PSA Sunday: Rachael Leigh Cook Shows Us Our Brain on Drugs

     December 4, 2011


There’s not much that thirty-seconds of television can do to change my mind, but this particular PSA has stuck with me since it aired in 1998. I’m a sucker for a pretty face to begin with, but when I watched Rachael Leigh Cook destroy a kitchen with a frying pan, my teenage brain was primed to do anything she said. Don’t do heroin, you say? Well, I hadn’t really planned on it but I sure as hell won’t do it now! Does this make you happy, Rachael?

This is Your Brain on Drugs was a public campaign against narcotics use through the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. The memorable “brain=egg, drugs=frying pan” marketing strategy worked well enough in the original 1987 spot, but Rachael Leigh Cook took it up a couple of notches a decade later. Check out some of our previous PSAs here and then hit the jump for some anti-drug nostalgia.

rachael-leigh-cookOh, whatever happened to her? I’m sure we all remember her as geek-turned-gorgeous Laney Boggs in She’s All That. I, admittedly, had a huge crush and followed her career through such films as Get Carter, Antitrust and Josie and the Pussycats. She did some voice work for Batman Beyond and Final Fantasy, but other than that, she has a long list of projects that aren’t exactly household names. But it’s not for lack of trying. Cook is starring in a TV series called Perception, in which a neuroscientist assists the federal government in solving crimes. Doesn’t sound exactly cutting edge, but who knows.

Her other upcoming roles are in the movies Red Sky, directed by Mario Van Peebles (New Jack City) and High Midnight with Vincent D’Onofrio and Elizabeth Hurley. The plot centers on an old sheriff (D’Onofrio) who partners with a Victorian-era vampire hunter to defend an 1892 New Mexico frontier town from the undead. Yes, I just heard the collective sigh as it doesn’t seem like we’ll see Miss Cook in anything reputable any time soon. Such a shame.