Child stars always find themselves at the center of “where are they now?” spotlights and deep dives. So many people expect child stars to come from overbearing parents; maybe they even expect them to develop substance abuse problems in adulthood. People often expect them to sink, rather than swim. The kids from School of Rock are not your average child stars!
Many of the performers from this legendary music movie had never appeared on screen before, and many would never return to the silver screen after this production. Nonetheless, their experiences on set and their professional journeys never cease to amaze their fans. Here are some behind-the-scenes stories from the set of School of Rock, and where some of the stars are today!
Miranda Cosgrove was certainly one of the more successful child stars who came from this movie. Even after taking breaks from the spotlight, actress Miranda Cosgrove still remains prominent to this day. Just months after wrapping School of Rock, she landed one of her biggest roles yet.
Cosgrove played Megan Parker on Drake & Josh, a Nickelodeon buddy sitcom from 2004 to 2007. Afterwards, she appeared in the movie Yours, Mine, & Ours alongside Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo. She also played a brief role on Grounded for Life around the same time. She’s worked a lot, including a starring role in her own show, iCarly, which ran from 2007 until 2012 (with a 2021 reboot).
Sometimes the biggest rockstars come in the tiniest of packages. That’s not calling musician Joey Gaydos Jr. “tiny” per se, but he was definitely a growing boy when he appeared in this production. He didn’t really have any intentions of getting on screen, but drew attention based on his amazing musical abilities.
After filming School of Rock, the musician did not appear in any other movies. He’s only got one credit on IMDB to this day, meaning that he didn’t even try to venture into the world of film entertainment after finishing this project. Unfortunately, some things went south for him…
Gaydos Jr. took a dark turn in his later teen years and early adulthood. Beyond performing with the band Stereo Jane, he took a sharp turn downhill. He managed to stay out of headlines for a while, but unfortunately found himself in the spotlight back in 2019 when he was arrested.
Gaydos Jr. was arrested on theft and shoplifting charges in Florida, after multiple accounts of stealing guitars worth more than $2,500 in value. That’s a lot of cheddar! He allegedly told his arresting officer, “I need to be arrested. I stole the guitar.” He blamed his drug addiction for his theft.
This guy was a total champ. Musician Robert Tsai started his film career as a pianist-turned-keyboardist in this musical movie. Tsai stole the show as Lawrence, whom his teacher (played by Black) gave the instant nickname, “Mr. Cool,” which truly suited him well. What a name!
Tsai’s character went from a total loner to stealing the show. He made his debut on the silver screen in this role, and seemingly wrapped his acting career after the movie swept theaters. He only stepped in front of the camera one more time, as part of the dance group “Instant Noodle Crew.”
Tsai decided he was done with acting after School of Rock hit theaters, and decided to take a step back, focusing on his music. After taking the stage with the dance troupe “Instant Noodle Crew,” he continued to shake his fans with his crafty keyboarding abilities.
This former child star went on to play concerts while he was studying at the prestigious Ivy League school, Dartmouth College. He also worked on various musical productions throughout the years. Seems like he’s doing what works best for him – that’s all anyone could ask for!
Actress Caitlin Hale was one of the few from this production who had on-screen credits prior to her performance in School of Rock. She came to star in this movie after a couple of appearances on the famous children’s show Blue’s Clues and had appeared in various dance and local theater productions.
Hale played little Marta, deemed “Blondie” by her teacher. She became a backup singer for the class band after a quick and impromptu classroom audition. She loved to sing and wanted to have a bigger part in the band, following in the footsteps of her character’s favorite musician: Christina Aguilera.
This actress managed to stay relevant after striking it big in School of Rock. She appeared in a few commercials after and went on to earn a journalism degree in 2013 from Arizona State University. She’s currently working as a publicist in Scottsdale, Arizona, though she still continues to act.
