Still sticking it to the man after all this time
Jack Black looked like a kid on the first day of school when he walked into the Austin photography studio where the cast of Richard Linklater’s triumphant crowd-pleaser The School of Rock gathered for the 10th-anniversary EW Reunions shoot. ”I’m so nervous!” he admits. ”I’m looking around to see who’s grown up that I don’t recognize.”
Except for Miranda Cosgrove, who played grade-grubbing band manager Summer Hathaway (and whom Black later joined for an episode of her hit Nickelodeon series iCarly), the actor hadn’t kept in touch with anybody from the classroom. ”We kicked a lot of butt back in the day,” says Black. ”So I kept on worrying, ‘Are they going to be mad at me for not reaching out and being a better friend?’ But it would have been weird, too, right? ‘Hey, it’s Jack. I’m in town. What are you guys doing? Wanna grab a beer? Oh yeah, you’re too young for a beer. Let’s hang out, though!”’
But then the greetings began, and the old gang fell right back together. Black shared high fives with guitarist Joey Gaydos Jr. and drummer Kevin Alexander Clark, as well as a sweet and awkward hug with the ”I’m not cool” keyboardist Robert Tsai. ”It’s great,” says Black. ”Everyone’s personalities are still all there. This is a lot of joy.” When the movie shot in New York in 2002, the cast of kids ranged in age from 9 to 13. (Mike White, who penned the School of Rock script and played Black’s roommate, Ned, joked later that the best part of working with kids was that ”10-year-olds won’t f— with my vision. You just tell them exactly what you want them to do.”) Seeing the cast as adults, says Linklater, was a little jarring: ”I’m looking at them and going, ‘Whoa! Ten years makes a difference.’ Not much difference in my life. But a lot in [theirs].”
As the shoot got under way, Black balked when he saw that Cosgrove and Tsai were smiling for the camera. ”Come on, you guys, no smiling in rock & roll,” he bellows, his voice full of affectionate bluster. ”We’re here to kick some ass!”
Miranda Cosgrove — Summer [Band manager]
On-set crush ”When I was on the movie I didn’t like boys at all. But after the movie came out all my girlfriends said Kevin [Alexander Clark] was so cute, and I realized they were right,” says Cosgrove. ”Damn, missed my chance.”
Paycheck splurge ”I did get a Fender Telecaster pink paisley guitar. All the kids on the movie played instruments, and after the movie I wanted to play too. So I started taking guitar lessons.”
Best fringe benefit ”We got to travel around and do a lot of press for the movie,” says Cosgrove, who was 10 when the film was released. ”When I was little I thought the red carpet was awesome.”
Life after Rock The L.A.-born-and-raised Cosgrove went on to appear on the Nickelodeon series Drake & Josh before landing the lead role on iCarly. She was listed as the ”Highest Paid Child Actress” in the 2012 Guinness Book of World Records.
What she’s doing now Cosgrove, who’s a sophomore majoring in film at USC, is also attached to the NBC pilot Girlfriend in a Coma, based on Douglas Coupland’s book.
Kevin Alexander Clark — Freddy [Drummer]
Favorite Jack Black memory ”For my eighth-grade social-studies class I had to interview somebody I admired. So I asked Jack, ‘Hey, can we do an interview?’ and he was like, ‘Yeah, come by my trailer.’ So I go in there and he’s playing Xbox BMX XXX and I sat there and he gave me a classic interview. He’s my hero.”
Paycheck splurge ”I bought a computer and a thousand dollars’ worth of cymbals for my drums.”
Best fringe benefit ”I got to jam with Jack Black. I knew Tenacious D, I listened to the band while skateboarding to school. When I got to the set I asked him if we could jam ‘Kielbasa Sausage’ and he turned to me bright red and said, ‘Oh my God, you know that song?!”’
Life after Rock ”Early on, a famous casting agent in New York told me, ‘If your heart isn’t in [acting], just get out now.’ It took me two years of auditioning to figure out, ‘You know what? It was great being so lucky to do The School of Rock, but music is what I want to do.”’
What he’s doing now The Chicago-based musician plays drums for a variety of bands.
Robert Tsai Lawrence — [Keyboardist]
Favorite Jack Black memory ”Some of the classroom scenes were so funny that I would burst out laughing and we’d have to start over.”
Paycheck splurge ”I didn’t think much about that. My parents dealt with the money. It might be in a special account.”
