×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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.

More TV

  • BETTER THINGS "Chicago" Episode 1 (Airs

    TV Review: 'Better Things' Season 3

    A few episodes into the new season of “Better Things,” fed-up mother Sam (creator Pamela Adlon) tries a new tactic to break up one of the countless petty fights between her daughters. Instead of forcing them apart and hoping for the best, she throws up her hands and decides to just let them go at it, [...]

  • Anna Paquin, Sophie Okonedo in Flack

    TV Review: 'Flack' Starring Anna Paquin

    There’s a familiar, acrid aftertaste to “Flack,” Pop’s new drama about the controlled chaos of the publicity industry. The grim behind-the-scenes machinations of the glossy entertainment industry have always been one of TV’s favorite subjects, as are the people tasked with pulling the strings without anyone ever realizing. Over just six episodes, the show manages [...]

  • Jee Young Han

    NBC Comedy Pilot 'Like Magic' Casts Jee Young Han in Lead Role

    Jee Young Han has been cast in the lead role of the NBC single-camera comedy pilot “Like Magic,” Variety has learned. The project is a workplace comedy that follows an optimistic young woman (Jee) pursuing her dream to be a headlining magician in the eccentric and ego-driven world of the Magic Palace. Jee will play Holly. [...]

  • Sharon Case from The Young and

    NATAS Announces 2019 Daytime Emmys Pre-Nominations for Drama Performer Categories

    The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences have announced the pre-nominations for all of the drama performer categories ahead of the 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. “The Young and the Restless” lead the pre-nominations with 21 candidates, but “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives” are close behind with 20 and 19 candidates, respectively. [...]

  • Childrens Hospital

    'Childrens Hospital' Team Reunites at Netflix for Comedy Series 'Medical Police'

    The team behind the Adult Swim series “Childrens Hospital” has come back together at Netflix. The streamer has ordered 10 thirty-minute episodes of a new scripted series called “Medical Police,” which is written and executive produced by Rob Corddry, Krister Johnson, Jonathan Stern, David Wain. In addition to his onscreen role, Corddry created “Childrens Hospital,” [...]

  • mike colter luke cage portrait

    'Luke Cage' Alum Mike Colter Joins CBS Drama Pilot 'Evil'

    Mike Colter has been cast in a lead role in the CBS drama pilot “Evil” from Robert and Michelle King, Variety has learned. Colter will play David DaCosta, a Catholic priest in training, tasked by the Church to assess unexplained phenomena to see if there is a supernatural or scientific explanation. He joins previously announced [...]

  • Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue

    Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue Biopic 'The Dirt'

    Netflix has dropped the first trailer for its Motley Crue biopic “The Dirt” — based on Neil Strauss’ best-selling history of the legendarily bad-behaved ‘80s metal icons — and it looks like the film pulls no punches in terms of the band’s famously sordid history. In this two-minute trailer, we get glimpses of singer Vince [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content