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Rachael Leigh Cook was just out of her teens when she rose to fame as outcast Laney Boggs in the classic 1999 film She's All That. Now, the actress, 41, is reflecting on the 2013 death of Paul Walker, with whom she co-starred in the beloved teen film.
"I remember how hard it hit me when I heard about Paul’s passing, because you always think that there’s going to be — this is the corniest thing I’ve ever said — but you always think that there’s going to be time to reminisce with people about a time that was," Cook told Vanity Fair.
In the film, Walker played Dean Sampson, the best friend of Freddie Prinze Jr.'s character, Zack Siler. When Siler gets dumped by his girlfriend, he claims he can turn a random girl into prom queen within six weeks. Sampson challenges him to a bet, and picks the nerdy Boggs as the subject.
In the years after She's All That, Walker's fame skyrocketed as a result of his role in the Fast & Furious franchise. Sadly, he died in a fiery car collision in Southern California in 2013, aged just 40. Nov. 30 will mark the eighth anniversary of Walker's passing.
Cook added how grateful she is that she's been able to stay connected with another co-star in the film, Matthew Lillard, who played self-obsessed reality star Brock Hudson, who famously danced to Rick James's "Give it to Me" in the flick.
"[He] was way more famous than I was at that point," she said of Lillard, who also joins her in the new Netflix remake, He's All That. "We were all lightly surprised that he took the role."
Cook, who now has two kids of her own, plays Addison Rae's mom in the gender-flipped remake. The actress admitted she had her "share of reservations" about taking on the role, since the original "ended up being a way bigger touchstone in my life and career than I ever thought it was going to be."
“I wasn’t sure how I felt about wanting to be involved because it might seem like, am I trying to play the hits again well after the fact? Am I trying to set myself up in a position of being actively compared to my younger self?” Cook said. “That seems like a terrible idea.”
However, she decided to go for it, and has no regrets.
"It’s still the main thing that when people walk up to me in the frozen food section and want to say hello, they usually want to talk about She’s All That," said Cook. "So in that sense it’s very special to me and it is kind of sacred. But ultimately I decided that rather than being asked how I felt about He’s All That for, plainly, the rest of my career, I would rather just be visibly supportive and forward-facing about my endorsement of the movie, as it were."