Tanner Buchanan’s “He’s All That” costar is pre-movie famous for her TikTok presence — that would be one Addison Rae, she of the 83.5 million followers — but posting and liking isn’t Buchanan’s strong suit. In fact, he professes that he doesn’t know “how to work the social medias very well sometimes,” and therefore while he knows “He’s All That” has found itself topping the Netflix queue of many a teenager this past week, he’s relatively protected from the chaos that comes with that.
Impressive, given the Ohio native is not only Rae’s love interest in the “She’s All That” gender-swap film, but is also part of the ever-booming “Cobra Kai” series, which was just renewed for a fifth season. But Buchanan seems to like things at a more low-key pace — although he did allow Rae to set him up with a Twitter account.
“She’s like, ‘Do you. That’s you and that’s cool.’ Right? However, I was like, ‘I’m only on Instagram.’ She goes, ‘You at least need a Twitter.’ So while we were on the set one day, she set me up on Twitter,” he says.
Buchanan is a self-confessed rom-com guy, turning to them to escape whenever need be. While his favorite is “A Walk to Remember,” he says the original “She’s All That” has long been a close second, and he was therefore well versed in the story before learning about the reboot. He plays Cameron, who gets made over by Rae’s character as part of a bet and, surprise, feelings ensue.
“I liked the whole idea of him just being unapologetically himself,” he says. “I just liked the idea of he’s always himself, and it’s OK to do that because if you like him, you like him. If you don’t, you don’t. And that’s all that matters.”
Buchanan and Rae, who makes her acting debut in the movie, met over a Zoom chemistry read and instantly got along.
“When we finally got to meet in person, everything was just really easy. We felt like we have known each other forever,” he says. “You know what I’m saying? When you meet someone and the conversation’s just really, really, easy.”
Buchanan was born 90 minutes outside of Toledo in Ottawa-Glandorf, Ohio, whose population stands around 10,000. “Fields upon fields upon fields,” he says. “Most people are farmers, electricians, nurses, or engineers. And that’s about all we got there.”
The performing arts were not the common route for most young boys, yet musicals were Buchanan’s saving grace as a kid: he fell in love with “Singin’ in the Rain” and dreamed of being able to sing and dance like Gene Kelly one day.
“I guess quote-unquote ‘boys’ in the Midwest play sports, right? And that’s what you’re supposed to do. But I was like, ‘Nope. Not going to do that. My cousins dance, and that seems cool. So I’m going to dance,’” Buchanan says.
He just so happened to travel to New York for a competition where he was introduced to agents and managers, and it was enough to convince his parents to move out to California to give it a proper whirl.
While acting remains the present gig, he’s trying his hand at behind the camera work as well, working on securing the rights to a mystery MIA project from the 1960s. He says that what’s most important to him is telling stories that make an impact, and if a TikTok star-led rom-com doesn’t sound like that necessarily fits the bill, he begs to differ.
“It’s a happy-go-lucky movie, but for me, I come from a small town. Guys don’t dance. Guys don’t sing. But little six-year-old me, when I first saw [Singin’ in the Rain] was like, ‘I didn’t know I could do that. I want to be able to do that.’ And now it’s changed my entire life. And you never know who it’s going to impact because I would have never thought my life would be this way, but now I’m out in California doing my thing and enjoying my life and I couldn’t be happier,” Buchanan says. “So whatever that story may be, just to be able to change people’s perspective and maybe chase their dreams, which is what it did for me, I would love to be able to do that.”