In recent years, she had been set to return in the animated series Max & Wrigley. She also went on to star in the horror film Grimmerson Manor. She worked as a script consultant on a short film entitled Typecast. She then made a huge switch into the medical field in New York!
When someone has some extra meat on their bones, many people automatically assume that the person is tough. This was no different in School of Rock, when Massagli played tough-guy Frankie in the film. Frankie was one of the band’s designated security guards!
Massagli did not get his acting start on School of Rock,. He got his start in acting on another show, where he played the character Bobby Jr. on The Sopranos, one of the most well-known television shows in today’s day and age. This guy was clearly going places!
After his role in School of Rock, Massagli veered away from the world of acting. Just a year before this movie came out, he appeared in the sequel to Stuart Little – namely, Stuart Little 2. He moved away from acting and went on to become incredibly successful outside of performing on screen.
Massagli went on to attend and graduate from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, before attending law school at the University of Miami. He was admitted to the New York State Bar as an attorney and has been working as a content protection manager at Sony Music Entertainment.
Thanks to social media sleuths, the world learned through a superfan on TikTok that Angelo Massagli and Caitlin Hale, known for their roles as Frankie and Marta, are in a relationship! It doesn’t seem to be ending soon, by all accounts – they’re pretty cute together!
After the initial TikTok was released, another fan dove further into this as well. “NO WAIT HOLD UP…. FRANKIE AND MARTA FROM SCHOOL OF ROCK ARE A COUPLE!!!!!! IM NOT OK,” the superfan proclaimed via Twitter. Nearly two decades after the movie was released, Mr. Schneebly’s class seems fully intact!
Back in the day, Kevin Clark was a child star. He had clear musical abilities and was destined to be a star! Clark played Freddy Jones, an outspoken and slightly obnoxious kid who sat at the back of the classroom. This was his first and only film role.
Clark joined his former costars from School of Rock on Broadway years later. He continued to play drums throughout his adult life, and was even an expert drummer, playing with a band local to Chicago called Robbie Gold. Though he appeared to be happy as could be, his life would be end far too soon.
In early 2021, musician Kevin Clark was tragically killed in an accident while he was out riding his bike. Police stated that he was struck by a Hyundai Sonata while he was riding his bike through the Northwest side of the city, during the early morning hours.
Clark died far too young – he was only 32 years old at the time. The accident was so unexpected (clearly!) that he had just played a show with one of his latest bands, Jess Bess and the Intentions, in their first live performance that Saturday. He was honored in a series of Instagram posts by his former costars.
Singer Maryam Hassan played Tamika, a self-conscious student with the voice of an angel. Before Jack Black’s character got to know his students, he randomly assigned them to roles he felt they were best suited for – based on looks, to some extent – leading Tamika to stand up and take what she really wanted.
Even all these years later, her performance is remembered by fans across the board. She had a memorable scene with Black’s character, talking about her weight-related self-consciousness. She told her teacher, Mr. Schneebly, that she was worried everyone would laugh at her because of her size, but he told her that she had so much talent that she just needed to own it.
Hassan has come up in the news recently, because that famous aforementioned scene recently went viral on social media. The singer opened up about how she was thankful to have taken part in such a memorable and important scene. She’s also done far more than just going viral!
Back in 2013, Hassan joined in a reunion with her costars. She also made an appearance in the 2015 Broadway production of the film! She stayed out of the spotlight for a while but pursuing a career in music doesn’t allow for much privacy. Now, she writes and performs music under the name Mayhrenate.
Though she went by the name Rebecca Brown while starring as a cellist-turned-bassist in this epic musical film, she recently has been going by the name Rivkah Reyes. Rivkah is Rebecca in Hebrew, and she recently took to Twitter to announce the adoption of a new name that honored her heritage as a Filipina Jewish woman.
