Pack refers to the group headlined by the likes of Rob Lowe and Emilio Estevez in the 1980s, aka the Brat Pack. Both nicknames were themselves references to the Rat Pack, which consisted of 1950s icons Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. With that much rhyming involved, it’s an easy mistake to make, even for members of either circle. 

Who else is in the Frat Pack?

The Frat Pack moniker originated from a USA Today article from 2004. The story lists the group’s principal members as Jack Black, Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Owen and Luke Wilson, and Vince Vaughn. Other comedic stars like John C. Reilly, Steve Carell, Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd, and David Koechner are considered supporting members.

The Frat Pack never appeared in a movie in totality. (Though Anchorman got close, with Owen Wilson the only holdout.) But their collective work led to many of the most celebrated comedy movies of the early 2000s: Meet the ParentsZoolanderOld SchoolWedding Crashers, and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby are just some of the hits that came out of their filmography. Their reign led into the Judd Apatow era, who became the dominant voice of mainstream Hollywood comedy, frequently working with members of the Frat Pack while also minting new stars. 

Wilson was in enough of the movies to be a member of the Frat Pack. Still, his career is arguably more defined by his association with another artistic movement that gave him his big break in the industry.

How Wilson created an acting career while at college

As an aspiring youngster in Texas, Wilson was not a big fan of school. He was expelled from St. Mark’s School of Texas in the tenth grade and eventually went to a military academy in New Mexico.

He later attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he met a young Wes Anderson in a playwriting class. The two hit it off and joined forces to write the short film version of Bottle Rocket, which became the first full-length movie either of them had made. Bottle Rocket was not financially successful, but it earned enough critical acclaim to get them noticed embark on their careers in filmmaking. 

Wilson and Anderson have been constant collaborators ever since. Wilson appears onscreen in every Anderson movie except Moonrise Kingdom and Isle of Dogs. He also co-wrote Rushmore and The Royal TenenbaumsMaking it in the creative arts is as much about luck as it is talent, but Wilson’s good taste helped him greatly in becoming a successful actor. 

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