She's All That
"I'm not small, I'm space-efficient." Rachael Leigh Cook
5' 2 inches tall American actress Rachael Leigh Cook received rave reviews for portraying the ugly duckling Laney Boggs, who turns prom queen, in the teen romantic comedy film She's All That (1999, opposite Freddie Prinze Jr.). First noticed while debuting in The Baby-Sitters Club (1995, with Austin O'Brien and Brooke Adams), Cook continued to receive applause for acting in Tom and Huck (1995, with Jonathan Taylor-Thomas and Brad Renfro) and The Hi-Line (1999, opposite Ryan Alosio), as well as being seen in films like The House of Yes (1997, starring Parker Posey), Get Carter (2000, alongside Sylvester Stallone), Tangled (2001) and Josie and the Pussycats (2001). Recently, she played roles in the 2004 films My First Wedding and Stateside, as well as the newly aired TV series "Head Cases" (with Chris O'Donnell and Krista Allen).
Also known as a model, Cook, who was first recognized for appearing on the Milk-Bone Dog Biscuits box, has been modeling for the public service anti-drug ads (This is your brain...This is your brain on drugs). She was also listed as one of Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women in the World" in 2002.
In December 2003, Cook became engaged to actor Daniel Gillies (born on March 14, 1976). Previously, she was linked to actors Vincent Kartheiser (born on May 5, 1979), Shane West (The Hi-Line costar, born on June 10, 1978), Ryan Alosio (born on January 11, 1975) and Boy Meets World star Rider Strong.
Childhood and Family:
Daughter of a former cooking instructor (currently a weaver) mother and a former stand-up comic father (Tom, now a social worker in the public school system), Rachael Leigh Cook was born on October 4, 1979, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Shy girl Rachel has a younger brother, actor Ben Cook (born in 1982). She was a student at Laurel Springs School and Minneapolis South High School, from which she graduated in spring of 1998.
Rachel is a vegetarian and has a tattoo on her left arm. Fan of authors Shirley Jackson, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Franz Kafka, Rachel currently lives in an apartment in L.A. with her dog (a Boxer) and two cats. She spends her free time reading, writing, drawing, playing tennis, roller blading, and shopping for clothes.
"If this whole acting thing doesn't work out, I'll just get a talk show." Rachael Leigh Cook
Having performed in school musicals since age 7, Rachael Leigh Cook became a child model, appearing on the cover of Milk-Bone Dog Biscuits boxes, in Target Stores ads and with 3M products. She first drew nation-wide attention for being featured in a public service anti-drug ad which depicts a frying pan and an egg and states, "This is your brain...This is your brain on drugs." In 1994, she debuted on film in the 17-minute 26 Summer Street (released in 1996).
The Baby-Sitters Club (1995), Lynn Hamrick and Melanie Mayron's family comedy based on Ann M. Martin's popular children's books, was Cook's first motion picture. In the film, she teamed with Schuyler Fisk and Bre Blair to play a group of 13-year-old girls who begin a baby-sitting club. In the same year, she shared the screen with Jonathan Taylor-Thomas and Brad Renfro in Disney's live-action adaptation of Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," the Peter Hewitt's family adventure film Tom and Huck. The role of Becky Thatcher in the film gave her a Best Young Actress nomination at the YoungStar Awards.
Afterward, Cook played roles in Arthur Hiller's family comedy Carpool (1996, with Tom Arnold and David Paymer), Mark Waters's dramatic comedy film, adopted from Wendy MacLeod's play, The House of Yes (1997, starring Parker Posey) and William Bindley's supernatural thriller, written by David Seltzer (The Omen), The Eighteenth Angel (1998, as Christopher McDonald's daughter). Meanwhile, she was also seen in such TV movies as Showtime's courtroom drama The Defenders: Payback (as a withdrawn victim) and the CBS movies True Women and Country Justice (all in 1997).
1998 saw Cook costarring with Kirsten Dunst and Gaby Hoffmann in the comedy Strike, with Michael Rapaport in The Naked Man (both in 1998) and with Holly Hunter in Living Out Loud (1999). Besides joining with Elijah Wood and Janeane Garofalo in the film version of Robert Cormier's novel, Martin Duffy's romantic drama The Bumblebee Flies Anyway (1999), Cook received praise at the Santa Monica Film Festival for playing naive young Vera Johnson in Ron Judkins' The Hi-Line (1999, opposite Ryan Alosio).
Playing a hopelessly geeky girl who turns Prom Queen proved to be Cook's breakout role. Starring opposite Freddie Prinze Jr. in Robert Iscove's teen romantic comedy She's All That (1999) nabbed Cook several awards, including a Kids' Choice Awards, Blockbuster Award, YoungStar Award and a Teen Choice Award. After establishing her own production company called Ben's Sister Productions, Cook then played a recurring role in the teen series "Dawson's Creek."
"Very few things make you laugh out loud when you're by yourself. But when I read the script, I was laughing my head off in the middle of the night all alone," she recalls. "I just wanted to grab someone and say, 'this is really funny! I want to do this!' " Rachael Leigh Cook (on her role in She's All That).
Following her victory, Cook landed roles in the 2000 films Sally and Get Carter (as a troubled teenaged girl, with Sylvester Stallone) as well as the 2001 films Blow Dry and Antitrust (as a computer programmer). She also starred with Tara Reid and Rosario Dawson in Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan's version of the cartoon series Josie and the Pussycats (2001). She then became a frontier girl in Steve Miner's western film based on George Durham's book, Texas Rangers (alongside Ashton Kutcher) and became a young woman involved in a love triangle in Jay Lowi's thriller Tangled (she also co-produced, both in 2001, costarring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Shawn Hatosy).
"I'd love to do a sequel. Even if it was 'Ernest Goes to Mars 3'- if these girls were in it, I'd do it in a minute." Rachael Leigh Cook (referring to the film Josie and the Pussycats).
Cook added to her acting resume the 2002 film 29 Palms and the 2003 films Tempo, 11:14, The Big Empty, Bookies, and Scorched. Recently, she starred in the UK/Canadian romantic comedy My First Wedding and portrayed Dori Lawrence, a wild actress and singer suffering from schizophrenia, in Reverge Anselmo's Stateside (opposite Jonathan Tucker). Currently costarring with Chris O'Donnell and Krista Allen in the newly released comedy series "Head Cases," Cook is also busy filming her upcoming miniseries, the western "Into the West."
"I look forward to all kinds of roles...playing more adult parts, preferably ones written for people over 16 years of age." Rachael Leigh Cook
Young Hollywood: Superstar of Tomorrow - Female, 2001
Kids' Choice: Favorite Movie Couple, She's All That, 2000
Santa Monica Film Festival: Moxie! Award, The Hi-Line, 2000
Blockbuster Awards: Favorite Actress (Newcomer), She's All That, 2000
Teen Choice: Film - Sexiest Love Scene, She's All That, 1999, shared with Freddie Prinze Jr.
YoungStar Awards: Best Young Actress, She's All That, 1999