Friday, July 21, 2023

Jamie Lynn Spears Reveals 'Zoey 102' Reunion Movie Was a 'Pinch-Me Moment'; Teases Possible Sequels

Jamie Lynn Spears is headed back to Pacific Coast Academy for the new Zoey 101 movie!

Zoey 102

Paramount+ announced in January that it was reuniting members of the original cast of Zoey 101 for the sequel movie, Zoey 102. The announcement of the follow-up film came more than a year after a mini Zoey 101 reunion was staged on the sketch comedy show, All That, which was followed in October with The Follow Me (Zoey 101) Experience - The Legacy Continues, a live stream event which included a new version of the show's iconic theme song, "Follow Me," which also featured social media influencers popular today. Stepping back into her Zoey 101 character's shoes for the first time since the Nickelodeon series ended in 2008 was a "surreal" moment for Spears, who spoke with Entertainment Tonight about this new chapter in the Zoey 101 universe.

"It's like I have to pinch myself because it's something we've worked on really hard for years to get, being patient to make sure it's right, putting the right things in place. And then it's like a dream come true. It's this thing you've been talking about and working on and trying to bring to life," Spears told ET's Denny Directo. "The first day I walked on set, I was like, 'Oh my gosh, we really did it. We're here, we're doing it,' so it is surreal. It was like a pinch-me moment a lot of times."

"The fans are the only reason we got to do it the first time and they're definitely the only reason we get to do it the second time," the 32-year-old actress added, crediting fan response to their impromptu Zoey 101 reunions during the early months of the pandemic in 2020 that got the wheels turning for Spears. "After that was when we really started saying, 'We need to hurry up and get this done.' So we worked hard and finally brought it to life and it's all because of the fans. And I think we did them justice. I think they're going to be really happy. They were patient and I think it'll be worth the wait."

In Zoey 102, which drops Thursday, July 27 on Paramount+ and takes place over a decade after the events of Zoey 101, Spears' Zoey Brooks reunites with her old PCA classmates as they come back together to attend the wedding of Logan (Matthew Underwood) and Quinn (Erin Sanders). As a result, Zoey has to face her old flame while also trying to come to terms with the past and the dreams that she had for the future. 

Among the original cast members returning for Zoey 102 are Christopher Massey as Michael Barret, Abby Wilde as Stacey Dillsen and Jack Salvatore as Mark Del Figgalo. New additions include Thomas Lennon as Zoey’s boss, Kelly Kevyn; Owen Thiele as Zoey’s friend, Archer March; and Dean Geyer as charismatic actor Todd, along with Audrey Whitby as Lyric, Logan’s younger sister, and Zach Zagoria as Jordan B., a reality dating show contestant.

Jamie Lynn Spears and Dean Geyer star in Paramount+'s 'Zoey 102' movie. Credit: Dana Hawley/Paramount+
Jamie Lynn Spears and Dean Geyer star in Paramount+'s 'Zoey 102' movie. Credit: Dana Hawley/Paramount+

"Zoey... was part of my childhood. We grew up together," Spears said of catching up with the character more than 15 years later. "I was so ingrained in that character, so revisiting her was something I always dreamed of. But I was like, 'Can that really ever happen? In what world, dude?' Who gets to do something like that twice? It's one of those things that I wasn't sure if it could ever happen, but I always dreamed of being able to do it and see where she is."

And when the Paramount+ movie drops, audiences will see Zoey and the crew "all over the place," at least initially.

"She's a fixer and a planner, but she's also in the midst of her own kind of personal identity [crisis], like, 'Am I where I want to be? Am I?'" previewed Spears, who also is an executive producer on the film. "She's looking at Instagram. She's looking at her friends. We all do this in real life [comparing ourselves]. And I wanted it to be really important that Zoey -- when we left off [in Zoey 101], she was always perfect. Like, everything was with a bow on it. And I wanted to see her where our generation is -- the struggle of measuring up and feeling good enough and not having all the answers and being OK with that, but also taking the steps to change that."

Spears shared that her first days on the Zoey 102 set were primarily Zoey-centric scenes, but as production progressed, she and her castmates spent nearly every scene together. "I'm so glad they did it that way because it was like our high school," she fondly recalled. "We grew up together and getting to do this again, we were crying when we wrapped because it felt so fulfilling. But also, just one of those experiences that I don't think you could ever recreate. But we got to do that."

Jamie Lynn Spears and Sean Flynn star in Paramount+'s 'Zoey 102' movie. Credit: Dana Hawley/Paramount+
Jamie Lynn Spears and Sean Flynn star in Paramount+'s 'Zoey 102' movie. Credit: Dana Hawley/Paramount+

Zoey 102 is without a few key members of the Zoey 101 family, namely Paul Butcher, who played Zoey's younger brother, Dustin Brooks, as well as Victoria Justice and Austin Butler, who starred in later seasons of the Nickelodeon series.

"They're part of the Zoey family and they always will be," Spears assured. "They're all doing so well in their careers and we have nothing but love and support for them. And hopefully, they get to be a part of the continuation of Zoey's story if we get to do this whole new Zoey era. I just think it's a testament to a magical lightning in a bottle of spirits we had. Look what came out of this? I mean, we got Austin Butler, Victoria [Justice]. I just think it's a reminder of where it all started."

And there's a feeling of the Zoey 101 follow-up being full circle for the Sweet Magnolias actress, whose oldest daughter, Maddie, is 15 years old. "She said she got to see the movie. And she actually said, 'Mom, your movie is really good.' She's like, 'I kind of thought maybe it'd be silly, but it's good,'" Spears recollected, adding her youngest daughter, 5-year-old Ivey, is starting to show interest in Zoey 101. "And I was like, 'Wow, that was the biggest compliment you could ever give me.'"

Spears seemed optimistic, or at the very least enthusiastic, about continuing the Zoey franchise past the sequel movie, hinting that Zoey 102 "sets the tone for a new era of Zoey that really connects to our generation."

"I think the fans will love it," she promised. "You need the movie to reintroduce where they are right now and I would love to go on to figure out, where do all of them end up after this?"

Zoey 102 premieres Thursday, July 27 on Paramount+. Try Paramount+ for FREE at

This interview was completed prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike, which began on July 13, 2023.

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