Since gaining legions of fans for playing Elle, the lovestruck teen at the center of Netflix’s 2018 film The Kissing Booth, Joey King has been very, very busy. After the original film became a sleeper hit, King shaved her head (for the second time in her life) and starred alongside Emmy winner Patricia Arquette in Hulu’s true crime-inspired series The Act. Soon after her stirring performance as a daughter whose mother is suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, King found herself invited to Oscar parties and nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe. While she didn’t win a golden trophy, she’d certainly opened her career to new possibilities. Now, she’s returning the teen rom-com circuit with the July 24 release of The Kissing Booth 2, and that move comes with yet another career milestone: an executive producer title.
“Our director Vince Marcello is already very collaborative, he’s just so easy to get along with and talk to about everything, but my role kind of came later on in post production. I had a lot more approval of things on the film side, and also on the marketing side,” King explained to Refinery29 on a Zoom call alongside her co-star, Joel Courtney, who plays Elle’s lifelong best friend. “My favorite thing that I got to do as a producer was attempt to fire Joel Courtney every day,” she joked.
Fans of the series know that jab couldn’t be further from the truth — the co-stars are close friends. In fact, Courtney was a big supporter of King’s new promotion, even bringing her a daily smoothie on set because he saw how much she was putting into the movie.
“Joey was working every single day and was the first one on set and the last one off set. She was working harder than anyone else there, so I took it upon myself to brighten her day as much as I could,” said Courtney.
It makes sense that for round two as Elle, King would want to take a more hands-on approach. While working on The Act, she learned to speak up about a pivotal scene in which her character Gypsy has sex for the first time.
“This is the one aspect of playing Gypsy in which I had to try and pull from my own real life experiences of what it felt like to become a young woman with those desires and those wants and those needs,” King told Refinery29 back in 2019. “It’s such a life-changing moment in a young woman’s life, so I feel like it should have been documented in her story.”