Reyes played Katie, known for playing the cello in her class orchestra. After her teacher noticed that she was playing the cello, he convinced her that bass was her best next instrument because it was basically a cello on its side. One of the most iconic lines from the movie was directed at her – “it’s the exact same thing… except you flip it on the side, and CELLO! You’ve got a base!”
Reyes changed her name and went on to appear in other projects, giving this Chicago native a few more screen credits beyond School of Rock. Back when the movie was coming out in 2003, she appeared as the musical guest for The Tonight Show With Jay Leno!
She only recently changed her name to Rivkah Reyes, with most of her recent credits still appearing under that name. After School of Rock, she waited almost a decade before appearing in some other films and shorts, including appearances on Easy, Cool Nerds, Action Nat and the Cat, and Monuments.
This little, colorful bundle of joy put smiles across the faces of fans of this legendary movie. Aleisha Allen was a child star who was known for appearing in the class as a standout singer and nailing her prestigious classroom audition. She played a backup singer, flying high with her “oooh-la-la-la’s” stealing our hearts.
This wasn’t Allen’s first role in entertainment; she had already made a name for herself. She voiced the Side Table Drawer character on Blue’s Clues, a children’s cartoon in over 100 episodes! She also appeared in the 1999 film The Best Man.
Aleisha Allen continued to appear in Blue’s Clues through 2004. The next year, she returned to the silver screen playing Lindsey in Are We There Yet? She also reprised the role in the sequel, Are We Done Yet? She likely loved starring alongside Ice Cube – he seems entertaining, but nothing compared to Jack Black!
She’s had some other significant roles, though none as important or memorable as her School of Rock performance. She appeared in an episode of The Electric Company in 2010 and lent her voice to an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba! back in 2015. She also had a minor role in the comedy Young Adult.
Actor Brian Falduto played Billy, who was immediately given the name “fancy pants” when Dewey Finn handed his class their roles. He was best known for delivering an incredible line that would be remembered for years on end: “You’re tacky and I hate you.” What a line!
Initially, his character was designated as security for the band, but Billy knew that wasn’t the right call for him! He asked to be the band’s stylist instead, planning some pretty great outfits for his classmates to perform in. Plus, this kid was chock-full of awesome one-liners.
Other than appearing as Billy in School of Rock, he hasn’t really appeared in any other projects since. He did appear as a waiter in the short film Dosed and is currently in pre-production for a series called Fishing. He’s currently working as a life coach and working to help the LGBTQ+ community.
He set up The Gay Life Coach Podcast in 2020. Just two years earlier, he posted a photo to show that he and his costars still kept in touch regularly. “What other major motion picture can say they still have a thriving group text #15years later?” he wrote in his caption.
Actor Zachary Infante played Gordon, one of the masterminds behind the scenes of their class production. He worked with his small team to bring their stage to life. He arranged lighting, making sure that audiences had the best visual performance they could ever have. He was instrumental in School of Rock’s success!
His character Gordon shocked his classmates with his incredible design skills. He designed the logo for their band, that would be projected on stage with his classmates performing. He was an important pillar in their class journey toward becoming rockstars! His production was super helpful in the band’s success.
Infante’s acting credits didn’t end with School of Rock, fortunately. He went on to have other roles in big productions, namely in the TV series Gotham back in 2015. Recently, Infante decided to give back to his hometown, running for local office in Roselle Park, New Jersey.
Infante ran to be elected to his hometown Board of Education, giving back in the best way he could think of. “We’re facing an unprecedented health crisis in our community, and I’m committed to the mental and physical health of our students first and foremost,” he wrote on his campaign website.
Two of the child bandmates auditioned for the movie together, after each had their individual audition. Musicians Joey Gaydos Jr. and Kevin Alexander Clark auditioned separately, but the casting team and producers saw that each boy brought something unique to the table, so they wanted to see what amazing things they could do together.
This dynamic musical duo, who play Zack the guitarist, and Freddy the drummer, impressed the producers so much that they decided to ask them to come in and audition together. They had the two young musicians play a song together and luckily, it all worked out in their favor! These two helped make the band what it was meant to be.
