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David Poland

By David Poland

Rachael Leigh Cook… Take Two?

The 2001 run of Anti-Trust, Blow Dry, Josie & The Pussycats, and Texas Rangers kind of ended the sense of inevitability that many had pegged this young actress with when she was a darling of the indie circuit. The run went from from The House of Yes in 1997 (at 18 years old) until She’s All That and an arc on Dawson’s Creek killed her street cred at 20.
I don’t know this woman. I don’t know what she wanted. I don’t know how she saw her work or how she behaved on sets or in meetings. All I do know is that it kinda ended with that studio run in 2001.
So when I put an indie from Anchor Bay called Bob Funk, due for a brief theatrical release before DVD, into the DVD player… and her name, not a male name, was on top… I wondered what that was all about. And indeed, she is not the star of the film, but with Amy Ryan in a small role, she was the closest thing to a commodity they had.
And then I wondered… when is she going to turn up in the movie? And then I realized… she had. She’s blond (obviously a pliable condition), but more so, she is no longer a waif. She is a woman (30 in October) and she now has the curves of a woman. He face has filled out into a somewhat less pixie-ish shape, but she is still quite beautiful (if not terribly well photographed in this film). And she has a personality! One could see this there in Josie & The Pussycats, but that, it seems, is not what people wanted to hire her to do in films.
She really struck me – and the movie is indie okay… really a highlight reel for the star and the writer/director… feels like a stage play full of hard talk converted on a whim – as someone ready for the next round of their career to begin. It is very easy, now, to imagine her carrying a sitcom, taking a strong role on a good hour-long, or even crafting a career as a chick flick star. She is beautiful, but accessible… she is funny, but not showy… she seems daring, but not precious… really interesting.
It is easy to imagine her going into meetings and the execs or producers being surprised by who walked into their office. She doesn’t read as that girl we once saw in those movies. But if they can get over their youthful excitement about who she was, I think there is a real chance that she could have a better career as who she might be. Really interesting…
(CORRECTIONS Thurs, 12:55p – Apparently, Magnolia is distributing the film, Bob Funk, and Anchor Bay has another film I watched very late last night, The Education of Charlie Banks (with shockingly solid directorial work by Fred Durst) with their name is all over the screener. And Ms. Cook’s name was short an “a,” which I have now corrected.)

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41 Responses to “Rachael Leigh Cook… Take Two?”

  1. LexG says:

    AWESOME. Rachel Leigh Cook has always OWNED and was CHARMING in her heyday.
    NO ONE will agree, but she’s pretty great in the remake of Get Carter with Stallone and manages to bring out some subtle, sensitive post-Copland moments from Sly.
    She should do an indie romantic comedy with LexG. GOOD IDEA.

  2. LexG says:

    By the way IF Rachel Leigh Cook reads the Hot Blog, I have Der Wienerschnitzel coupons and I don’t know if she’s single or dating or whatever, but they’ve got a four chili dog special if she wants to hit up the one across from NBC for lunch, I’m totally down. And as a bonus, I could TOTALLY write a part into TOTAL OWNAGE for her.
    I’m also free next week for Taco Tuesday if she wants to hit one up with me for some 3/.99 action in Sherman Oaks.
    Basically, I will clear my social schedule if Rachel Leigh wants to go out.
    I’m flexible like that.

  3. Eric says:

    So you’re saying Rachel Leigh Cook still looks like Rachel Leigh Cook, but now with extra curves? Holy crap I really need to see this movie.

  4. Krazy Eyes says:

    I always thought her “curves” were considered her primary asset — even going all the way back to her earlier films. I remember liking her quite a bit in the indie crime drama 11:14 too.

  5. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, she’s been fairly active in TV and indie movies since 2001. She had a featured role in Into the West — I interviewed her about that for (yes, you guessed it) Cowboys & Indians Magazine — and had a multi-episode arc on Las Vegas. She even had a fleeting role opposite Jessica Simpson in Blonde Ambition. I know: Not exactly the resume of a superstar. But it’s kinda-sorta like what we were talking about a few days back when addressing Ron Silver — such is the lot of a journeyman actor. She’s actually doing better than some others I could mention.

  6. I’ve missed her since she dropped out of sight in the early 00s. Nice to see her back.

  7. gradystiles says:

    Just for the record, it’s “Rachael,” not Rachel.

  8. yancyskancy says:

    I live about two blocks from that Weinerschnitzel, so if Lex lands this date, I’ll try to hop down there and play paparazzi.
    I saw her for a second in something just recently while flipping channels. She looked about the same as Dave describes her, so it must have been something recent. I was pleasantly surprised when she turned up in a supporting role in that Nancy Drew movie, but of course couldn’t help thinking “This is all she can get?”

