She was never Josie Grossie! Drew Barrymore stole hearts from the second she hit the big screen in Never Been Kissed.
The actress played Josie Geller in the 1999 romantic comedy. The aspiring writer posed as a high school student to study teen culture, but things got complicated when the never-been-kissed (hence the title) twentysomething fell for her teacher Sam Coulson (Michael Vartan).
The film had a star-studded cast that included David Arquette (Rob Geller), Molly Shannon (Anita), John C. Reilly (Augustus “Gus” Strauss), Leelee Sobieski (Aldys) and Garry Marshall (Rigfort). Jessica Alba, Octavia Spencer and James Franco also played supporting roles before hitting the big time.
The stars reunited in September 2021 to revisit the movie’s best moments. “There’s a story about the famous scene that very few people know about,” Vartan explained on The Drew Barrymore Show at the time. “I get up to the mound, we embrace and we start kissing, and you really kissed me. I mean, you really kissed me. I was not ready for it in the least and I am a man. I was a very young man back then, and I had feelings.”
The Alias alum added: “The feelings were — they just happened — and I very quickly realized I was in a very bad spot because I was wearing very loose, like, slacks, and I thought, ‘This is going to be a disaster when they cut, I must preemptively end this.’”
Barrymore confirmed that she put extra effort into the kiss. “You weren’t married at the time, so yeah, I went for it because you were single and I felt like I wasn’t going to offend anybody,” she noted.
While fans shipped Josie and Sam, Vartan pointed out a major flaw in their romance. “I don’t know if someone who had a darker disposition at the time, maybe the creep factor would have intensified it a bit,” he told Page Six in April 2019 about being cast in the role. “But if I’m a 30-year-old man and I think this girl is 17, it’s completely inappropriate.”
The actor tried to give his character the benefit of the doubt, though. “I don’t think he lusted for her,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t a physical thing. I mean, obviously she’s beautiful, but I think … he just sort of fell for her as a human being. He’s just really taken by her spirit and her soul and, you know, maybe deep down inside he felt like there’s no way this girl is 17, but on the surface, a teacher hitting on a student of any gender, for that matter, who is underage is completely inappropriate.”
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Scroll through the gallery below to see where the cast of Never Been Kissed ended up!