Fans of now-vintage rom-com She’s All That might have rejoiced a bit when they heard two of the original film’s stars, Rachael Leigh Cook and Matthew Lillard, were returning for Netflix’s newly available reboot, He’s All That. Nostalgia is real, after all, and everyone loves a good in-joke. Unfortunately for all She’s All That purists, though, Cook and Lillard aren’t actually reprising their original roles for the new movie, instead popping up as the main character’s overworked mom and the high school’s mostly unseen principal, respectively.
But why? The A.V. Club sat down with the two for a recent video interview, below, in which the two talked about their characters. Cook told us that she “wasn’t part of the decision” to have the actors play new roles, but said she does “think it’s nice to not have to have the pressure of reprising a role from 20-plus years ago.” “I think would have felt a little bit strange,” she says, “And then you have to deal with people’s feelings about if they like where your character ended up. Why deal with that?” She does note that there are “heavy nods to [the pair’s] former characters in this movie,” most of which come in the climactic prom scene near He’s All That’s conclusion.
Lillard says that his association with He’s All That star Addison Rae earned him some rare respect from his own teenage kids. His oldest daughter, a 19-year old also named Addison, made him a brooch for Christmas that he wears in the interview. When he was leaving for the taping, though, he said she gave him some guff. “She’s like, “don’t wear that today,” he said. “Then she’s like, ‘oh, wait, is Addison Rae going to see it?’ Then she was like, ‘OK, maybe you can wear it today.’”
Lillard says that kind of attention from his kids is rare. “It is weird to have that sort of recognition of the people I’m working with, because now they care,” he says. “It’s hard to get your kids to care about you. I mean, if I die, they’ll cry. But until I die, they’re just going to be mean to me.”
He’s All That is available to stream now on Netflix. You can read our review of the movie, which our critic called “far from all that,” right here.