Inquirer Super

Talking to the cast of “The Kissing Booth 2”

By: Pam Pastor

“The Kissing Booth 3” is coming and we’re already excited for it

“The Kissing Booth 2“ leaves Elle Evans, played by the brilliant Joey King, with a big decision to make. Where should she go to college? Harvard, where her boyfriend Noah Flynn (Jacob Elordi) already is or Berkeley where her best friend Lee (Joel Courtney) is going?

“I hope Netflix lets us find out what she does at some point,” Joey said in a Zoom interview just before the second movie came out. 

“I’m hoping for part three,” one journalist said. 

“Oh, part three is coming, based on the reaction to the trailer alone,” said another journalist. 

He turned out to be right—soon after the second movie’s release, the cast made the big announcement. “The Kissing Booth 3” will be out on Netflix in 2021. 

Where would the third film take us? Joey said, “I would like to see Elle take a gap year, become a cat lady and a serial knitter, maybe just starting an Etsy shop. I mean, wishful thinking, am I right?”

“I feel like those are your personal aspirations in life, Joey,” Joel said. 

While they couldn’t tell us much about Part 3 yet, we had a blast talking to Joey, Joel and “The Kissing Booth 2” newcomers Taylor Zakhar Perez and Maisie Richardson-Sellers who play Marco and Chloe about “The Kissing Booth 2.” 

What do you think it is about this franchise that makes it so popular?

Joey: I think people crave those classic ‘80s rom-coms that we just weren’t getting anymore. This movie is kind of tipping our hat off to those wonderful ‘80s rom-coms and we have the lovely Molly Ringwald to prove it. It’s pure fun. No one can be in a bad mood from watching this. 

What is your favorite rom-com?

Joey: I will say the one of my favorite rom-coms of all time is “50 First Dates.” 

Joel: That is an amazing movie. Um, maybe not like a classic rom com, but “The Proposal” is one of my favorite movies of all time like I could sit down and watch “The Proposal” just about any time. 

Maisie: Right now it’s “The Half of It” on Netflix. I really really love that. 

Taylor: I’m not gonna lie, I’m not a rom-com guy. But anything Matthew McConaughey from those days was awesome. 

What were your points of inspiration for playing Elle? 

Joey: When I tackled this character I felt like she’s just a girl that I would want to be really close friends with and somebody that I would want to introduce my friends to as well. I just kind of took pieces of the people in my personal life that mean the most to me to just create this fun rambunctious girl who just has a big personality and a really big heart. But also her sense of humor is very similar to mine, so I feel like Elle and I are pretty similar in a lot of ways. 

How did you balance those like more emotionally wrenching parts of the film, and keep it flowing and fun?

Joel: The way that I look at Lee is he loves with his whole heart. So when he’s joyful, he is the happiest guy in the planet. And when he’s hurting, he is in pain on his like deepest level. He just lives to love, you know, and he loves with his entire being. So when he feels like he’s hurt someone or maybe messed something up a little bit, it really hurts him. So it was really fun during those heavy scenes, Meganne Young (Rachel) is just insanely talented. She and I were able to just really click and work with each other so well on both of these films and there’s honestly no one else that I would have rather had across from me in those scenes. She’s such a talent. And we had just an amazing time filming heartbreaking scenes.

Is there a scene your character wasn’t part of that you wish you had filmed? 

Joel: Field Day is one thing that I wish I could have done more of. I really liked those kind of activities so when I read that scene I was like, “Oh my goodness this is gonna be so much fun.” And then we got there, Vince (Marcello, director) was like, “So here’s what’s happening, you’re not doing any of that, you’re going to be over here and I was like, “Noooo.” I was really bummed.

What advice would you give Elle?

Joey: I think my biggest advice to Elle would be don’t throw your life away that you have planned for somebody that could be not the best partner to you. But also don’t make your decision based on what your friend just wants you to do. You have to make a decision that makes you happy so weigh your options, think about it hard… I think Elle’s biggest problem is being honest with the two people who mean the most to her and she tries to keep everybody happy and hide things. So I think my biggest advice would just try to be a little more transparent.

One of the best things about the movie is Elle and Lee’s friendship. How much closer have you guys gotten now? How much fun do you have together while filming? 

Joey: When we get in a room together, oh my gosh, it’s just non-stop laughter. It was so fun shooting with him.

Joel: This was one of those times where you get to come back and be the character but you also just get to come back and hang out with your best friends for three and a half, four months. It was such a pleasure. I am exactly as goofy as I can possibly be when I’m around Joey, I don’t know what it is, she just brings it out of me and totally supports me in it.

What was it like joining the cast?

Taylor: Going into such a strong IP from Netflix was a little intimidating for me because you have all these fans from  the first film that were diehard Noah and Elle fans. You’re bringing these characters into the mix that are gonna stir the pot a little bit…

You’re the other guy. 

Taylor: I am, I’m the other guy and I hope that Marco comes across as respectful of Elle and supportive of Elle and you know, a value add to The Kissing Booth universe. I think that it’s just very exciting to add this new dynamic to the pre existing world.

Maisie: It is a little nerve wracking because you’re going into a family that’s already been created. It’s like first day of school except everyone else has already been at school for a year and you’re like, are they gonna like me? It just smashed all of my expectations. Everyone just opened their arms to us. We all met and we just talked and talked and talked and I just really relaxed… it was just a sort of instant bond and instant family. When you are on location for four months together, you are kind of all that you have for a support network. We’ve spent every time we were off-set together, we were climbing mountains, we were doing tasting menus and traveling around… which was a really special experience. 

Do you have a favorite memory from filming in South Africa? 