Years after the film came out, one of the only adult stars from this outstanding production opened up about the scene he was proudest to be part of. He reflected on the scene discussing weight issues with one of his student bandmates, Tomika. Even though the movie was released in 2003, this scene became relevant again today after going viral on Twitter.
This cult classic introduced Jack Black’s character Dewey Finn to a group of talented young musicians, who all had changing bodies and things they didn’t like about themselves. He had an insightful heart-to-heart with his student, sending a message to kids of all shapes and sizes that they are perfect just the way they are.
This quintessential scene came as the result of Tomika, played by singer Maryam Hassan, getting stage fright and blaming her weight on her fear of performing. She was worried that people would laugh at her because “[she] was fat,” to which Black’s character had the best possible response.
“Tomika … you’ve got something everybody wants. You’ve got talent, girl,” Black’s character tells her in this crucial scene. “You have an incredible voice, and I’m not just saying that. You heard of Aretha Franklin, right? She’s a big lady. But when she starts singing, she blows people’s minds. Everybody wants to party with Aretha!” He wasn’t done there…
This was a scene that was key for teacher Dewey Finn to earning the trust and confidence he needed from his student band members. He continued, “And you know who else has a weight issue? … Me. But once I get up onstage, start doing my thing, people worship me. Because I’m sexy! And chubby, man.”
Here’s the kicker that made fans swoon and what probably resonated most with rocker Dewey Finn and really any other person out there. When Tomika asked him why he wasn’t “on a diet,” his response was natural and simple: “Because I like to eat. Is that such a crime?” Right on – eat up!
Actor-musician Robert Tsai, who played the piano legend Lawrence in the film, was known for having a straight face and not being very vocal on set. Throughout the film, he was particularly quiet, and putting him as a primary band member was shocking to some.
Well, not only did he blow our minds with his amazing piano and keyboard skills, but he prolonged filming because he couldn’t stop laughing! I know I couldn’t picture it, especially because he kept a pretty blank face throughout the film. He couldn’t stop laughing because Jack Black kept ad-libbing, so Tsai couldn’t stop laughing!
When director Richard Linklater was casting his roles, he needed more than just actors. He wanted authenticity, and that had to start at the root of it all: the musicians. In order to have the best production possible, Linklater wanted to make sure that the stars of his film could really play.
By Jack Black’s account of his time on set, each one of the kids was basically a prodigy. Although fans might have thought these young stars were just acting, they all played their own music,. Don’t be fooled! These kids were multi-talented and could hold their talents to a higher standard!
That’s right – most of the songs that were played by these young musicians were written by Jack Black and his team of noble students. Black admitted that the process of writing these songs was a bit daunting, but it seems like things worked out pretty well for them. Don’t you think?
Black and the rest of his band admitted that many of the songs were written on the fly. Many were completely ad-libbed by Black and the kids. This shows true talent across many different artistic mediums, and also proves that improvisation can be a great tool for musicians and comedians alike!
Actress and singer Miranda Cosgrove found success in her role as Summer Hathaway, the know-it-all of the class who always felt the need to assert herself as the best of the group. She wanted to be in charge, and she had the opportunity to shine as the band’s manager.
Summer was actually intended to be a completely different kind of character, far from the prissy and perfect image we constantly saw from her on screen. She was initially written to be more of a Britney Spears-type (FREE BRITNEY!) and was supposed to be a wonderful singer. Instead, they had a change of plans!
Miranda Cosgrove has released several hit songs in her short time on earth. She’s clearly got some natural talent, which seemed to be problematic in the scope of training this character. Seriously, the young actress had to be taught how to sing poorly! Who would have thought?
Cosgrove had to work with a vocal coach to learn how to accurately botch every note needed. She received top-notch musical training but for singing poorly. I guess there really is a first time for everything!
