Just want to keep on loving you! Drive Me Crazy’s Nicole Maris and Chase Hammond would still be together today — according to Melissa Joan Hart.
“It’d be a bummer if they weren’t [together]. I just think probably married, but having the same struggles as every other married couple,” the actress, 43, exclusively tells Us Weekly. “Keep it together, because they were both very fiery personalities. So I feel like they would have a lot of clashes, and whatnot. But I think that [they have] two kids and a picket fence.”
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And, yes, they would also have a treehouse!
Hart played popular high school student Nicole in the 1999 romantic comedy alongside Adrian Grenier’s outcast Chase. The former best friends stage a fake relationship to make their respective exes jealous, but their plan ultimately backfires when they fall for each other. Chase — a self-described walking punchline after his makeover — solidifies their relationship when he shows up at the high school centennial dance. Hart, for her part, still has the necklace that she wore in the scene.
“I didn’t audition. It was really built for me. I did screen tests with him, and Elijah Wood,” Hart explains to Us, noting that Wood, 39, initially auditioned for the role of Chase. “And Adrian was just one of these actors that makes you, when I was working with him I just knew he was going to make me better, because of what a powerhouse he is.”
“[Adrian] was amazing to work with. Just bouncing off of him and working on scenes endlessly was really fun actually,” she adds. “One of the first times I ever really used an acting coach, she came to the set and would work with both of us and on days off. We would just work out the chemistry of these scenes. The tone and the feeling just had such fun, really, kind of developing the characters together. The chemistry was the most important part though and he was just so fun to work with. We got along really well. And I think that that shows in the chemistry of the movie.”
The pair didn’t just have chemistry with each other, however. Off-screen, Hart and Grenier began dating their onscreen love interests “halfway through” filming.
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“I think he ended up dating Ali Larter [Dulce], and I dated the boy I was chasing in the movie, [Gabriel Carpenter, who played Brad]. The cute one. There were like four different couples. And then there were like four other couples that came out of that movie,” she reveals. “There was always a lot of hormones. A lot of hormones, a lot of not really gossip, but like hormones and working out together and hanging out together. But we were in Utah, so it’s a pretty dry state, so there wasn’t a lot of partying. And we were working hard anyways so it was mainly just hanging out and stuff.”
Drive Me Crazy also starred Mark Webber (Dave), Susan May Pratt (Alicia) and Kris Park (Ray). “I had such fun on the set of Drive Me Crazy. We filmed for months and months in Utah, and I was doing my TV show in L.A. at the same time. I never really worked with a cast that was all my same age, and that was really fun to be with a bunch of teenagers. More like twentysomethings playing teenagers,” Hart adds to Us. “We had a blast doing that scene on the floaties that we did, in the river. It’s one of the first ones we filmed and that was really fun.”
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Hart was traveling a lot while filming at the time. “I was working really hard, because I didn’t sleep from Saturday until Monday night. We would shoot nights on Saturday and then Sunday. And I’d have to go directly back on Monday morning to start on Sabrina [the Teenage Witch],” she notes. “I’d go directly from the airport to the set, and then that night I’d have to go record my animated series. But I was at an age that it was possible.”
The Clarissa, Explains It All alum also kept busy after the movie wrapped. She and Grenier, 43, whom she remains in contact with, starred in Britney Spears’ music video for her song “(You Drive Me) Crazy,” which was the inspiration behind the film’s name. She reunited with Spears “briefly backstage” at the singer’s Las Vegas show in 2015, but the two “haven’t really reconnected” since.
As for the rest of the cast? “I haven’t run into really any of them,” she says. “I feel like Adrian and I keep in touch, but no, we haven’t all really connected in years. And that means so many people in so many directions.”