Taylor: One day, I kind of went MIA, I had to keep learning guitar. So I went to the beach, had a yoga session, had a surf session. And then I was just kind of going to spend my day solo, and I look to my right, and there’s just this troop of people coming toward me. And as they get closer, I see it’s Meganne, Maisie, Joey, and Joel, and they all have grocery bags and Maisie is holding a grill. They were like, “What’s up, where have you been? We’ve been texting you.” So they all just sidle up next to me, put their blankets out, Joel made like a fun South African drink… It was the best. It was off-screen it was off-set but it was just a perfect interpretation of our relationship.

How did you want your character to come across when we first meet them? 

Maisie: It’s interesting because it’s such a delicate line with Chloe, between wanting the audience to feel that threat, which is a very valid sense of threat, but also, you know, you kind of hate that you like her, but also like that you hate her, and I love sort of playing with that.

Taylor: I want my character to come off so authentically not a threat. Our intention is not to ruin these people’s lives or to change their lives, it’s just to be who we were in this world and if things happen they happen. I love that about about Marco, he’s unabashedly himself, and he’s kind of cocky and he’s fun and he’s competitive…  I felt that with Chloe and with Marco. They were very authentic and weren’t slimy whatsoever.  I’m just so grateful that Vince went in with all good intentions when writing these characters. 

Maisie: I think Marco has the best introduction of any character throughout cinematic history. The whole montage, every time it just gets me. 

What was it like filming that montage?

Taylor (laughs): It was really funny. My first time reading it, I just started laughing… oh my god, I have to film this scene. When we start doing the setup it was like, “Okay, this is the chest shot.” “This is a sweaty arm shot.” And then the final one was the butt shot… It was an experience, especially because I forgot that we were in kilograms and so I thought I was super buff and I was going to lift 100 pounds. Little did I know that it was 2.2 times the amount of weight. The whole crew was laughing at me for thinking that I was this big muscle guy. Like, “No, I thought this was pounds, everyone!” 

What was it like working with Maisie and Taylor?

Joel: Oh my goodness, Maisie and Taylor. The  sweetest, most talented kind people in the entire planet. I have not that much time with Maisie on camera and it is one of the saddest things for me. I wish that we had more scenes together. It just didn’t work out, you know, with Harvard and LA and just being across the country. But I had some amazing times on set with Taylor, the sweetest guy, so talented. And he really just like came into like “The Kissing Booth” universe, and just fit perfectly, you know.

Joey: I agree 100% with that. Both of them now are some of my closer friends in life. They came in and our whole cast, our whole crew just welcomed them with open arms and they just fit right and they’re just the nicest people. Both of them are the type of people that would just do anything for anybody. They’re so generous, so loving, so talented. We honestly hit the jackpot, they’re the greatest people ever, truly. 

The Kissing Booth 2

How good were you at DDM before being cast in the movie? 

Joey: I am terrible at Dance Dance Mania or Revolution. I feel like, you know, I’m very fortunate that we had highly experienced choreographers helping us through because I needed help a lot. 

Joel: There’s an eye-foot coordination that you need to like look at the screen and know what you’re stepping on and then knowing what comes afterwards. I remember, actually we did it one time at an arcade, Joey, and you kicked my butt. You were far better than I was, I do remember that.

Joey: Pish-posh.

Taylor: To be completely honest with you I had never stepped foot on a DDM machine in my life. It was always intimidating, growing up, going to the arcades and, you know, seeing like the older kids on the DDM machine and just killing it. So when I found out, I was a little scared because there’s four arrows on each side and four metal squares on each side and you had to hit certain things for step accuracy and your choreography… It was very hard, not even gonna lie, but with hours of rehearsal, and you know just getting the technical down to let it go, it became easier and easier. After like the first week and a half, I was like, “Okay, I got this, I got this.”

Is there anything your character did or said that you don’t agree with?

Joey: I don’t agree with the fact that step patterns are more important than choreography. I think getting the choreography is more important than step patterns. ‘Coz that’s where the fun part is.

Joel: Oh, how wrong you are. Step patterns all the way.

Taylor, Netflix is known to get a lot of fans obsessed with their male characters in their movies and shows. Are you ready to be the internet’s next boyfriend? 

Taylor: I am not sure if I’m ready for that. I’m like looking to my right and I’m seeing like a childhood picture of myself and it was just kind of a funny juxtaposition to your question. I think it will be an interesting ride. 

Maisie: I always tease Tay about how many screensavers on people’s phones are just gonna be him topless.

Are you Team Marco or Team Noah?

Joel: I’m Team Marco. He’s just such a good guy. I’m one of those like those classic nice guys so I root for the nice guy when I see him. Noah’s more of the bad boy turned a little softer… Um, but there’s something about a nice guy, you know? 

Joey: I’m Team…. Narcos. I just combined the names. Another popular Netflix show. I think that, you know, Elle has a lot of stuff on her plate, a lot of figuring out to do. And here’s the thing, for me, it’s difficult to say because whatever I say will be really read into by all the fans. But I do agree with Joel. There is something so special about Marco. He is such a wonderful guy played by a wonderful person Taylor Perez. And it was just a real treat to watch him and see him in this role. But I think one of my favorite things about Marco is his introduction in the film… That alone is a huge reason to like him, it’s just the funniest thing.

Taylor: I’m unapologetically Team Marco, for sure. I love Marco, I think has has the best intentions. I think that they can have a great relationship if they ever had one so I think we should push for Team Marco.

Maisie: It’s so hard. I feel so torn. I am Team Marco because I feel like they are in the same situation in life and they are in the same geographical location and Marco is such a sweetheart. From hanging out so much with Noah, I feel like Noah is in a slightly different chapter of his life. I don’t want them to ever hold each other back, I only want them to bolster each other. That being said, I’ve also seen the intensity of their love for each other, and I am a sucker for love. So, Elle needs to step it up and make decisions for all of us.