Rachael Leigh Cook on Going from 90s Rom-Com Icon to Finding Her Place in the Feel-Good Space

     September 1, 2020

Rachael Leigh Cook was one of my absolute favorites growing up. The Baby-Sitters Club, All I Wanna Do and She’s All That were basically on repeat in my house. As thrilled as I was to get to revisit memories from those productions during this edition of Collider Ladies Nights, one of the greatest joys of this conversation with Cook for her new Netflix release, Love, Guaranteed, was hearing about what Cook learned from all of those experiences and how it all landed her in a place where she has a degree of control over the content she’s making.


Image via Netflix

Again, as a diehard fan of the 90s classic She’s All That, my limited perspective led me to believe that movie had to be the game-changer for Cook, the project that gave her name a certain amount of weight in the industry and control over her career. Turns out though, that came years later:

“Feeling like I had a degree of control over the trajectory of my career, that’s been in fairly recent years to be honest with you. I’d say from maybe 2017 or so, when I started partnering up to produce things with Crown Media and The Hallmark Channel. They’ve been incredible partners to me and so supportive. And I love working in the feel-good space, you know? I spent many years trying to be cool and make edgy content that I thought would make people sort of stand up and take notice of me, but it wasn’t until I sort of followed my heart’s desire and my true intention that I think I started to really feel like I had greater control or a degree of say-so over the way my projects were gonna go, or actually even come to fruition.”

Cook’s been applying that say-so to her Hallmark Channel movies for years, and now she’s bringing some of that feel-good vibe to Netflix too with Love, Guaranteed. In the Elizabeth Hackett and Hilary Galanoy penned film, Cook leads as Susan, a lawyer desperate to save her small firm. The opportunity to do so comes her way when Nick (Damon Wayans Jr.) walks through her office door with a high paying case. He’s looking to sue a dating website that guarantees its subscribers will find love.

For more on Cook’s experience making Love, Guaranteed, give her full Collider Ladies Night interview a watch at the top of this article! She also discusses her experience working on the “This Is Your Brain on Drugs” PSAs, a key conversation she had with The Baby-Sitters Club director Melanie Mayron, how her audition for Can’t Hardly Wait paved the way to Josie and the Pussycats, and so much more. We’ve also got a podcast version of the chat for you below:

Rachael Leigh Cook:

  • 01:05 – How some VHS trickery gave Cook a very different version of The Sound of Music as a kid.
  • 04:20 – Did her print modeling experience prepare her for her very first feature film; looking back on The Baby-Sitters Club.
  • 05:33 – Cook revisits the key conversation she had with The Baby-Sitters Club director Melanie Mayron.
  • 06:47 – Has Cook seen the new Baby-Sitters Club Netflix series?
  • 07:28 – Even with all her experience, Cook only felt a degree of control over the trajectory of her career fairly recently.
  • 08:37 – What quality of Hallmark movies does Cook wish more of the industry would adopt?love-guaranteed-poster
  • 10:10 – Cook revisits making her first “This Is Your Brain on Drugs” PSA; why she chose to remake it so many years later.
  • 14:46 – Cook revisits All I Wanna Do/Strike!/The Hairy Bird; what she learned from Kirsten Dunst while making that movie.
  • 16:47 – Cook is still learning new terminology on film sets!
  • 18:28 – Cook looks back on She’s All That and her collaboration with Freddie Prinze Jr.
  • 21:35 – What it was like nailing the “am I a bet” line in She’s All That.
  • 23:33 – As the star of one of the best of the best, what other teen romantic comedies of the 90s does Cook watch herself?
  • 24:19 – Cook auditioned for Can’t Hardly Wait and that audition actually paved the way to Josie and the Pussycats.
  • 25:35 – What it was like for Cook when Josie and the Pussycats flopped at the box office.
  • 29:12 – How Eric McCormack set the bar for Cook when it comes to work ethic and kindness on set.
  • 30:45 – What was it about the Love, Guaranteed concept that made her want to commit as a star and producer?
  • 31:45 – What it was like pitching a project to Netflix.
  • 33:11 – What it was like working with Mark Steven Johnson, a director with loads of experience in the superhero/action realm.
  • 34:21 – How movie premieres have changed over the years.


    Image via Netflix

  • 35:50 – How does Cook know when she’s nailed a scene? Does she feel it herself, look at her co-star or her director?
  • 33:37 – The thrill of learning about a new profession while making a movie; what it was like playing a lawyer in Love, Guaranteed.
  • 40:00 – How Sixpence None The Richer’s “Kiss Me” follows Cook everywhere.
  • 40:41 – Random questions begin! Find out what meal Cook would choose to eat for the rest of her life, the movie she’d choose to watch over and over, if she collects anything, what wardrobe and props she’s kept, and her biggest fear overcome right here.

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