Friday, June 15, 2018

Drake Hosts Epic 'Degrassi: The Next Generation' Reunion In The Music Video For His Latest Song, 'I'm Sorry'

Drake (Aubrey Graham) gave longtime Degrassi fans the greatest gift with his "I'm Upset" music video on Wednesday night, staging a massive reunion with the original cast of the iconic Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation, which used to air on Nickelodeon USA's The N and TeenNick networks! Check out Drake's "I'm Sorry" music video below!:

From E! News:

How Drake Made That Epic Degrassi Reunion Happen

"There were tears. There was laughter. There was reminiscing."

And you thought your high school reunion was epic. Drake (Aubrey Graham) gave longtime Degrassi fans the greatest gift with his "I'm Upset" music video on Wednesday night, staging a massive reunion with the iconic Canadian teen drama's original cast. Emma, Manny, Spinner, Craig, Paige, Marco...they were all there. Even Rick (Ephraim Ellis), the student who shot Drake's character Jimmy, paralyzing him, was invited.

So how did Drake pull off this massive Degrassi High reunion, filmed on the original set in Toronto, without anyone catching on? Well, it all happened very quickly, according to Shane Kippel (Spinner, Jimmy's BFF), the first cast member contacted about participating in the video, and Miriam McDonald (Emma).

Kippel told E! News it was "two weeks from concept to filming" for the "I'm Upset" video, with the three-day shoot taking place June 8-10, wrapping Sunday around 5 a.m.

Of the cast's interactions in the video, which quickly became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter after its release, Kippel said, "It could not have been more natural. The energy that was caught on camera, nothing of that was played up for effect. That was how we were really feeling being in each other's presence, so I'm happy it translated. How it looked on-camera is exactly how it felt when the cameras stopped rolling."

Both Kippel and McDonald were quick to credit Karena Evans, the video's director (a 22-year-old Toronto native who revealed she grew up watching the show on Instagram), for encouraging the reunited cast to just be themselves and have fun on-camera. Which is exactly what they did.

"[She] did an amazing job of almost under-directing us in a sense. She wanted to capture that nature feeling," McDonald said, noting that it was Cassie Steele's idea to have Emma fuss with Manny's revealing ensemble, a direct nod to the original series (What true fan could forget Manny's thong?!).

The chance to be "a part of this incredible piece of Aubrey's journey" meant a lot to the cast, but so did the opportunity to get the majority of the original cast in the same room together since the series premiered in 2001.

"We have known each other for 17 years," MacDonald said. "The ones who were in season one met 17 years ago. A. That makes me feel old. So these are some solid friendships."

Of course, fans immediately noticed several key players were MIA, including Ryan Cooley (J.T. Yorke) and Daniel Clark (Sean Cameron).

Both Kippel and McDonald weren't sure exactly why they were missing from the video, she did say, "I did hear that Ryan Cooley apparently thought it was a scam, didn't believe it. I guess it was too good to be true or something. Aside from that, not 100 percent sure. We love the entire cast, we're so grateful to the ones who showed up and we were thinking about the ones who weren't there."

Kippel added, "They were all missed. We did reach out to them…made as many phone call and FaceTime attempts as we could, but availability is always an issue when you're dealing with such a large group."

(Clark told Page Six that he was never contacted to be in the video.)

Of course, at the end of the day, it was really about the man of the hour, the artist formerly known as Wheelchair Jimmy. And while Drake has become one of the most celebrated musical artists in recent history, he's still just Aubrey to his former cast members.

Though some of them hadn't seen the rapper in years, Kippel said, "He really hasn't changed. He's the same person we knew and loved back then with just way more authority now."

McDonald added, "When we all saw Aubrey I think we were all just so happy and excited and so thankful to him that we got to be part of this amazing ride."

Never one to shy away from his teen soap past, Kippel said staging this Degrassi reunion was an important part of the rapper's current career plan, with his next album, Scorpion, coming out on June 29.

"As excited as we were to see him, he was maybe even more excited to see us because it was part of his plan," he explained, "whatever point he's at in his career right now, he's really embracing his past and all the different events lined up to bring him to where he is now. He orchestrated this reunion. He had the vision, he wanted to do it, he made the calls and I think he was just so excited grateful that everyone showed up and was there for him to be a part of it. It almost seemed off-side, like how could we not be a part of this?! He was overwhelmed by the response he got from friends he hadn't seen in a very long time...he was as touched as were to be asked to be a part of it."

