Rachel Leigh Cook was always worth the stake

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Rachel Leigh Cook was always worth the stake

Rachel Leigh Cook is having a full affair. Twenty-two years after walking down the ladder in a short red dress to the beat of Sixpence Know the Richer, the “She’s All That” actress finds herself in a teen makeover movie once again.

This time, she’s marginalized as the mother of an influencer (played by Addison Rae) in “He’s All That,” the gender-flipped remake of Netflix’s 1999 hit that starred Cooke and Freddie Prinze Jr. Bar it’s a quirky boy. Joe Cook’s classic line “Am I a bet?” A variant of spits.

Now 41, Cook was initially skeptical about her involvement in the new film, stating, “What if my role is to signal to everyone who might be a fan of the first film,’ she said. All right! He’s still alive, isn’t he funny?'”

But Cook just isn’t alive. She is flourishing. And his small part in “He’s All That” is only one marker in a decade-long career that has included star turns in some of the most cherished films of millennial audiences and a lasting one in the pop-culture zeitgeist of the ’90s and 2000s. is the location. . Now, he is ready for a new era.

Cook, as you might expect from the relatable roles she’s known for, has a knack for making strangers feel like she’s their best friend. Dressed in an oversized T-shirt and perched on a rattan chair at her brother’s home in Los Angeles, she spoke about everything from my cat to my parents to my love life in our recent video interview. Presented with a stream of inquiries. The same expressive eyebrows a director had once instructed to be controlled by tapping them down and now alternately frowned with anxiety and leaped with joy.

“She’s all totally real,” her friend and “The Baby-Sitters Club” co-star, Marla Sokoloff, said in a separate call. “She’s exactly who you want her to be. Many times, she’s forwarded me a meeting she’s got for herself and is like, ‘I don’t think this is for me. You have to play this part.’ Who does that? He doesn’t have any bad bones in his body.”

Rae — who was born a year after “She’s All That” was released and rose to prominence on TikTok — is navigating a different Hollywood landscape as a teen in 1995 than a cook who used social media. Or the era before #MeToo. The young star spoke about Cook, as well as ’90s trends like low-rise jeans and claw clips, with a deep reverence.

“Rachel is very inspirational. You could say she has a very clean heart,” Rae said. “She knows more than a lot of people how tough this industry can be, and she made it clear to me that it is very There’s work.” (Cook notes that she avoided giving Rae too much career advice at the risk of sounding like “some busy old lady.”)

The daughter of a social worker and an artisan weaver, Cooke began modeling for Milk-Bone Box and Target print ads in Minneapolis at age 15 before booking her first audition in Los Angeles and winning the part: 1995’s Mary-Anne in the film adaptation “The Baby-sitters Club.” Months later, she landed another literary role as Becky Thatcher in Disney’s “Tom and Huck.”

On the set of that film, Cook found himself next to two actors at the height of child stardom: Jonathan Taylor Thomas, whom he overheard when he was 13, “It’s hard to be a Democrat in my tax bracket,” and Brad. Renfro, as he remembered, secured his role by driving an actual hatchet around the audition room and chasing the casting director.

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“It was a very close-up and super vivid example of the different ways Hollywood exists,” Cook said. “I think, at least in my 20s, I lived somewhere directly in the middle of that.”

Gifted with a quirky sense of humor and often under-utilized comedy timing, Cook hoped, above all, to have a career like Parker Posey, with whom he played “The House of Yes” and “Josie and the Pussycats”. co-starred in But without TikTok or Instagram (platforms on which Rae has a combined more than 120 million followers), Cook’s public persona was at the mercy of Seventeen and Angelfire fans, who determined how to present her to her readers.

In early interviews, she was often compared to fellow Minnesotan Winona Ryder: both had delicate features and a cool-girl demeanor. Cook’s co-star Matthew Lillard in “She’s All That” and the remake saw her as a different type of leading lady.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘She could be the next Julia Roberts,'” Lillard said in a phone interview. “He had that sparkle in his eyes and the brilliance of his personality. He is evil clever. But at the same time, she does not believe in hype. She is the exception to the rule of Hollywood.”