Best fringe benefit ”The last time I saw the movie was five years ago. I was helping out an after-school program at a family friend’s church, and I was asked to show the movie to the kids. That was pretty cool.”
Life after Rock ”I went back to the seventh grade. I’m shy, and so I decided not to do any more movies. I did keep playing piano through high school.”
What he’s doing now Tsai graduated from Dartmouth with a degree in government last year and is considering going to graduate school.
Joey Gaydos Jr. — Zack [Guitarist]
Favorite Jack Black memory ”It was just cool playing guitar with him. We would just jam, whether it was to an AC/DC song or him just rattling off some funny lyrics to his own tunes.”
Paycheck splurge ”My parents had 10 acres of land at our house in Michigan,” says Gaydos, ”so I built a little recording studio on the premises.”
Best fringe benefit ”I meet so many little kids that started playing guitar because of the film — that makes me overjoyed.”
Life after Rock ”Right after the movie I thought about moving to L.A. I did a two-week pilot season and got offered a couple of Fox deals. The one I remember was for the show Method & Red, that was the first one they pitched me. But I turned them down. I just wanted to go home and play the guitar.”
What he’s doing now Gaydos plays guitar in his Detroit-based rock band, Stereo Jane.
Rebecca Brown — Katie [Cellist-turned-bassist]
On-set crush ”Angelo [Massagli, who played ”Tough Guy” Frankie, band security] was the first boy I ever looked at and was like, ‘I like you.’ He was the first boy I ever held hands with. That only happened twice. We went on dates with our moms to, like, Times Square and Rockefeller Plaza. Our moms would stand 10 feet behind us and just watch us stand awkwardly close to each other.”
Paycheck splurge ”I still have my entire paycheck. I’m saving it for a house or a car.”
Best fringe benefit ”I got so many letters and messages and people coming up to me saying, ‘You inspired me, or my sister, or my daughter to start playing bass.”’
Life after Rock ”I flirted with the idea of staying in L.A. I was auditioning for Disney and Nickelodeon shows. I was in the running for Hannah Montana and was really, really glad I didn’t get it. I wanted to go to high school and have a normal experience.”
What she’s doing now The University of Illinois at Chicago senior, who’s majoring in acting, says her dream job is SNL.
Aleisha Allen — Alicia [Backup singer]
On-set crush ”I know [who had] one on me: Cole [Hawkins, who played ”Short Stop” Leonard, band security], but he was like my brother. He gave me my first MAC lip gloss — and I was 11. It was the color Curve and I still use it now, ever since.”
Paycheck splurge ”I put my money in the bank for school.”
Life after Rock ”In between school, I filmed the Ice Cube movies Are We There Yet? and Are We Done Yet?”
What she’s doing now Allen graduated from Pace University, where she majored in speech pathology and minored in education, this year. She’s still actively auditioning in New York.
Maryam Hassan — Tomika [Backup singer]
On-set crush ”On Valentine’s Day, Kevin gave me a card. I was like, ‘Ooooooh!’”
Paycheck splurge ”My mother and I moved into a new apartment. And when we were in Paris on the promotional tour I went to a flea market and bought myself a fur coat.”
Best fringe benefit ”It broadened my music selection 1,000 times over. I had never really even heard of AC/DC or Ozzy Osbourne before.”
Life after Rock ”I went to the movie premieres. I went to the MTV Movie Awards and met Omarion and Bow Wow. I was 10, so I was like, ‘Oh my God, is this a dream?’ Then for a while it was audition after audition after audition. But I just wanted to be a kid, so I stopped.”
What she’s doing now Hassan continues to sing, and works as a makeup girl at MAC Cosmetics in New York. She hopes to launch her “urban meets high fashion” clothing line in 2014.
Caitlin Hale — Marta [Backup singer]
On-set crush ”Joey and I were valentines. He asked me on the classroom set to be his valentine.”
Paycheck splurge ”It’s all in the bank.”
Best fringe benefit ”Every internship or job I’ve ever gotten is because of the movie. In interviews when they see The School of Rock on my résumé it’s always the first thing we talk about.”
Life after Rock ”My big thing was I wanted to finish school.”
What she’s doing now Hale graduated from Arizona State with a degree in journalism and public relations this year. She wants to start acting again: ”If you know of a good agent, let me know!”