To bring this to fruition, Drake brought back together over 20 cast members, which included Dalmar Abuzeid (Danny Van Zandt), Sarah Barrable-Tishauer (Liberty Van Zant), Paula Brancati (Jane Vaughn), Stefan Brogen (Archie "Snake" Simpson), Lauren Collins (Paige Michalchuk), Nina Dobrev (Mia Jones), Marc Donato (Derek Haig), Jake Epstein (Craig Manning), Stacey Farber (Ellie Nash), Jake Goldsbie (Toby Isaacs), Andrea Lewis (Hazel Aden), Linlyn Lue (Laura Kwan), Melissa McIntyre (Ashley Kerwin), Adamo Rugguiero (Marco Del Rossi), AJ Saudin (Connor DeLaurier), Christina Schmidt (Christina Schmidt). Plus, Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith, who guest-starred as themselves in several episodes, including the Degrassi Goes Hollywood film special, also appeared.

And because the show had so many characters, it wasn't a typical experience to have a large number of cast members in the same scene, making this video shoot a truly memorable experience.

"There wasn't a day where we actually filmed Degrassi where all the characters were present," Kippel said. "On the average day, you would have maybe 3-5 cast members here, but to have everyone in the same after not seeing each other anywhere from a couple of weeks to over a decade all thrown back into this scenario where we're filming Drake's music video as a backdrop was just such an such a layered experience.

As McDonald simply put it: "It was everything."


From Entertainment Weekly:

Drake addresses why J.T. wasn't in his Degrassi reunion video for 'I'm Upset'

If you’re a Degrassi fan who’s watched Drake’s new “I’m Upset” music video, then you know there’s one major face missing from the big Degrassi: The Next Generation reunion: Ryan Cooley, who played J.T. Yorke for six seasons on the long-running Canadian teen soap before being killed off.

When the video dropped Wednesday evening, many fans immediately noticed that the lovable class clown was absent from the reunion — which even included Ephraim Ellis, whose character shot and paralyzed Drake’s character, Jimmy, along with one-time guest stars Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith. One fan pointed out the omission in the comments of Drake’s Instagram post promoting the music video, and the Champagne Papi actually replied.

“I’m upset…Because you didn’t bring back JT” the fan commented, to which Drake replied, “He thought it was a scam.”


A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

This being social media, it’s not clear if the “Worst Behavior” rapper was joking or not, but if he wasn’t, then this is one time when screening phone calls didn’t work out for the best.

However, Cooley wasn’t the only face missing from the get-together. Also absent were Daniel Clark and Mike Lobel, who played Sean Cameron and Jay Hoggart, respectively, on the series. Both spoke to Page Six and said no one from the video reached out to them about participating; Clark was especially disappointed about being left out.

“It sucks because it would have been great to see everybody,” Clark said. “The best part is the fans are getting what they want and that’s most important and everyone looks so happy, so that’s kind of the silver lining there. It looked like everyone was having a great time, but for me, it was kind of sad too, because we were all really like family.”

Lobel, who tweeted that he was “a little upset” Wednesday night, told Page Six, “Yeah I honestly don’t have much to say on it, I wasn’t invited to the shoot. I love Aubrey [Graham, Drake’s real name] and think he’s a great guy, everyone looked great in the video and I wish I could have been there to hang out with the crew.”

In case you need a rundown, here’s who ended up appearing in the “I’m Upset” music video: Shane Kippel, Nina Dobrev, Stacey Farber, Adamo Ruggiero, Lauren Collins, Jake Epstein, Christina Schmidt, Andrea Lewis, Melissa McIntyre, LinLyn Lue, Stefan Brogen, Jake Goldsbie, Marc Donato, Dalmar Abuzeid, A.J. Saudin, Miriam McDonald, Cassie Steele, Sarah Barrable-Tishauer, Paula Brancati, Ellis, Mewes, and Smith.


From AJC:

Jimmy’s back — Watch Drake stage epic ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’ reunion in ‘I’m Upset’ video

Canadian rapper Drake staged a Degrassi Community School reunion in a new music video for his single, “I’m Upset.”

Drake, whose real name is Aubrey Drake Graham, played Jimmy Brooks in the Canadian drama, “Degrassi: The Next Generation.”

The show premiered in 2001 and ran through Aug. 2, 2015. Drake’s role as Brooks, a basketball star who, after being shot by a classmate, became physically disabled from the waist down, ended in 2009.

The 31-year-old artist’s new music video, directed by Karena Evans, features many of his former castmates in the halls of the high school.

Catch stars Nina Dobrev, Jake Epstein, Shane Kippel, Stacey Farber, Stefan Brogren and more in the new video [above].

According to his Instagram page, Drake’s next album, “Scorpion,” will be released Friday, June 29.