Breaking the mold further, one of Cook’s most influential roles came not from the film but from a public service announcement: He broke eggs and aggressively destroyed entire kitchens to demonstrate the effects of heroin addiction. That 1997 “This Is Your Brain on Drugs” spot, she said, “moving the needle a bit faster for me in terms of roles.” Twenty years later, she filmed a similar ad, detailing how the war on drugs disproportionately affected people of color. The update, Cook said, “is what we now need to know.”

While Cook’s anti-heroin advert proved overwhelmingly popular, “heroin chic” was also a ’90s beauty ideal, glorifying ultrathin body types and popularizing an often unhealthy standard for models and actresses—and general Teens who were onscreen and bombarded with those images. in magazines.

During her career, many directors asked this beautiful star to lose weight a few days before filming. One of them, Cook said, was Peter Howitt, director of the 2001 film “Antitrust,” who cushioned the allegation that he overindulged at Thanksgiving with the addendum that he told his male co-star Ryan Phillippe. . Same thing.

“I immediately burst into tears. And he felt terrible and immediately took it back,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t angry. That doesn’t mean I don’t remember it.”

A representative for Howitt wrote in an email that the director had been instructed by the film’s producers to speak to the actors, noting that Howitt “regrets being used as a messenger,” apologizing. , and never “had a problem with the physicality of anyone personally as an actor.”

“She’s All That” and “She’s All That” are both Miramax productions, although only the former had Harvey Weinstein’s involvement. While the producer, who is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence for rape and sexual assault, was not a fixture on the set of the 1999 film, Cook faced her over the years. (He also starred in the Miramax films “All I Wanna Do,” “The House of Yes” and “Blow Dry”.) Cook believes his manager took the then-unknown at those work meetings to protect him. Young Starr, but he also instructed his client to send Weinstein a “Well Well” card while he was in the hospital.

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“I think I’ve heard a lot of people calling me mature that I believe in it myself. But that wasn’t really true,” Cook said. Was equipped for? Zero percent.”

After “Josie and the Pussycats”, a flashy, female-centric adaptation that is now widely acclaimed, bombed at the 2001 box office, Cook decided to focus on independent films, both because she was considered “movie”. Jail” and because of his desire to be a part of that offbeat, booming scene.

“I really thought what everyone told me was true when they said, ‘What we have to do now is make sure you are taken seriously,'” she said. “I definitely did things for the wrong reasons.”

Prior to “Josie”, she had turned down the part of Rogue in the “X-Men” franchise to avoid shooting several short films and starring on the green screen. The superhero role went to “She’s All That” co-star Anna Paquin instead. Cook is reluctant to draw more attention to his “huge misstep”, adding that “as soon as I saw the posters, I knew I had made a mistake.”

Cook currently finds himself in a fleeting position at the end 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. Her friend, actress Judy Greer, later set her up with producer Kevin Mann.

“I highly recommend divorce,” Cook said. “I’m sorry, I know I sound like a quirk. But I believe it with all my heart. Life is too short not to be true to who you are and what you need.”

In recent years, she’s set to feel good fare as well, starring in a string of Hallmark films spanning different seasons and holidays, as well as starring in the 2020 Netflix rom-com “Love, Guaranteed,” which she also starred in. Made it. Although she’s a fan of the casual style, she wants to explore more. Dark Comedy. Posey area. “Things that are earnest but still weird and a little jumbled up,” she explained.

As Lillard put it, “Rachel Leigh Cook is someone to be reckoned with. I’m so excited for the world to remember that.”

He’s also set to star in Netflix’s upcoming romance “A Tourist’s Guide to Love” and produce one based on his own story idea. Construction has served as a way to regain control of what he lacked in his early career.

“I’m a lifeblood. I’ve been around the block,” Cook said. “It wasn’t even okay for a woman to be that big. Now, I’m a grown-up and somehow it’s okay. It used to be, You really won’t have any power if you’re not a man. Now, the women I know are running everything.”

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