Even though I’m a relatively new fan to the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy, it didn’t make it any less exciting to actually get to interview Noah Centineo, who plays Peter Kavinsky, and the author, Jenny Han. I came across the series only last year and ever since it’s had a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf. I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard that the book was being made into a film and bided my time until I got an opportunity to watch it.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before follows the life of a Korean-American girl named Lara Jean who writes her crushes love letters that she’ll never mail in order to get over them. When the letters are mysteriously mailed to each of her crushes, Lara Jean’s usually quiet world takes a spin.
Many fans of the series would have read the book as soon as they were released. When I briefly spoke with Noah Centineo, I was curious about whether or not he had known about or read the books prior to being casted as Peter Kavinsky. He laughed and admitted that he was actually unaware of the novels before he auditioned for the film. Still, when I asked him which of his favourite books he would like to see adapted to film, he withheld his answer, noting that he didn’t want to say which novel because then “someone might get the option on it and then try to turn it into a film. It’s a really dark psychological thriller and horror novel.”
Outside of picking his brain on book-to-film adaptations, I wanted to know if he shared any qualities with the beloved Peter K. He responded saying that “we have some similar qualities, for sure. He’s a bit of an athlete and I definitely do not play lacrosse but I exercise and working out is important to me. I’d say, he’s a little less emotionally intelligent and I’d like to think I am but he’s a good guy. He’s very caring and sensitive and I think we have that in common, for sure.”
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is one of those books that harbour on diversity, trusting yourself and – most of all – sisterly love. I adored watching the film as much as I did reading the novels. Being as curious as I am, I asked for Jenny Han’s input. Naturally, she had much to say on the adaptation of her trilogy.
How important was it to find the right actress to play Lara Jean?
It was the most important piece of the whole thing to find the right Lara Jean. Her character is introverted but yet she’s still very much self-possessed and her own person. So, I think to find that balance of somebody who is more internal but also very expressive was very important. There were a lot of auditions but I was really only involved in the selection process towards the end of it but once I saw Lana Condor audition, I knew that she was going to be the perfect Lara Jean.
What scene from your book did you most enjoy seeing onscreen? Is there a scene in the movie, which isn’t in the book that you also really liked?
From the book, I loved seeing the hot tub scene. I was nervous about it and then it ended up just being so wonderful. A scene that’s not in the movie, which isn’t in the book, is the scene that I love. It’s the scene between Lana Condor and John Corbett. I thought it was just really sweet and it made me cry.
Yeah, I thought that part was so sweet too. Even though it’s not in the book I think that it added to the overall feel of the movie.
There’s also the scene where Lara Jean is on the race track with Peter K and she jumped him then instead of jumping him in the hallway like it describes in the novel. Did you think that little change up affected the movie?
I don’t think so. I was there on set when they filmed that and I think that it was more of a logistical issue about trying to get the shot the way they wanted it so I think having her rebuff was logistically difficult rather than having her be already fainted and lying down. I mean we were trying different things that day.
Is there a scene or line from the book that you wish made it into the film?
No, I don’t think so. The film felt very whole to me.
You make a brief cameo in the movie. What was it like to spend that day on set?
Oh, it was exciting and I was so nervous. I was excited for it to be a surprise for the fans to see me. It was fun to actually be on set.
It’s one thing to see your books loved by millions of young adults worldwide but what was it like to see your book become a film?
It’s completely surreal and overwhelming. I think I’m used to being in my small corner of the world and now the world is so much bigger.
Thank you to Noah Centineo and Jenny Han for taking the time to talk with The Young Folks. Click here to read our interview with the film’s director, Susan Johnson.
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before premieres on Netflix on August 17, 2018.