  9. IOIOIOI says:

    Seriously, this entire article makes you seem old and out of touch. Why? It’s called PSYCH. Pay more close attention to the world, son.

  10. jeffmcm says:

    I think David Poland can be excused for missing her two-episode stint.

  11. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff: if you want to act as if you are in the know, then be in the know. This just makes him come across as a brother that does not know how to use the IMDB. I mean, really, the woman has been working.

  12. jeffmcm says:

    The idea that her appearance on two episodes of Psych was crucial information makes you sound more out of touch than him.

  13. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff: out of touch? The guy does not even know how to use IMDB for fuck’s sake. If you want to attack me. You once again need to know that if you ever met me. You would run the other direction. So watch your attitude, and realize you watch TV like a mook. Two episodes? Yes, that’s how they set up next season. Sure.
    The fact that you think you can even stand next to me as a human being. Cracks me the fuck up. You chucklehead.

  14. jeffmcm says:

    I think that you are composed entirely of Bluster.

  15. David Poland says:

    I really don’t want to get into the pissing match with you, IO, but she has been working… and she hasn’t been seen in anything on the scale that she was working at in the early part of the decade in years.
    I looked at her IMDb page – married, LexG – and I thought about it… I didn’t regurgitate it in detail.
    You really are becoming more troll every day, IO. You’re not as simple minded as you are making yourself sound.
    And Joe… the Ron Silver thing is a bit different… she was never in the films that succeeded like some of his did… she was a young actress who seemed to be very edgy… different kind of flame…

  16. Joe Leydon says:

    Different kind of fame or different kind of flame? Either might be appropriate in this context. LOL.
    But you’re right: Cook never really had a critcial success on the order of Reversal of Fortune. On the other hand, She’s All That grossed more than four times as much as that one.
    BTW: I’m usually reluctant to ask questions like this here, because, if David does have as big an audience as he says, there’s always the risk the person I’m talking about might actually read my posting, and get his/her feelings hurt. But since we were talking about Glen Campbell and True Grit on another thread — WTF ever happened to Kim Darby? Now before IO pipes up — yeah, I know, she’s never really stopped working. But for about three years there in the late ’60s, early ’70s, she appeared poised to… well, to make a bigger impact.

  17. berg says:

    Kim Darby totally made THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT worthwhile

  18. IOIOIOI says:

    Poland: I am barely even here. So your claim that I am a troll is not representative of the fucking facts. Unlike that other guy who post on every thread, countless time, and has worn out his welcome. That person being Jeff McMahon. You thought I meant Lex? Nah, he’s at least not a control freak like Jeff.
    Again David, you should never play or refer to people as trolls. Especially when it is you David, that acts like a troll more then anyone else. Seriously David, go read your Watchmen stuff, and realize you are the one living under the bridge at a moment.
    David Poland, gets the gas face.
    Jeff: I think you are composed entirely of douche, mustard, and Vieux Boulogne .
    Joe: She became a stage actress. If I remember my facts correctly.

  19. IO legitimately made me laugh in this entry. And then I realised he was serious in implying that two episodes of a show called Psych had entered public conscience on any level whatsoever.

  20. Lota says:

    Joe, I always thought the little raisin-headed creatures from DBAOTD had something to do with keeping her out of big films and keeping her in the TV screen 4-ever…many cameos and guest parts on hit TV shows.
    But the little raisin heads did let her out for one of the Halloween movies.
    “Sssssaaaallllly…after Michael Myers you come back to ussssss”.

  21. IOIOIOI says:

    Kamel. Kamel. Kamel. It would be so easily to be mean to you right now. It would be so easily to insult you up and down, but who likes easy? Not me. I like a challenge. So let me state that Psych is on the biggest cable network on the states, viewed by most people under 35, and has a sizeable audience. Which means that if you are not old and using Just for Men on your nether regions. It’s quite possible you would know that she seems to have a rather big part of that show coming up.
    Now if you were clever Kamel, and it’s clear you are just mean. We know why you are mean. It’s okay. You are lashing out against the mean people that had the audacity to put baby in the corner. Nevertheless, if you wanted me to fit your pathetic attempt at being clever in your post. All I would have to do is mention that she’s been on Robot Chicken countless times.
    Now run along, try not to be so sassy, and try again later. DNPB.

  22. David Poland says:

    The funny thing about your absurdist comments, IO, is that you inspire the urge to slam talent that are really innocent bystanders. Do I really need to take on the facts on Watchmen again or question whether a guest arc on a USA cable show is anything that any serious actor aspires to these days? Do you understand ratings or any other industry numbers in any way? Are you buying stock in James Roday?
    I mean… you’re just so odd? This 35 thing… do you realize that the people who write, produce, and program the show are all over 35? Do you realize that Seth Green just turned 35?
    I say, I say, I say… Step it up, son.

