Rachael Leigh Cook is having a full-circle moment. twenty-two years after that got down the stairs No Rich in a little red dress to the beat of Sixpence, “that’s all” the actress finds herself once again in a teen make-up movie.
This time, as the mother of an influencer (played by Addison Rae)”that’s all” is a gender-switched remake of Netflix’s 1999 hit starring Cook and Freddie Prinze Jr. And this time an interesting kid spraying a version of Cook’s classic line, “Am I a bet?”
Cook, now 41, was initially skeptical about joining the new movie, “What if my role was rushed to signal to anyone who might be a fan of the first movie, he said, ‘Okay! He’s still alive, isn’t that fun?”
But Cook isn’t just alive. He is developing. And his cameo role in “He’s All That” is only a hallmark in his decades-long career, which includes star returns in some of the most beloved movies by millennials and a permanent place in the psyche of the times in popular culture of the ’90s and early 2000s. . It is now ready for a new era.
Cook has a knack for making strangers feel like his best friends, as you might expect from the associated roles he’s known. Dressed in an oversized T-shirt and perched on a rattan sofa at her brother’s house in Los Angeles, she graced our latest video interview with a stream of her own queries about everything from my cat to my family and love life. The same expressive eyebrows that a director once told him to tap and control, now alternately knitted with concern and leaped with pleasure.
“This is all true,” Marla Sokoloff, her friend and lead actress in “The Baby-Sitters Club,” said in a separate interview. “He’s exactly who you want him to be. More than once, he’s led me to a meeting he’s got for himself and he’s like, ‘I don’t think this is for me. You have to play this role.’ “Who does that? You don’t have a bad bone in your body.”
Born a year after “She’s All That” aired and featured on TikTok, Rae navigates a Hollywood landscape different from a pre-social media or #MeToo era Cook entered when she was a teenager in 1995. With serious respect, the young star talked about Cook, as well as ’90s trends like low-rise jeans and claw clips.
“Rachael is so inspiring. You can tell her heart is very pure,” Rae said. “He knows better than most people how difficult this industry can be, and he made it clear to me that it’s a lot of work.” (Cook noted that he avoided giving Rae too much career advice and risked sounding like a “busy old lady”.)
The daughter of a social worker and an artisanal weaver, Cook began modeling for Milk-Bone boxes and Target print ads in Minneapolis before attending her first audition in Los Angeles at age 15 and winning the role of Mary-Anne in the 1995 film adaptation. about “Babysitters Club“Months later, another literary role, Disney’s “Tom and Huck”
On the set of this movie, Cook found himself next to two actors at the height of child stardom: Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Brad, whom he overheard at age 13 say things like “It’s hard to be a Democrat in the tax bracket,” Renfro as he remembers played his role using a real ax and chasing the casting director around the audition room. secured it.
“It was a very close and super vivid example of the different ways to exist in Hollywood,” Cook said. “I think I lived somewhere in the middle of that, at least in my 20s.”
Gifted with a wry sense of humor and an often underused comedy timing, Cook hoped above all for a career similar to that of Parker Posey, with whom he co-starred in The House of Yes and Josie and the Pussycats. But without TikTok or Instagram (platforms where Rae has a total of over 120 million followers), Cook’s public persona was at the mercy of fan sites Seventeen and Angelfire, which determined how to present him to their readers.
In early interviews, she was often compared to Minnesota’s Winona Ryder: both had sensitive features and cool girl influence. Matthew Lillard, who starred in Cook’s “She’s All That” and its remake, saw him as a different lead yet.
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘Could be the future Julia Roberts’,” Lillard said in a phone call. “He had that glint in his eyes and that sparkle in his personality. Very smart. But at the same time, he doesn’t believe the hype. It’s an exception to the Hollywood rule.”
Breaking the mold even further, one of Cook’s most influential roles came not from a movie but from a public service announcement: he smashed eggs and aggressively destroyed an entire kitchen to demonstrate the effects of his heroin addiction. 1997 “This is your drugged brain”, he said, “moved the needle for me in terms of getting some sharper roles.” Filmed 20 years later a similar ad, highlighting how the war on drugs disproportionately affects people of color. Cook said the update “should happen knowing what we now know”.
While Cook’s anti-heroin ad was hugely popular, “heroin chic” was also the dominant beauty ideal of the ’90s, glorifying ultra-slim body types and popularizing an often unhealthy standard for models and actresses – and ordinary teenagers bombarded with these images on screen and in magazines.
Throughout her career, many directors have asked the little star to lose weight days before filming. Cook said one of them was Peter Howitt, the company’s director. 2001 movie “Antitrust” He softened the implication that he was overindulgent with an addendum to his Thanksgiving co-star Ryan Phillippe, the same thing.
“Suddenly I burst into tears. He felt so bad and he took it right back,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t bothered. That doesn’t mean I don’t remember him.”
A representative for Howitt wrote in an email that the director had been instructed by the film’s producers to talk to the cast, stating that Howitt “repented of being used as a messenger”, apologized, and “personally had no issues with any of their physicality”. actors.”
“She’s All That” and “He’s All That” are both Miramax productions, but only the first one features Harvey Weinstein. As a producer, who currently in service A 23-year prison sentence for rape and sexual assault was not a fixture on the set of the 1999 movie, Cook has encountered over the years. (He also starred in Miramax’s “All I Wanna Do,” “The House of Yes,” and “Blow Dry.” He also instructed his client to send “get well” cards to Weinstein while he was in the hospital.
“I think I’ve heard enough people call me mature and believed it myself. But that wasn’t actually true,” Cook said. “In retrospect, was I equipped to navigate the industry? Zero percent.”
A widely used female-centered adaptation after “Josie and the Pussycats.” discretionBombed at the 2001 box office, Cook decided to focus on independent films both because he needed to get out of “film prison” and because of his desire to be a part of this unusual, thriving scene.
“I thought what everybody was telling me was really true when he said, ‘Now what we have to do is make sure it’s taken seriously,'” she said. “I definitely did something for the wrong reasons.”
Prior to “Josie,” she turned down the role of Rogue in the “X-Men” franchise to shoot multiple small movies and not play on the green screen. The superhero role went to “She’s All That” co-star Anna Paquin instead. Cook was reluctant to draw further attention to his “big misstep,” adding, “As soon as I saw the posters, I knew I had made a mistake.”
Cook currently finds himself in a temporary state, on the verge of a new chapter. Her 15-year marriage to “The Vampire Diaries” actor Daniel Gillies, with whom she shares two children, 7-year-old Charlotte and 6-year-old Theo, ended in divorce. Actress Judy Greer formed it with her friend, then producer Kevin Mann.
“I strongly recommend divorce,” Cook said. “Sorry, I know I sound like I’ve given up. But I truly believe that. Life is too short to be honest about who you are and what you need.”
In recent years, she’s turned to feel good, starring in a number of Hallmark movies tied to various seasons and holidays, and the 2020 Netflix romantic comedies.Love, Guaranteed“He also produced. While he may be a fan of the relaxing genre, he still has a lot more he wants to explore. Dark comedies. Posei land. “Something serious but still weird and a little twisted,” he explained.
As Lillard says, “Rachael Leigh Cook is someone to be reckoned with. I’m so excited for the world to remember that.”
He will also star in and executive produce Netflix’s upcoming romance.A Tourist’s Love Guide” is based on its own story idea. Producing served as a way to reclaim control that his early career was lacking.
“I am a life man. I’ve been in the neighborhood,” Cook said. “It used to be inappropriate for a woman to even age. Now, I’m older and somehow it’s okay. It used to be, if you’re not a man you’ll never really have any power. Now, the women I know run everything.”