I missed out on She’s All That when it was released way back in 1999 — 22 years ago! — but was very much aware of the film and the impact it had on my close group of high school friends. And while its Cinderella-inspired plot device — a “jock” falls for a “nerdy-because-she-wears-glasses” girl from another click — remains just as cheesy today as it did in the late ’90s, after watching the flick earlier this week, I get the appeal and understand how this rather routine comedy grossed over $100 million at the worldwide box office.
Yet, more than anything, the one thing that stood out to me during my showing was just how much talent was packed into the 97-minute feature.
In case you forgot, check out this cast of characters — and don’t forget to watch the Netflix remake He’s All That, currently streaming now!
Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachel Leigh Cook
Oddly enough, the main stars of She’s All That failed to make much of an impact on the big screen years later. Hollywood tried its hardest to make Freddie Prinze Jr. a thing — remember Wing Commander? — and even gave the man his own short-lived TV series, but the actor just didn’t stick. Though, he has enjoyed success on the small screen on shows such as 24, Psych, and Bones, and as a voice actor on Star Wars Rebels.
Cook likewise enjoyed a few years on the big screen with would-be franchises Josie and the Pussycats and Texas Rangers, but has mostly stuck to TV acting in shows such as Psych, Ghost Whisperer, and the recent Cross Country Christmas.
Out of everyone in the cast, Walker was the one to find the most success, at least from an acting standpoint, mainly due to the lucrative (and ongoing) Fast and Furious franchise. Yet, before his tragic death in 2013, the actor had done a pretty good job stacking his resume with roles in family adventures like Eight Below and supporting parts in more prestigious films such as Flags of Our Fathers and Pleasantville.
Lillard rose to fame thanks to Scream, but managed to carve out a nice career as a character actor in films such as The Descendants and the acclaimed TV series The Bridge. He also played Shaggy in 2002’s Scooby-Doo and 2004’s Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, and has since served as the go-to actor for the character in a number of video games and cartoons. Oh, he was also in Wing Commander.
By the time Anna Paquin starred in She’s All That, she had already won an Academy Award for The Piano, appeared in Steven Spielberg’s Amistad, starred opposite Jeff Daniels in Fly Away Home, and featured in the star-studded Hurlyburly alongside Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and Meg Ryan. A year after She’s All That, Paquin would go on to play Rogue in the X-Men franchise, appear in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, Michael Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat, and HBO’s very popular True Blood for seven seasons.
Gabrielle Union had mostly appeared in TV series such as Family Matters, Saved by the Bell: The New Class, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Sister, Sister, respectively, before starring as Katie in She’s All That — a part that led to features such as Love & Basketball, Bring It On, Bad Boys II, Cradle 2 the Grave, and, more recently, TV series such as L.A.’s Finest and the animated series The Lion Guard.
Speaking of Psych, Dulé Hill, aka Burton Guster, also starred in She’s All That as Preston, one of Zack’s entourage, and went on to star in films such as Holes and The Guardian before jumping to TV shows like Doubt, Ballers and, well, Psych.
After bit roles in films such as Radio Flyer and Turner & Hooch, Henson hit pay dirt with The Mighty Ducks. She’s All That came about a few years later, as did roles in Cast Away, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, Lords of Dogtown, and, of course, Marvel’s Daredevil.
Well, I mean, if you don’t know who Usher is …
Kieran Culkin started out as “the brother of Macaulay,” but has since proved to be a strong character actor thanks to roles in films such as The Cider House Rules, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and the TV series Fargo.
By 1999, Lil’ Kim was already a star thanks to her debut studio album Hard Core, which was certified double platinum. Since then, the musician has sold more than 15 million albums and 30 million singles worldwide, and appeared in films such as You Got Served and Zoolander.
Other Notable Supporting Players:
Sarah Michelle Gellar (who also appeared with Freddie Prinze Jr. in I Know What You Did Last Summer, and receives an acknowledgment in the credits), Tim Matheson, and Clea DuVall.
Here’s the really crazy part: according to the DVD commentary by director Robert Iscove, M. Night Shyamalan actually polished the screenplay! Entertainment Weekly confirmed as much in 2013:
EW called [Jack] Lechner just to make sure the comment was legit — and after confirming that he wrote it, he reiterated that Shyamalan “did more than a polish” on the movie’s script: “He did a solid rewrite … He made it deeper, made the characters richer.” Before you scoff, remember that there’s a reason people still care about She’s All That 14 years after its release.
“I can see how Fleming would say it’s his movie, and I can see why M. Night would say it’s his movie,” Lechner continued. “They’re both right.”
How’s that for a twist ending?