"He said, 'It's not going to work out for me, but I totally obviously support you doing whatever you want with this,' " Rachael Leigh Cook tells PEOPLE of Freddie Prinze Jr.'s reaction to the remake

By Jen Juneau
May 24, 2021 05:03 PM
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Rachael Leigh Cook, Freddie Prinze Jr.,
Rachael Leigh Cook and Freddie Prinze Jr. in She's All That (1999)
| Credit: Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection

For Rachael Leigh Cook, signing up for the She's All That reboot was a no-brainer — but for Freddie Prinze Jr., her love interest in the iconic 1999 teen rom-com, she says it was a different story.

Speaking with PEOPLE to promote her recent voice cameo on Sunday's episode of Robot Chicken, the 41-year-old actress reveals that she recently reconnected with her former costar, 45, to chat about the upcoming gender-swapped remake, He's All That.

"He is doing really well. We both discussed if he was going to do this one or not," Cook says. "It ended up not being a good fit for him, but he and the creative team are behind it are totally cool."

While Cook would've loved to have Prinze — who originally played the popular Zack Siler to her nerdy-art-student-turned-bombshell character, Laney Boggs — onboard for He's All That, "I think his part was a little bit up in the air," she tells PEOPLE.

"He said, 'It's not going to work out for me, but I totally obviously support you doing whatever you want with this,' " Cook adds. " 'Go run with it — I'll support this movie all the way and everyone involved.' "

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Rachael Leigh Cook, Freddie Prinze Jr
Rachael Leigh Cook and Freddie Prinze Jr. in She's All That (1999)
| Credit: Miramax/Kobal/Shutterstock
Rachel Leigh Cook
Rachael Leigh Cook in She's All That (1999)
| Credit: Miramax

Back in December, Cook's addition to the He's All That cast was announced on the movie's official Instagram account, alongside a photo of her with star Addison Rae from the set.

Cook will not reprise her role of Laney but will instead play the mother of the 20-year-old TikTok star's character Padgett, the latter of whom is inspired by Prinze's role as Zack in the original film.

Calling Rae "an absolutely lovely human being," the Josie and the Pussycats star says that what "surprised [her] the most" about the star and her fellow teen cast members — including Tanner Buchanan, who will play the boy Padgett "makes over," modeled after Laney — "is that they were not on their phones all the time."

"I thought these were a bunch of TikTok stars and they were all going to be like, 'Hi, nice to meet you, whatever,' and they were not like that at all," she tells PEOPLE. "They all seemed really happy to engage with each other and just be really in the experience. That impressed me a lot, and it gave me hope for my own kids not just being glued to their phones all the time, even though they're obviously much younger."

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Asked how the success of She's All That and its place in iconic '90s teen rom-com history has affected her career trajectory today, Cook admits, "It would be easy to say that it did everything for me."

"It opened so many doors, and I'm still really grateful to that movie for it — and, dare I say, I think it held up pretty well," she adds of the film.

One thing Cook jokes "upset" her about the new movie? The makeover that Buchanan's character Cameron gets, which she quips she felt upstaged by.

"Tanner's makeover reveal is way better than mine was in the original, and I'm kind of annoyed about it," she jokes. "You'll see. He's a pretty kid."