The Kissing Booth 2 is finally here!
Elle Evans (Joey King) just had the most romantic summer of her life with her reformed bad-boy boyfriend Noah Flynn (Jacob Elordi). But now Noah’s off to Harvard, and Elle’s headed back to high school for her senior year. She’ll have to juggle a long-distance relationship, getting into her dream college with her best friend Lee (Joel Courtney), and a new friendship with handsome classmate Marco (TK actor). When Noah grows close to a seemingly-perfect college girl, Elle will have to decide how much she trusts him, and just what — and who — her heart truly wants. The movies are based on characters from Beth Reekles’ 2012 young adult book.
Here’s some fun facts that every fan needs to know about The Kissing Booth 2…
- The Kissing Booth debuted on May 11, 2018, and became Netflix’s most
re-watched original film that year
- Star Joey King had approximately 612,000 Instagram followers when the first film came out. Today, the 20-year-old has 11.6 million.
- King said she never auditioned to play Elle Evans: “I remember when I read the script for The Kissing Booth I called my reps and said, ‘When can I audition?’ They said, ‘Oh, the part’s been offered to you,’ and I was like, ‘No way.’ The fact that I was believed in from the start just set a tone where I felt confident. I was also able to believe in myself because the material was so good, and the company I was keeping was so wonderful.”
- Joel Courtney — the actor behind Lee Flynn — attributes part of The Kissing Booth’s success to its sweetness. “There’s been a push recently in entertainment to make projects more edgy,” he said. “One reason that The Kissing Booth really resonated with so many people is that it kind of pulled back. It was a feel-good, happy movie about teenagers in love. Younger kids can’t wait to experience this, and young adults going through it relate so much. Adults and older people remember what it was like. It can strike a chord with just about anybody, and I think that’s why it was welcomed with open arms.”
- Hilariously, King did not realise that “The OMG Girls” was an acronym for her fictional classmates Olivia, Mia and Gwyneth while shooting or narrating The Kissing Booth. “When the movie came out, that was the first time I put together that their initials spelled OMG,” she said. “I was like, ‘Wait…Oh my God, that’s so genius!'”
- The Kissing Booth 2 is King’s first released film where she also served as an executive producer. “I remember in a marketing meeting, we were on the phone and they were asking Joey’s opinions,” said the film’s director, producer and co-writer, Vince Marcello. “And Joey says, ‘Well, I am the demographic of this movie, so what I believe — ’ and she just went, boom! She was delivering these really insightful, constructive ideas. I actually got emotional as I was listening because I was like, Oh my God. She sounds like a producer. She has that in her DNA and we’re going to watch her blossom even more.”
- King’s initiative was equally evident during filming. “When you have mature, elegant, extremely respectful lead actors on the set, they are — by definition — leading by example,” said producer Michele Weiser. “They are showing everybody else what is expected of them and how to act. Joey does this with grace. She is a true leader, and it shows. Anyone watching and every single person on the set could feel it, by the way she carried herself.”
- Most of the film was shot on location in Cape Town, South Africa. “The most satisfying, gratifying and exciting thing about shooting in South Africa again is that we got literally every single actor from the first movie back in the second one,” King said. “It was so important to Vince to make sure everyone who was part of that success saw it through.”
- Although Meganne Young now lives in Vancouver, she was born in South Africa and spent a year living in Cape Town. “I still have my family and my friends here, so I would get a lot of downtime with them on the weekends,” said the actress portraying Rachel. “I went up Table Mountain, I went to Cape Winelands, I did lots of fun things.”
- Unlike The Kissing Booth, The Kissing Booth 2 filmed during South Africa’s coldest months. Experienced costume designer Neil McClean knew it would be an “absolute nightmare” to source local, warm weather clothes to match the Southern California setting. “I’ve taken quite a lot of winter blouses and chopped the sleeves off, turning them into T-shirts,” he said. A significant portion of the film’s wardrobe was also purchased above the equator in London, where it was still summer.
- McClean’s designs gifted King with more offscreen self-assurance. Prior to The Kissing Booth films, “I never really thought that I could pull certain things off like Elle,” she said. “I got this boost of confidence through my clothing, and I feel so grateful to these movies because I found a lot of myself in them.” Her favourite pair of denim shorts are a souvenir from the set.
- Since King had recently shaved her head for her Emmy®-nominated turn in The Act, she wore wigs throughout The Kissing Booth 2. “Ralph” and “Mrs. Fletcher” are the names King coined for the wigs she usually alternated between. Makeup designer Christa Schoeman named a third “Delilah” — its shape harkens back to Elle’s look from the first film. The three wigs were custom-made for King at the Alex Rouse Wig Company, in London. “You think about things logistically and for the camera when you are wearing a wig like that,” King said. “It changed the dynamic of my relationship with my character a little bit, not in a bad way.”
- The home that provides exteriors for the Flynn residence is the same house Miley Cyrus’s character inhabits in the 2019 Black Mirror episode “Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too.” Black Mirror utilised the residence for both interior and exterior shots.
- As Elle walks toward school to start her fall classes, she is once again the subject of parking lot gossip. In The Kissing Booth, students comment on her short skirt, while in The Kissing Booth 2, her rumoured break-up with Noah fuels chatter. This is just one of the sequel’s many callbacks to the original film.
- Courtney had a rude awakening when he consulted his schedule for the second month of Kissing Booth 2 filming. “There was one week where Vince decided to schedule maybe 40 percent of my sad, heavy, emotional scenes,” Courtney said. “I needed to be ready to go. I cried every day for a week of work. At the end, I looked at Vince and was like, ‘Did you have fun watching me be miserable?’ I could not have done this on the first film two years ago, and I was really proud to see noticeable personal growth as an actor.”
