Teen movies have the potential to be really great or ridiculously awful. The fact is, the outrageous things that happen in high school are hard to manufacture in a way that is enjoyable to watch. I mean, it's not that fun to live it, so why would we want to watch it? Because in movies, Freddie Prinze Jr. is there and that's really all it takes.
A teen movie in the 90s and early 2000s wasn't complete without Freddie Prinze Jr.. There was however, one movie that he made that became the epitome of teen movies. She's All That was an absolutely iconic film that seemed to embrace all the stereotypical teen tropes that go along with these movies but they did it better than anyone.
The star of this movie was Rachael Leigh Cook. She played the dorky loner girl who was into art. She worse glasses and overalls and apparently that was enough to make her the biggest dork in school.
We all remember the plot right? Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr.) has a bet with Dean (Paul Walker) to see if he can turn any girl into prom queen. They end up picking Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook) as the subject of their experiment but over time Zack develops feelings for her. She gets a makeover before some Six Pence None The Richer plays and the everything goes exactly as you'd expect.
Rachael Leigh Cook was already pretty popular before She's All That because she played Mary Ann in The Babysitters Club. After she had her big staircase reveal in the movie, she instantly became the new "it girl".
She has continued acting consistently since the movie, but she has never forgotten the iconic teen flick that helped make her the star that she is. She spoke with Today about the process of making the movie and she had some extremely sweet things to say about her costars, including the unlikely moments that stick with her.
Rachael Leigh Cook has gone on to star in several movies and TV shows. Her most successful show after the movie was the series Perception which ran from 2012-2015.
She recently spoke with Today about what it was like to be a part of the cast that helped influence countless other teen movies and what she had to say was pretty great.
Her favorite Freddie Prinze Jr. moment
“My favorite Freddie memory from filming is the scene where my character says 'Am I a bet? Am I a f---ing bet?' You see his character take in the gravity of what he's done. And Freddie was so upset about it, like he really was kind of was emotional in that moment because he had really taken on what a person who had done that might feel like. I remember he was kind of choked up and that was definitely the cutest thing I've ever seen."
Kind words about the late Paul Walker
“I think it's well known what a philanthropic and kind person he was. But Paul was also a really damn good actor. And I don't feel like that gets said enough. He became so synonymous with the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise and he made a lot of smaller movies that he does absolutely beautiful work in.”
She added, “I remember we were shooting this scene in ‘She's All That’ where, granted his character is being incredibly duplicitous, but he comes to my house and he's trying to endear himself to me and is very, very convincing about it. And I remember the take ended and I heard the camera guy go, ‘I believe him.’ That's what we always want as actors, is someone from the camera department to actually be mildly impressed by what you're doing.”
Reconnecting with Freddie Prinze Jr.
“I remember in 2013, right after Paul died very suddenly, thinking to myself, wow. Life is incredibly short and I should reach out. He's someone who I care about, someone who I want to see again. It had been a million years then and somehow it took me another three years after that to finally reach out and say, ‘Hey, I know we're not day-to-day friends, but it would be great to see you.’ So we caught up last year over an epic coffee and pastry selection and he's doing great.”
Her friendships with other cast members
“I've actually kept in touch with Tamara Mello, who was a member of Taylor Vaughan's crew of popular kids."
She says that she ran into Jodi Lyn O'Keefe, who played Laney's nemesis Taylor, recently and started a group conversation with both of them. "I started a group thread where I cc’ed both of them and Jodi didn't answer. And I texted Tamara on the side and was like, ‘There's a moment coming about six hours from now where she realizes she has to text us back because otherwise this whole thing is way too meta.’ So I think we're going to hang out someday?"
The elaborate dance sequence
“I remember being told that there was going to be an elaborate dance sequence in the movie at the prom and thinking this isn't really mentioned in the script; that'll be interesting. Especially interesting for the person who has to teach me how to do this dance. Not so skilled with the choreography over here. I was able to justify that my character wouldn't necessarily know this dance that everybody else seems to know and I think they just gently swept me to the side when they realized I wasn't the best dancer.”
"I could fall all day; I'm really good at that. Someone reminded me, and I think that this is true: I don't think that the trip at the end of the stairs was actually scripted. At least the first time that it happened. I don't know if that's the one that's in the movie, but I think that that just kind of happened.”
The kiss scene
“We were running out of time. The day was ending. I'd started a take and I could tell that I didn't really like what I was doing, but I was like, 'They won't use this if I blink a lot.' Yes, they did. Yes, yes, they did. I was like, 'Surely, I'll get another crack at it. I'll do my best, but I'll just be like blinkety blinkerson and then how can they possibly even use it?' And it's in the movie and I will never try that again. Whoops."
The iconic song
“I feel like Sixpence None the Richer's ‘Kiss Me’ is following me. I'll just be at the CVS, Rite Aid, whatever, just picking up stuff, and it'll just come on and I feel like I'm on ‘Candid Camera’ every time. Maybe I am.”