From Page Six:

This ‘Degrassi’ actor is upset he was left out of Drake’s new video

Daniel Clark, who played Sean Cameron on “Degrassi: The Next Generation” from 2001 to 2008, was just as surprised as everyone else that he wasn’t part of Drake‘s high school reunion music video for his new single “I’m Upset.”

“No one ever reached out to me about this,” Clark told Page Six on Thursday morning. “I have no idea even when it was filmed. I woke up this morning and watched the music video and was like, ‘What the hell is going on?'”

Clark, who owns a business in Toronto, told us the last time he saw Drake was a couple years ago and he sees some of the other cast members every now and then.

“It sucks because it would have been great to see everybody,” he said. “The best part is the fans are getting what they want and that’s most important and everyone looks so happy, so that’s kind of the silver lining there. It looked like everyone was having a great time, but for me, it was kind of sad too, because we were all really like family.”

But Clark isn’t the only former Degrassi Community School student who didn’t make it to the reunion. Loyal fans of the long-running Canadian teen soap noticed that Ryan Cooley and Mike Lobel were also nowhere to be seen.

Cooley played J.T. Yorke alongside Drake for the first six seasons of “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” His character exited the series in memorable fashion, stabbed to death outside his ex-girlfriend’s birthday party.

The actor couldn’t be reached for comment, but an Instagram comment made by Drake on Wednesday night explained his absence. After being asked why J.T. was missing, the rapper responded, “He thought it was a scam.”

Lobel, who played Sean’s friend Jay Hogart for seven seasons, initially seemed irked he was not asked to appear in the video. On Wednesday night, he tweeted, “I’m a little upset.”

When reached for comment, he told us he was sure it was a production oversight: “Yeah I honestly don’t have much to say on it, I wasn’t invited to the shoot. I love Aubrey and think he’s a great guy, everyone looked great in the video and I wish I could have been there to hang out with the crew.”

Drake, whose real name is Aubrey Graham, starred on the series as basketball star Jimmy Brooks for eight seasons. Other “Degrassi: The Next Generation” stars who did appear in the music video include Stefan Brogren (Snake), Shane Kippel (Spinner), Miriam McDonald (Emma), Cassie Steele (Manny), Sarah Barrable-Tishauer (Liberty), Lauren Collins (Paige), Adamo Ruggiero (Marco), Stacey Farber (Ellie), Jake Goldsbie (Toby), Jake Epstein (Craig), Andrea Lewis (Hazel), Christina Schmidt (Terri), Nina Dobrev (Mia), Melissa McIntyre (Ashley), LinLyn Lue (Ms. Kwan), Marc Donato (Derek), Dalmar Abuzeid (Danny), A.J. Saudin (Connor) and Paula Brancati (Jane).

Even Ephraim Ellis, whose character Rick was responsible for putting Drake’s character in a wheelchair, made an appearance despite the fact that, like Cooley, he was killed off on the show.

Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith, who had guest-star appearances on the show through the years, also popped up in the music video.


From Variety:

Drake’s ‘I’m Upset’ Video Was ‘The Reunion We’ve Always Wanted,’ Says ‘Degrassi’ Cast

Drake’s former castmates from “Degrassi: The Next Generation” had a blast reuniting for his latest video, “I’m Upset,” shot this past weekend in downtown Toronto from the Air Canada Centre, where the rap star’s beloved Raptors play basketball, in addition to the Degrassi set in north Toronto, where the long-running teen drama still films.

He released the video Wednesday night and it already has more than 2.5 million views on YouTube.

From 2001 to 2009, Drake, then known by his birth name Aubrey Graham, played Jimmy Brooks in the series, a rich kid who ends up in a wheelchair after getting shot.

He appeared in over 100 episodes (145 according to IMDB, some credit only), and again in “Degrassi: Minis” (2005-2007). He also released his first mixtape, “Room For Improvement,” in 2007.

For the video, directed by recent Prism Prize winner Karena Evans (“God’s Plan,” “Nice For What”), Drake — inexplicably sleeping on a bed at the Raptors’ centre court at the ACC — gets a calendar reminder on his phone about a high school reunion and sets out in his yellow Ferrari with Shane Kippel (a.k.a. Jimmy’s friend Spinner) as his passenger.

Turns out it’s for the class of 2007 at Degrassi Community School. “Welcome Back,” reads the sign, and the party and mayhem ensues.

“There was no acting going on in that video,” Jake Epstein, who played Craig Manning, a photographer turned rocker and one of Jimmy’s best friends, tells Variety. “It was truly a reunion of great friends who hadn’t seen each other in years. Drake’s team and Karena did a fantastic job of orchestrating the whole thing.”

