The actor answered student questions about the making of the film

Rob Lowe paid a surprise visit to a New Jersey middle school on Thursday.

In a PEOPLE exclusive look, the 57-year-old actor virtually visited students at William R. Satz Middle School in New Jersey as the class was reading the S.E. Hinton novel The Outsiders. Lowe took the time to answer student's questions about the making of the 1938 film through the app Komi which facilitated the surprise visit.

When a student asked him which costar he was most closes to, Lowe said he had already known Tom Cruise but developed a brotherly bond with C. Thomas Howell during their "wild" time on set.

Lowe was also asked what path his career would have taken if he hadn't landed the part of Sodapop Curtis in the Francis Ford Coppola film.

"I was really lucky to know what I wanted to do when I was young. I knew I wanted to be an actor when I was 8. I really pursued it," he said. "But there was a moment in time right before The Outsiders where it kind of looked like it wasn't going to happen for me."

The Outsiders, Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe
Tom Cruise and Rob Lowe in The Outsiders
| Credit: Moviestore/Shutterstock

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Before landing the part, Lowe said he went through a period where he tried to think of other careers to pursue.

"I was either going to be a lawyer, go to law school like my son Matthew's done, like my father did or maybe I was going to be a marine biologist because I love science and I love the ocean," he said. "And just when I thought my dream wasn't going to come true… there's a great saying that I believe in, 'Don't leave before the miracle.' And I did not leave before the miracle and the miracle came and the miracle was The Outsiders."

He said, "It put me on a trajectory that I always hoped and felt I would be on," before adding, "But, if it hadn't happened, you could have gone to me for legal advice!"

The Outsiders was Lowe's first major film role and also starred Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez, Diane Lane and Howell.

In 2015, Lowe told PEOPLE he would have loved to run a presidential campaign if he'd "had the guts" after working on the political drama The West Wing.

"I have to be honest, if I had the guts to do it, I would love to—after having played Sam Seaborn on The West Wing for so long— to take a sabbatical and be in the trenches and have a presidential campaign," Lowe said.