Gabrielle Union sprang to the big screen with small roles in popular teen movies. You couldn’t miss her in She’s All That, the Freddie Prinze Jr. classic. Little did Union know one of her pivotal roles is partially thanks to a very famous director.
On The Come Up
She’s All That was a breakthrough moment in the careers of so many up-and-coming actors. Kieran Culkin, Matthew Lillard, Anna Paquin, and Dulé Hill all got a career boost from the film. Usher and Lil’ Kim also popped up alongside Union in her feature film debut.
The 1999 film helped launch Union into the stratosphere. Her first four feature films rival just about anyone’s: She’s All That and 10 Thing I Hate About You in 1999, followed by Love & Basketball and Bring It On in 2000. These roles paid off in a recurring spot on City of Angels and her first lead role in 2004’s Deliver Us from Eva.
Perhaps the most visible legacy of She’s All That came not in the film but on its soundtrack. Sixpence None The Richer saw their 1997 ballad “Kiss Me” climb back onto the charts thanks to its spot on the film’s soundtrack.
Gabrielle Union Had No Idea
So who were the powerbrokers responsible for She’s All That? Director Robert Iscove worked on a script written by R. Lee Fleming Jr. Fleming had some help from visionary director M. Night Shymalan. In a now viral tweet, Union writes, “I was IN this movie and had no idea.”
Debate ranges as to just how much involvement Shyamalan had in the writing of the film. In a 2002 interview, Shyamalan confirmed he punched up the script. Director Iscove confirmed this on the DVD commentary. Years later, Shyamalan claimed he had actually ghostwritten the whole movie. The truth may lie somewhere in the middle.
Jack Lechner, head of development for Miramax when She’s All That was released, told EW: “He did a solid rewrite… He made it deeper, made the characters richer…I can see how Fleming would say it’s his movie, and I can see why M. Night would say it’s his movie. They’re both right.”
The Best Was Yet To Come
No matter how you slice it, She’s All That proved to be a footnote in both Shyamalan and Union’s careers. He directed and wrote The Sixth Sense shortly after working on the teen drama, and Union’s career as an actress and entrepreneur speaks for itself.