“It was the most incredible and layered experience,” adds Kippel. “An homage to the show that shaped all of our careers. … Unforgettable.”
“Degrassi” executive producer Stephen Stohn, who last saw Drake at the Juno Awards in 2010, popped into the set for an hour to see everyone on Sunday. His wife, Linda Schuyler, created the long-running franchise in 1979, and he just released a book titled “Whatever It Takes: Life Lessons from ‘Degrassi’ and Elsewhere in the World of Music and Television.”

“Back in the day, working with all these wonderful talented people was the highlight of my life; and to revisit those times, and meet up on set with them again, has been an awesome dream come true,” Stohn tells Variety.

Besides Kippel and Epsten, the video pulls together Stacey Farber, Adamo Ruggiero, Andrea Lewis, Lauren Collins, Melissa McIntyre, LinLyn Lue, Christina Schmidt, Stefan Brogren, Ephraim Ellis, Jake Goldsbie, Marc Donato, Dalmar Abuzeid, A.J. Saudin, Miriam McDonald, Cassie Steele, Nina Dobrev, Sarah Barrable-Tishauer, Paula Brancati, and even Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith (cameos as pot dealers Jay and Silent Bob).

“It was the reunion we’ve always wanted, and we were thrilled to do it with our old friend,” Collins, who played the bisexual Paige Michalchuk on “Degrassi: The Next Generation” and once kissed Jimmy, tells Variety. “Truly the best night — thank you Aubrey, and thank you to the unbelievably dedicated fans of our show.”

Says Ruggiero, who played Marco Del Rossi, a gay teen and the best friend of Epstein’s character: “Drake brought us all back together on our home turf. And there is no better way to celebrate a high school reunion.”

Love for Aubrey was shared by Melissa McIntyre, who played Ashley Kerwin, Jimmy’s on-again, off-again girlfriend. “It was like coming home except home isn’t home anymore,” she says. “In that sense it was really strange but it was so incredible to gather as adults and do the ‘who are you now?’ chats and get to know each other again. None of it would have happened without Aubrey. It was an incredible gift.”

“We laughed; we cried; we had the best time,” says McDonald, who was the main protagonist Emma Nelson on the show: “I am so proud of how far each of us came from when we first walked those hallways 17 years ago.”

Adds Nina Dobrev, who played teen mom Mia Jones: “Getting to roam the halls of Degrassi after over a decade was surreal and bittersweet. Couldn’t be more grateful to Aubrey for reuniting us one final time as adults and throwing the party that our teenage selves could only have dreamt of. We’ve come a long way brother… love you.”

Drake’s new album, “Scorpion,” drops June 29.


From Cosmopolitan:

'Degrassi' Stars Are Calling Out Drake for Leaving Them Out of His Video

They're upset, if you will.

Remember back in the days of yore when Drake played Jimmy on Degrassi and it was literally the best thing ever? Well, the rapper finally got back in touch with his after school special roots and released a video for his new song "I'm Upset"—starring tons of his Degrassi castmates.

But like...not ALL his Degrassi castmates. And people are πŸ˜•.

Notably absent from the video are Daniel Clark (AKA Sean Cameron), Mike Lobel (AKA Jay Hogart), Ryan Cooley (AKA JT Yorke), and Deanna Klymkiw (AKA Alex Nunez).

Clark chatted to Page Six about being left out of the video, saying "No one ever reached out to me about this. I have no idea even when it was filmed. I woke up this morning and watched the music video and was like, ‘What the hell is going on?'"

Yeah, Drake, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? Actually, to be fair he did reveal that JT Yorke thought the video was a scam:

But poor Mike Lobel certainly wasn't reached out to and he's...wait for it...a little upset.

BAHAHAHA. Nailed it.


From E! Online:

Could Drake's Video Reunion Lead to an Actual Degrassi Revival?

Is it time for Degrassi: The Next Next Generation?

After witnessing the Internet's freakout over Drake staging an epic Degrassi reunion for his "I'm Upset" video, it's clear there's still a lot of love and interest in the iconic Canadian teen soap. And given the TV industry's recent obsession with all thing revival and reboots, is it time to head back to Degrassi High for an actual on-screen reunion?

"Never say never," original star Miriam McDonald told E! News of a possible Degrassi revival series. "We couldn't have predicted this video was going to come along. Who knows what the next stop on this crazy train we're on is going to be."

With most of the original cast being pre-teens when they first started working on the show, they've shared a "unique childhood," which was one of the main reasons the "I'm Upset" video shoot was "such a layered experience" for the stars.