This legendary production was filmed in the New York City area, specifically at a college on Staten Island, in some parts of Brooklyn, as well as parts of northern New Jersey. The infamous failed stage dive that Black does at the beginning of the movie was filmed at Northsix, 66 North 6th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – which now continues its legacy with the Music Hall of Williamsburg in its place.
The school the kids attended was set in a few different filming locations. The exteriors of the school were filmed at Wagner College, a college on Staten Island. The interior scenes at the school were filmed at an elite Long Island private school, Buckley Country Day School in Roslyn, New York.
While some actors and actresses came into this project having already established their careers, others gained popularity and general acting experience through this project. Many appeared with their own musical talents showcased throughout the production, while others not so much.
Some stars had an easier go of things than others; some launched successful careers in entertainment; some studied hard and earned multiple degrees. Others had run-ins with the law and developed substance abuse problems. Everyone had a different path, so let’s see just how these stars (both child and adult) have fared!
Miranda Cosgrove played the token know-it-all of the class. The actress behind the role had a lengthy and successful career after the film, but she didn’t get her start that way! She was only 10 years old when she filmed this project, but it wasn’t her first and definitely wasn’t her last.
Before picking up one of her first roles in School of Rock, Cosgrove got her start with a small appearance in a 2001 episode of Smallville. Within the year, she was taking the School of Rock set by storm, becoming one of the most memorable characters from this iconic movie.
In addition to a cast of student band members that all held their own unique talents, School of Rock had quite a few A-listers appear in the movie. From comedians to serious actors, this film had no shortage of talent to go around. They had a series of significant faces that likely brought necessary attention to the project.
Joan Cusack, Jack Black, Sarah Silverman are just a few of the adults from this film who were well-established before this movie, and their careers only went up from there. Some writers even had these actors in mind for a project before they even had an idea for the script!
Sarah Silverman is one of the most well-known female comedians today. She’s had many guest appearances on shows like Monk, Frasier, and Entourage, and has been tapped as a celebrity roaster on some of Comedy Central’s famous roasts. She also had her own show, The Sarah Silverman Program, for a short period of time.
She earned an Emmy nomination for the show, even though it didn’t last long. She’s been lending her voice to the animated series Bob’s Burgers, and voiced Vanellope von Schweetz in the Wreck-it-Ralph films. She’s had multiple successful stand-up specials and has made many cameos over the years. She’s making us laugh however she can!
Many people forget that one of Jack Black’s breakout roles was as Dewy Finn in School of Rock. One of the writers even wrote the part for him specifically! He’s joked it was one of the most demanding projects he’s worked on to date, mostly because he had to work with kids.
When he’s not putting on silly performances with his musical duo Tenacious D, he’s putting on his best performance for several family-friendly flicks like Goosebumps, Gulliver’s Travels, and Nacho Libre. He’s got a long repertoire and will keep working as long as he wants to – but in the meantime, he’s making us all giggle on TikTok!
Renowned actress Joan Cusack was already a star from her appearances in films like Say Anything. She played the ultra-strict principal of Horace Green and honestly, could have convinced me that she was a real school administrator.
She went on to have prominent roles in films like Ice Princess, Friends With Money, Confessions of a Shopaholic, My Sister’s Keeper, and Raising Helen. She also lent her voice to movies like Mars Needs Moms, Chicken Little, and as Jessie the Cowgirl in the Toy Story Franchise!
Mike White was actually the screenwriter behind School of Rock! After playing his role as the substitute teacher who was duped out of his position without his knowledge, he continued to write screenplays and produce projects that would become huge successes. That’s so much more than he probably anticipated!
He’s used to being behind the camera and went on to write and produce the shows Cracking Up and Enlightened. He also produced Magic Mike, Nacho Libre, and The D Train. Some of his screenplays that were picked up included Beatriz at Dinner, The Emoji Movie, and Pitch Perfect 3!