Josie and The Pussycats cast reunites for 20th Anniversary
Universal’s cult early aughts classic Josie and the Pussycats, inspired by the Archie comics and Hanna-Barbera cartoon of the same name, turns 20 today and to celebrate, stars Rachael Leigh Cook (Love, Guaranteed), Rosario Dawson (The Mandalorian) and Tara Reid (Sharknado) reunited virtually to look back on the film’s legacy! The cast reunion can be viewed in the player below!
“I think it was way ahead of its time. You watch it now and it so resonates with the moment we’re in but at the time I think it was hard for people to really appreciate the satire that it was.” Rosario Dawson, who starred as Valerie, said of the film which is still often quoted to this day: DUJOUR MEANS FAMILY! The quote is even homaged by indie film fashion labels like Super Yaki, which featured hoodies and even ornaments based on it during one of their limited runs.
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Rachael Leigh Cook starred as Josie and was brought in by the film’s directors Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, she reflected on the shoot, “As an experience, [it was] very much women supporting women from day one to this day.”
Co-lead Tara Reid echoed the sentiment as they looked back, “It meant so much to us. When we made this film we had the best time ever. One of our directors was also a woman. So it’s kind of changed. And that was before there was such an influence now but in so many ways I feel like we started this game.”
Upon release, Josie and The Pussycats was compared to Spice World, though cinephiles would later fight to reclaim it as a cult classic. The film shares more DNA with another cult film about the pop music industry: Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise, especially in how it dives into the soul-selling world of subliminal messaging to conform to capitalism over individualism. Mondo released a printing of the Josie and the Pussycats soundtrack on Vinyl that you can pre-order here. Matthew Libatique, the film’s cinematographer, would later work on both Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born and Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey starring Margot Robbie. Josie and the Pussycats may have been a blueprint for Birds of Prey.
Both on-screen and behind the scenes the teamwork of the film really made the film shine as being about young women sticking together even as the fame machine tried to eat them up and chew them out. It was about friendship, and Rosario thinks the film transcends time because of that, “There’s scene after scene after scene that was not about how men were in our lives. It wasn’t about all these other things. It was about us and our dreams and our passions. And seeing these men being being super supportive of these women and wanting to see them shine. And watching them grow in front of you and being amazed by that. It’s just there are so many levels in it that are just really profound looking back on it through the lens of now.”