Miranda Cosgrove had the perfect debut in the hilarious and highly intelligent Jack Black vehicle School of Rock (2003). She had a small part in an earlier television film, and had also done a few TV advertisements for McDonald’s and Mello Yello among others. But Richard Linklater’s idiosyncratic masterpiece was effectively her debut at the age of 9. In it she plays the role Of Summer Hathaway, fourth grade class captain in a prestigious grammar school, who has to deal with the advent of Jack Black as replacement teacher who slyly brings Hard Rock into the school curriculum. The casting was perfect. Who can forget Cosgrove’s poise in the face of the invasion of rock music into her class, and her tact in finally adapting to the situation and ending up manager of the eponymous band?
School of Rock certainly demonstrated that Cosgrove had places to go, but the transition of child stars to adulthood is always tricky. A few more films in child roles followed, most notably in Yours Mine and Ours (2005), but Cosgrove was lucky to discover a perfect niche in television. She was cast as the mischievous little sister of the zany duo Drake and Josh in the Nickelodeon teen sitcom of that name. Her sparkling presence in this series alerted the producers at Nickelodeon that she needed a show of her own.
She was originally projected to appear in a series where the lead character gets to live her fantasy by starring in her favorite TV shows. But the format was changed at the last minute and became a “web show” instead. In it Carly Shay (Cosgrove) and her friends are putting on a web show, using input from their web audience to make instructional amateur videos. Beginning in 2007, iCarly quickly rose in popularity and was ranked the third most popular teen show the following year. In 2012 she was cited as the highest-paid TV child star by the Guinness Book of World Records.
But Cosgrove really cemented her reputation after she emerged as a highly talented singer on the released soundtrack of iCarly. In the film School of Rock she was shown to be a very bad singer, which she found difficult to act out because she had good voice training even at the age of 9. It is also a pleasant surprise to find the highly correct Summer Hathaway breaking out as a spirited singer. She has mentioned that the rock music themed film was a huge influence on her singing. Songs like “Stay My Baby” and “About You Now” are well received by critics and fans alike, noted for their excellent tunes and showcasing Cosgrove’s girlish charm. Her debut album Sparks Fly reached number eight in the Billboard 200 album chart in 2010.
In a highly levelheaded move for someone on a skyrocketing trajectory of stardom, Cosgrove has decided to cut down her singing and acting commitments to concentrate on her education at the University of Southern California, where she plans to major in Film. If she continues to pick her films with such distinction, as she did with her 2010 smash hit Despicable Me, she will do well. We can now rest assured that Cosgrove has successfully negotiated the transition from child star to adult.