Many are excited to see Miranda Cosgrove’s return to iCarly for the upcoming Paramount+ revival series, which she also executive produces. I don’t blame them; there was a time where Cosgrove—who gained fame in two Nickelodeon series—Drake & Josh and iCarly, which she starred in—was the highest-paid child actor in the game. She was everywhere, but took a noticeable time out of the limelight, emerging just recently in Mikey Alfred’s North Hollywood.
North Hollywood, which is currently sitting at No. 2 on the iTunes chart(!), is based on Alfred’s real-life story, which meant that this tale was going to be drenched in skateboarding sequences, pristine needle drops, and Mikey’s overall sense of style. Cosgrove is no skater, telling Complex that she is “very uncoordinated, like painfully uncoordinated,” but what she does for North Hollywood is, she helps add a heart to the film. It’s an interesting choice for Cosgrove, and one that helps this film appeal to audiences who may know next to nothing about skating.
During a phone conversation with Cosgrove, the actress takes us through her journey through North Hollywood, why her movie output hasn’t matched her TV work, and what it’s like returning to iCarly for the new revival series.
I’ve been following North Hollywood since last year, and I was always intrigued to see that you were a part of the cast. What was it about this film and/or the character of Rachel that made you want to be a part of it?
I met this guy Yusef [Chabayta, North Hollywood producer] who’s friends with Mikey. I had done a music video with him, like a year before I read the script for North Hollywood. I guess he kind of put in a good word with Mikey, and Mikey, he’d worked with me. So I just met up with Mikey and we had lunch one day. I read the script the day before. I just really love the story, and I didn’t know that it was Mikey’s story, that it was based so much on his experiences, until I met him.
We just kind of sat there, and he told me all about how much the script reflected his own childhood, his life, and everything he’d gone through, and I was really excited to be a part of it. It was really cool because I don’t know anything about the skateboarding community, but my whole life, anytime I’ve seen anyone skateboarding, or even if I’m driving my car, I see someone skateboarding down the street. It makes me feel like, “Oh, I wish I was doing that.” It just seems fun and it just makes me happy, so I thought it’d be a fun thing to be a part of.
You’re on a set where it’s nothing but skaters. There’s a lot of skating that happens in the film. Did you hop on a skateboard at all during the production?
I didn’t. I am very uncoordinated, like painfully uncoordinated, which might also have drawn me to this even more. Just because so many times I’ve seen people skateboarding and wished I could do it. So it was sort of like, I got a free pass to hang out with all these fun people that skateboard all the time without being a real skateboarder. It was just really fun to get to know everybody, and it’s such a community. You can tell how tight all those people really are and that they go skating together all the time, it’s just part of their lives. So it was just fun to get to be a part of that for a summer.
Have the Illegal Civ kids been showing in your mentions?
Yeah, actually. I [recently] did kind of like a live chat with Mikey, Ryder, and Aramis. I know that Illegal Civ is really big and I’ve seen it online a lot, but to actually meet people—the whole point was during the live chat, we actually talked with a different person every couple of minutes. So it was like all the Illegal Civ fans and they were talking about how they followed Mikey for so many years. One guy came on and he had merch, that was like a limited-edition T-shirt that Mikey said there were like three of them, and this guy had one. It was just fun getting to meet all these people. He really has some dedicated fans.
Are there moments or scenes from North Hollywood that really stand out to you?
I would say, it’s a really quick moment in the movie, but we all jumped into this lake. It’s in a little montage moment, it’s just us doing all different, fun things. But that day was really fun. I feel like we all just got really close that day because there was a sign up that said like, “Flesh-eating parasites, don’t get in the lake,” or something weird. And we were all freaking out at first, not wanting to jump in. I think they put these signs up, [because] they just don’t like for people to jump in this random lake. But we got cleared for the movie to do it. So it was just funny because at first when we found out, we were all freaking out together, and then we all ended up just swimming around in this lake for like an hour. I had a really good time that day. We were really just all hanging out and having fun, even though it’s only like, four seconds in the movie. That’s a standout of a fun memory.
We hung out until 6 a.m. one night at Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank. And that was a really fun night, because we literally just were shooting scenes in Bob’s Big Boy until the sun came up, and we all got to hang out, we got to eat diner food. And I’ve gone to Bob’s Big Boy because I’m from LA, I’ve gone there all throughout my life. So that was a fun experience.
Looking at your IMDb, you’ve done film work before, but there’s a lot more TV work you’ve done. What is it about film? You make interesting choices. North Hollywood is an interesting choice for you. Are you a little trepidatious when it’s time to think about working on a film or is it just more special? What’s your process with that stuff?
It’s definitely not my comfort zone, since I’ve done sitcoms ever since I was little. I love doing comedy, and that’s really my main thing. But I was really excited to do this, just because I’ve never played a character like Rachel before, and I knew it was going to be a good time after I met Mikey, because he just had such a good vibe and I loved the script. I love that it’s based on his true story. I think that I always loved stories like that, just personally I always kind of gravitate towards those kinds of stories.
I’m always up for a new experience. Trying something new, I think, is good for everybody in life. I’m really happy I did it, because I just ended up making a lot of friends and having a really good experience.
When you talk about North Hollywood, you have to talk about the fact that it took a bit for the film to even make it to the stage of being able to hit VOD. Did you keep up with a lot of that?
Yeah, I was a bit, but really I have so much respect for Mikey, because he had a vision for the movie and he really stuck with that and stayed true to himself. I feel like so much of it is just because he wanted to make this movie, and he wanted people to see this story. I think he’s just a really positive person, and when you’re around him, it makes you want to try things you’ve never tried before. It inspires you, and I think that’s really cool.
He always says that the main reason he wanted this movie to get out is because he wants young people that see it to know that they don’t have to give up on their dreams. They can go for it. And if you believe in yourself, that’s all that really counts. And it’s funny, because even in the process of trying to get the movie out, I feel like he had to really believe in himself and he had to not give up on it. It’s the message of the movie, and also he had to go through that in getting it out. I’m proud of him and that I know him. He’s great.
Are you thinking of getting into any more films, or are you really focused on the revival and what you’ve got going on now?
We're going to be finished in like a month and a half just filming this season of the revival. I’ve been having a really good time kind of revisiting that, just because I’m hanging out with a lot of my old castmates that I spent so much of my childhood with. I’ve really enjoyed it. But yeah, I’d love to have another experience like North Hollywood in the future, do another independent film and play a character that’s more out of my comfort zone, something I’m not so used to. I think that’s always great too.
How are you feeling right now, coming back into things?
Yeah. I mean, I’m in a whole different position now working on the revival than I was when I was a kid, because I’m actually an executive producer on it. So I’m getting to help edit all the episodes and I get to read all the drafts and the scripts and give notes and everything. That’s just been a whole new thing for me. I’ve never done anything like this before, and it feels really good, going from being a kid on a show and not really having a whole lot of control over what my character did in episodes or anything like that, to now getting to be such a big part of the process. So I’m really happy. I’m happy, and I’m grateful to have that opportunity to do it this way, and kind of revisit that character and just see how it goes. I hope people like it and it just makes people laugh.