"Us being in the same room together again just reminded us of what a unique childhood we all had and how we have this bond that will transcend time no matter what," Kippel said. "We could go five years, ten years without seeing each other and then it brings it all back."

Most of the original cast (minus a few notable standouts) appeared in the video, which took just two weeks from concept to release to put together, and Kippel seemed confident that a majority of the series' stars would be open to a revival.

"I don't think there would be anyone out there that if there was an opportunity to do some sort of reboot in some sort of form, whatever form that may be, I don't think anyone would be quick to turn that down!

Degrassi: The Next Generation itself was a revival of sorts, and you could almost say it kicked off the trend back in 2001. Degrassi actually began airing in 1979 and went through many iterations, from The Kids on Degrassi Streetto Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High and, finally, Degrassi: The Next Generation.

And it was McDonald's character Emma, the daughter of Degrassi Junior High's Spike (Amanda Stepto), who was pregnant at 16 on that show's run, that spearheaded The Next Generation, which began with her entering middle school 17 years ago.

"I think we've all evolved as people too, so if there were to be something I think what we would bring to the table would actually be something quite different from what we did 5, 10, 15 years ago," McDonald said. "I think it would actually be a pretty exciting concept.

IN 2015, TeenNick made the shocking announcement that they would no longer be airing the long-running series after 14 seasons, but Netflix swooped in to pick up the show, premiering Degrassi: Next Class in 2016. Four seasons are currently available to stream.


From Bustle:

How Drake's 'Degrassi' Reunion Video Was Made Is Nothing Short Of Amazing

On Wednesday, June 13 Drake released the video for "I'm Upset," which included cameos from almost every single one of his former costars from Degrassi: The Next Generation. While fans were certainly glad to see many of the familiar faces in the vid, details about how Drake's Degrassi reunion video came together are pretty amazing.

The rapper, who played basketball star Jimmy Brooks in the teen drama for eight years, reportedly put the whole thing together in less than two weeks, according former cast members Shane Kippel (Spinner) and Ephraim Ellis (Rick). In a discussion with TMZ, the pair explained that the video for "I'm Upset" was filmed just one week before its release. Even more impressive, they say that they were only made aware of the idea for the video a few days before production, with Ellis pointing out that he got an email about doing the video last Tuesday.

Kippel said he was surprised when he found out that "Drake was planning to have a big reunion as the concept of his video." He added that he was pitched the idea that he'd be "spending some one on one time, driving around in fancy cars, getting fitted for expensive suits and then show up and crash the party." Concluding that it went off without a hitch, he ended by saying, "I think it went just that way."

Ellis added that the video "really felt like a real high school reunion" because he hadn't seen many of his former cast members in so many years.

The "I'm Upset" video features Drake, aka Jimmy, preparing for his high school reunion with his Degrassi bestie, Spinner. After getting all dressed up, the pair hop in a sweet ride as they make way to meet up with the rest of their crew. Once they arrive at the reunion, just about every main character in the Degrassi: The Next Generation shows up including recurring guest stars, Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes.

It seems that Drake, who went by Aubrey Graham on the show, pulled out all the stops for his new vid, getting cameos from over a dozen Degrassi alumni. Stefan Brogren (Snake), Miriam McDonald (Emma), Cassie Steele (Manny), Sarah Barrable-Tishauer (Liberty), Lauren Collins (Paige), Adamo Ruggiero (Marco), Stacey Farber (Ellie), Jake Goldsbie (Toby), Jake Epstein (Craig), Andrea Lewis (Hazel), Christina Schmidt (Terri), Nina Dobrev (Mia), Melissa McIntyre (Ashley), LinLyn Lue (Ms. Kwan), Marc Donato (Derek), Dalmar Abuzeid (Danny), A.J. Saudin (Connor), and Paula Brancati (Jane), can all be spotted in the video.

Despite the large turnout, many fans took notice of the fact that actor Ryan Cooley who played J.T. was not included in Drake's Degrassi reunion. However, it turns out, that Drake actually had an answer for his absence. Responding to a fan's Instagram comment which read, "I'm upset... Because you didn't bring back JT," Drake, who starred on the series for eight seasons before his rise to hip-hop superstardom, responded that Cooley "thought it was a scam."



-- Every Degrassi Reference You Missed In Drake's "I'm Upset" From An Unironic Superfan

-- This Is What the "Degrassi: The Next Generation" Cast Looks Like Now

-- Drake Reunited The Whole "Degrassi" Cast For His "I'm Upset" Video And It Goes There
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