  23. CaptainZahn says:

    Kim Darby is still a big bag of adorable.

  24. The Big Perm says:

    Psych seems to have ratings at around 6.1 million viewers. So according to IO, since “most people under 35” watch Psych, then there must be maybe…7 million people in the US under 35. That sounds about right.

  25. Joe Leydon says:

    David: You know, seeing you channel Foghorn Leghorn is a little…. odd.
    And for those of you who, unlike Lota and I, don’t have fond memories of ’70s TV-movies, the lovely lady was referring to Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, a 1973 chiller-diller in which Darby co-starred with the late, great Jim Hutton.

  26. jeffmcm says:

    There could be as many as 12 million Americans under the age of 35 if we go by the ‘more than half = most’ definition.
    By the way, there are about 12 million people under the age of 35 in Madagascar.

  27. jasonbruen says:

    Can we please have another go at Watchmen? It really riles up people on here and at times the banter is hilarious to read. A large source of amusement.
    And Lex, a nice shout out to Stallone in Get Carter. I really thought he was underrated in that.

  28. Lota says:

    Hey Joe…I saw it in the mid to late 80s on late night rotation (probably cable) but yes, for anyone who saw it in the 70s,80s, or after, sounds in the house ventilation took on a frightening context for small kids who were not supposed to watch it and did anyway.
    Darby played a bit of a naive broad, but where would horror be without the foolish and unaware.

  29. LexG says:

    Halloween 6 is awesome, especially Darby’s husband, that angry, harried white collar prick who looks like a cross between Chris McDonald and the guy who played NORRIS in THE THING.
    Myers kills him in a laundry room or something.

  30. The Big Perm says:

    jasonbruen, I think everyone here is all Watchmened out.
    However, Iron Man was a piece of shit!

  31. brack says:

    I had a little crush on Cook ever since seeing her in “Tom and Huck.”

  32. Joe Leydon says:

    Brack: Damn! Of course! THAT is where I first noticed her! Becky Thatcher, indeed!

  33. leahnz says:

    rachael is married to a kiwi named daniel gillies (he was the astronaut dude in spiderman-2)

  34. dietcock says:

    IO: Re: “Gas Face” — By quoting 3rd BASS (the ne plus awkward of wannabe white rap bands; MC Serch is like the unholy spawn of Danny Hoch and Michael Rappaport) in dissing Poland, you have henceforth lost any and all credibility with me. Sorry dude, them’s the breaks.

  35. LexG says:

    And no I didn’t have to look that shit up. Like Vanilla Ice’s two radio hits, U Can’t Touch This, or Humpty Dance, I can speed-rap that shit off the top of my head front to back in thirty seconds flat, faster than the Pope can do an Our Father.
    1990-1991 was all about that shit, wearing CROSS COLOURS, smoking Newports, watching New Jack and listening to BEL BIV DEVOE and 3RD BASS like 7,567 times a DAY.

  36. LexG says:

    And MC SERCH was STRAIGHT UP Harold Ramis.
    After you’re done getting the GAS FACE you can also go ahead and GET THE BOZACK.

  37. Joe Leydon says:

    Hey, when I was hammered on Bourbon Street last Sunday night, I sang Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” in a karaoke bar. The guy I gave the request slip to looked at me like he couldn’t believe some old dude would dare sing that. But I got applause.

  38. Hallick says:

    “rachael is married to a kiwi named daniel gillies (he was the astronaut dude in spiderman-2)”
    Hmmm…doesn’t ring a bell. Could you name an episode of PSYCH he might have guest-starred on? But only if he did it twice!

  39. Derek says:

    I really liked her in Nancy Drew. Which is a completely underated entertaining gem. Yes…I know its geared towards young girls…but it actually had a clever story, an emotional ending (albeit a little forced), and a few minor thrills. Completely Entertaining. Rachael was underused…but was good in the scenes she was in.

  40. yancyskancy says:

    Twilight Zone in here sometimes. Cook’s stint on Psych had nothing to do with Dave’s point, so of course he didn’t mention it. It’s probably safe to say she wouldn’t even have taken that gig if her big screen career was going the way she wanted.
    Anyway, she’s lovely and talented. And I’m with Derek re her perf in Nancy Drew and the film in general. The central mystery was no brain-teaser, but I found such simple, old-fashioned storytelling to be a relief after the busy, often nonsensical plotting of the Spider-Man and Pirates three-quels. Pleasant surprise.

  41. “You are lashing out against the mean people that had the audacity to put baby in the corner.”
    That doesn’t even make any sense let alone when put into context of me and this blog. Is Dave keeping me from unleashing my inner sexpot? I’m not following you. Much like I’m not following your rationanale that just because someone doesn’t know she has appeared in two episodes of Psych (whether it is leading to a bigger part or not) that equates them to “out of touch” and fit for condescending mockery.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon