Miranda Cosgrove first rose to fame as a precocious 10-year-old on School of Rock, before wowing a generation of tweens on the ahead-of-the-time Nickelodeon show iCarly about a girl with her own web show. Now, Cosgrove is back on Paramount Plus with a rebooted “iCarly” that appeals to both old fans who grew up with the series and new ones.
When Paramount Plus launches in the UK and Ireland, Cosgrove sat down with him diversity to discuss following in Carly’s footsteps, “School of Rock” and how to navigate life as a child actor.
Why did you decide to come back and revisit iCarly?
To be perfectly honest, when I was first asked if I might come back, all the initial conversations about it started a couple of years ago. And I said, “No, we never will.” And I called [original “iCarly” co-stars] Jerry [Trainor] and Nathan [Kress] and they said, “No, we shouldn’t do that.” And then we just kept talking about it. And we came up with the idea that because we’re adults now, and all the people who originally watched the show were kids who grew up and are adults like us now, we were like, ‘Why don’t we do this show for you?” They’re the people who originally loved the show, and they’re really who this is for. So that really gave us a lot of orientation after we realized that we are all on board and want to do this. And after that it started to be really fun because that’s when we came up with ideas and thought we could do things [based on] the things that happen to us in real life and the things we go through as adults. So this new version is really about people in their late 20s navigating life and figuring out what to do.
What was it like following in Carly’s footsteps again after so many years?
it was crazy The first week I came back just to see all the sets – it was really emotional; I looked around and saw Nathan and Jerry but saw them grown up but on the same set we grew up on when we were little. It was just a really crazy experience.
You are also now executive producer of the series. How was it?
It was the scariest thing coming back because I’ve never done anything like this before. But it’s also what’s helped me grow the most and what I’m most proud of… I think the thing we were all worried about was that we didn’t want to let anyone down who loved the original series would like. But when I came back and took on the executive producer role, I was also scared – maybe I wouldn’t be very good at it, I’ve never done it. So it was a huge leap of faith in many ways.
Hilary Duff recently opened up about how the planned “Lizzie McGuire” reboot was put on hold because those in power were reluctant to have Lizzie in more mature situations. Was it a theme that appeals to both younger and more mature audiences in the new iCarly?
It’s a bit of a balancing act, but I’d say it was on the original series on Nickelodeon and it was definitely for kids. And we had a lot of wiggle room because we had to work with Paramount Plus and it’s not a children’s show anymore. So having to do the show for a streaming service for Paramount Plus really gave us a great opportunity to mature it. A family could watch the show together, but we actually had to explore what these characters’ lives would be like as real adults. Because I think it would have been kind of weird if we came back and mainly hosted a kids show now that we’re all grown up. That just wouldn’t have made much sense. I think differently [“Lizzie McGuire”] We were lucky just because of the platform the new version is on.
The series has already been renewed for a second season. How long have you seen yourself as Carly?
I have a feeling we’ll probably know when it’s time [to say goodbye]. It was kind of like that with the original series, we’ve all grown up. I just always knew I really wanted this college experience, and I’d been homeschooling the show for so long that it just felt like the right time. And I feel like we’ve all grown up, we’ve all graduated from high school. And I have a feeling it might be similar this time. Maybe we just feel it and know we’ve told this story as many times as we should.
The original “iCarly” debuted in 2007 before social media really took off. Was it weird looking back and seeing how much technology and social media have changed?
It’s crazy how the internet has totally changed since the original series came out. When [the producers first] When the idea for iCarly came to me, they said, “It’s going to be about a girl who has a web show.” And I was like, “What’s a web show?” I was like, I don’t even know what that is. Because nobody had web shows back then. I think it’s cool that it was ahead of the curve in a way back then, but it’s still fun now because there’s so much to draw from. Back then there wasn’t so much to create as it didn’t exist. But now everyone has a web show or a YouTube channel or Instagram.
Next year is the 20th anniversary of “School Rock,” which still has so much appeal, inspired an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, and so on. Did you ever think people would still be talking about the film two decades later?
I definitely don’t. I was eight or nine when I made the film and I remember getting on a plane for the first time ever. I had to go from New York – I’m from LA – and it was just so many first experiences for me. For the first time in a film and acting. As a child it was an amazing experience. And I think it really stuck with me because Jack Black was so nice and it was really fun. I’m really grateful that this was one of my first experiences in the entertainment business. It was so much fun.
Being a child actor can be a tricky path, but you seem to have navigated it really well. Is there anything you particularly attribute this to?
I think everyone has different experiences with child acting and I know a lot of people see it as if it could be a really negative experience and I feel really lucky it’s been mostly positive. Nothing is perfect, but I feel like my mother helped me a lot because she was always with me – and my father – only my parents were always there. And originally they wanted me to make enough money from acting to go to college. I think all of that helped me keep my feet on the ground. I just felt lucky to have them.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.