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Why Rachael Leigh Cook And Matthew Lillard Were ‘Shocked’ She’s All That Became A ‘90s Classic

It’s not every weekend we get to play homage to a classic rom-com like She’s All That but, thanks to the release of the modern remake, Netflix's He’s All That, we have a nostalgic blast from the past! Twenty-two years ago, Freddie Prinze Jr’s popular kid, Zack Siler, made a bet to make the high school outcast, Rachael Leigh Cook’s Laney Boggs, into a prom queen but accidentally fell in love with her quirky and artistic sensibilities instead. In 2021, Cook appears in the remake and is talking about the first movie’s legacy, alongside co-star Matthew Lillard.

She’s All That is such fun on a rewatch, and it’s actually insane how much talent the movie featured, with some of the actors still only in the early years of their careers. I’m talking about the late Paul Walker of Fast & Furious, Daredevil’s Kevin Pollak, Succession’s Kieran Culkin, True Blood’s Anna Paquin, Psych’s Dule Hill, Lil’ Kim and even Usher Raymond. Back in 1999, the movie became a big box office hit and cultural phenomenon. Cook spoke with CinemaBlend about her surprise:

I think I would be running a studio right now if I had known it was going to be [a hit]. We were all kind of shocked. I’m not saying that to be modest, but we just thought we were a pretty small budget fun teen movie and yeah, here we are 20 years later helping them make another version, it’s pretty wild.

She’s All That was reportedly made for $10 million and, according to Rachael Leigh Cook, the cast had no idea it would make as big a splash with audiences as it does. At the time of the movie’s release, Cook was just 19 years old and just getting started in the world of Hollywood, so how would she have known what it would turn into?

CinemaBlend also got to speak to Matthew Lillard, who played She's All That's Brock Hudson, the obnoxious new boyfriend of Zack’s ex. Lillard shared what being on the set of She’s All That was like ahead of the movie’s release and eventual iconic status:

Just in terms of the set, I think it’s the same sort of thing. The energy, the spirit of it, the vibe on set set by Freddie and Rachael, there was no ego, everyone was there to have a good time and work hard. It speaks to Robert Iscove and his original movie and the casting, but it was a little bit like lightning in a bottle. You don’t normally get that kind of success and all of those things have to go right in order to find its way to what it is now, which is somewhat of a ‘90s classic.

The most beloved movies were not produced to transcend time but, as Matthew Lillard shared, he really felt that the specific group of people on set had the right kind of energy that contributed to it being entertaining on screen. Lillard has had other successes as well, including Scream and Scooby-Doo, so he would know. And he also gushed about one specific scene starring Rachael Leigh Cook’s Laney Boggs:

I mean the iconic scene of Laney Boggs walking down those stairs in the red dress is like ...hello? Amazing. But it is amazing. When it comes on, if they put together a compilation of great scenes in the ‘90s that would be one.

As he said it, Cook looked visibly flushed after all these years, struggling to take his compliment with some humble "thank yous." But he’s right, just feel the magic in the scene once “Kiss Me” kicks on:

Yeah... it’s really that good every time! Both Rachael Leigh Cook and Matthew Lillard have roles in Netflix’s He’s All That starring Addison Rae and Tanner Buchanan, which is now streaming on Netflix.

Sarah El-Mahmoud

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.