- On set, Jacob Elordi was surrounded by classic literature. In the film, Noah is seen reading John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, while off camera, Elordi made his way through Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Lots of Elordi’s prized recommendations of what books to read and galleries to visit have come courtesy of his onscreen mom, Molly Ringwald.
- A passionate photographer, Elordi brought his camera collection to South Africa. “I have a bag full of film that I don’t even know if I can afford to get developed,” he said. “I’ve shot thousands of pictures since I’ve been here. I’m really excited to get some of them back.”
- Dressed as a marshmallow, Rachel has an awful Halloween in the film. However, her alter-ego said that was actually her favourite scene. “I get to lose my temper and have this outburst,” Young said. “I haven’t done a lot of comedy so this has been really great for me to flex those acting muscles.”
- With his soundtrack choices, Marcello wove together modern hits and seminal favourites from the past, such as “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys and “What I Like About You” by The Romantics. Weisler particularly relished the use of White Plains’ “My Baby Loves Lovin,’” which accompanies a montage where Noah takes Elle on a tour of Boston. “I love it because it feels nostalgic in contrast to how they’re celebrating their reunion in the current day,” she said. “Plus their relationship feels older and more historic, since they’ve known each other since they were little kids and they grew up together.” Marcello agreed: “Noah’s not Jake from Sixteen Candles, who’s at a distance, but a guy who’s actually a part of Elle’s world.”
- The Halloween dance sequence brought together two scenic Cape Town venues. Exteriors were filmed at Lichten stein Castle in Hout Bay, while interiors were shot inside St. George’s Cathedral. The Crypt — a restaurant and jazz club inside St. George’s Cathedral — was also used as the Boston comedy club where Noah takes Chloe for a night out on the town.
- As Elle and Noah attempt to maintain a long-distance relationship, each meets a new possible love interest. The roles of Marco and Chloe are respectively played by Taylor Zahkar Perez and Maisie Richardson-Sellers.
- Hailing from Chicago’s South Side, Zahkar Perez makes his feature film debut in The Kissing Booth 2. When the audition process began, he had no clue what movie franchise he was vying to join — the script was tentatively known as “Untitled Vince Marcello Project,” and all the characters’ names had been changed (“Ashton” replaced “Noah”). Zahkar Perez soon figured it out, then earned an instant “YES!” from filmmakers after his chemistry read with King.
- This was the first project Zahkar Perez auditioned for after traveling to Tanzania and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. “Every year I try to go on trips either with friends or family,” he said. “These last three years, I’ve gone with the same people.” Prior excursions took them to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and the ancient Peruvian cities of Machu Picchu and Cusco.
- Zahkar Perez was not a guitar player prior to portraying Marco. For two months, he spent three hours per day taking guitar lessons (scheduled around six-hour dance rehearsals). “It was nerve-racking because in every scene I’m performing in front of extras,” he said. The DDM competition employed 2,000 extras, the Halloween mixer had 250 extras, and his beachside busking required 120 more. In the end, the experience “got me over stage fright.”
- When asked whether he hopes his movie bestie winds up with Noah or Marco,Courtney responded, “I’ve got to support the brother, you know? Team Noah fo’ sho’.”
- Richardson-Sellers — who graduated from the University of Oxford with an archaeology and anthropology degree — prepared for The Kissing Booth 2 by taking Italian lessons and training with a champion pool player. “It was a childhood dream for me to be good at pool, so when I saw that in the script, I was like, ‘Yes!’” she said.
- Like multiple Kissing Booth actors, Marcello was a child actor himself — he grew up doing musical theater in New York, and directed his first play at age 19. Courtney credits Marcello with teaching him the benefit of rehearsing, adding, “He’s truly one of those directors I’ll look back on and think, I learned a huge lesson from him that’s changed my career tangibly.” Richardson-Sellers also confirmed that Marcello never lost his knack for relating to actors. “He knows exactly what he wants, which is really refreshing, and he knows how to communicate in a way that we can understand,” she said. “Yet he is also really willing and open to debate and discussion and changing things up every now and then.”
- In the franchise, Ringwald’s character, Meredith, is the maternal presence in Elle’s life. Ringwald also plays the mom of Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) on Riverdale. Speaking of King and Apa, Ringwald said, “I have this little fantasy about them getting married, because I love them both so much.”
- Since King spent her 20th birthday thousands of miles from home, Ringwald organised a surprise dinner for King and Kissing Booth 2 cast members back at the hotel (complete with a huge cake, of course). “One of my favourite things about Molly is just how special she makes everybody feel,” King said. “She wants to make everybody feel loved and included.”
- In their The Kissing Booth 2 script, Marcello and co-writer Jay Arnold elevate the unspoken connection between classmates Ollie (Judd Krok) and Miles (Evan Hengst) to a romance. “I wanted the kissing booth to be a place where these kids find love and mend relationships and I wanted the audience to see themselves reflected in the booth,” Marcello said.
- The films are inspired by British author Beth Reekles’ The Kissing Booth. Before Reekles received a book deal, she began publishing chapters of The Kissing Booth on Wattpad when she was just 15. Via the online platform, her manuscript was read more than 19 million times, and the average reader was 31 years old.
- Reekles’ text immediately struck a chord with Marcello because of the bond between Elle and Lee. “In my own personal life, my closest friend was a girl growing up, and it was always the two of us,” he said. “There were bumps as we began to navigate our adult lives. You can never keep that same closeness at the same level of intensity, because then there’s no room for anyone else. There are actually episodes in the movie that are exact moments in our relationship, and she knows which ones they are. When she watched The Kissing Booth, she called me afterwards, and it was a very special moment. We were able to laugh at these obstacles that we had in our friendship over the years, and how she now has children the age of Elle.”
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