Adoring Joey King

Aug 11th, 2021

In hindsight, it’s somewhat of a miracle that “The Kissing Booth 3” got made in the first place.

Not because the 2018 “The Kissing Booth” was initially a stand-alone film — before the summery rom-com, about a high schooler who falls for her best friend’s brother, became an unexpected hit on Netflix. And not because of the pandemic; this final chapter was shot earlier, in 2019, at the same time as “The Kissing Booth 2.”

With workdays that included wrestling in massive inflatable sumo suits, shooting a montage at a water park and racing go-karts in Mario Kart-like costumes, it’s remarkable that Joey King and her colleagues, who had a ball in the process, were able to focus enough to get the job done.

“If you put us in a room and you expect us to get much done that’s productive, it’s going to be hard,” King, the franchise’s 22-year-old star, said in a video call. “We’re like 12-year-old boys.”

The trilogy’s final film, which begins streaming Wednesday, follows Elle, King’s character, through her last summer before college as she juggles dating her boyfriend, Noah (Jacob Elordi), and checking off the aforementioned antics with her friend Lee (Joel Courtney) in a last-ditch effort to complete their childhood bucket list.

One of her next projects has a different vibe: King described “The Princess,” which she’s shooting this summer in Bulgaria, as an action movie, “‘The Raid: Redemption’ meets Rapunzel.” She sat down for a video interview (energetic as ever, it’s worth noting, at 6 a.m. local time) to discuss the end of the series that has defined this phase of her career and how Elle’s coming of age has mirrored her own. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

What was it like shooting the last two films back to back?
Actually, we shot them at the same time — meaning in one day, we’d be shooting scenes from both movies. It was so confusing.

How did you keep everything straight?
I can’t give myself that kind of credit, because I didn’t. I knew exactly what I was doing every day, but when I was on set and my director [Vince Marcello] would come over and say a note or something, I was like, “Wait, are we in Movie 3 right now?” He’s like, “No, we’re still in Movie 2.” It’s not like they were very similar, because their story lines do take crazy different turns. But it was kind of fun to marry them together.

Was this film — along with “The Kissing Booth 2” — the first project you executive produced?
It is, which was lovely. I’ve been putting my hand more into producing lately; I’m actually producing “The Princess” as well. But it was really special for me to start on those movies since I’ve been with them for such a long time.

I’m a bit of a sponge. On set, it was more of me absorbing stuff from Vince and being like, “So why did we make that decision?” Just asking more questions. He was so willing to be even more collaborative with me and ask my opinion. I felt like I had a voice on set, but my voice really did come in on the back half of filming. I had a lot of say on what the final product was, and I also am very heavily involved in the marketing process. I’m very passionate about both of those things, and I feel like I am one of the target audiences. It’s fun to be able to have a say in something that I would want to watch at the end of the day.

At the heart of these movies is a coming-of-age story. Did you find similarities to your own experiences at this stage of your life?
I’ve always felt very connected to Elle. I remember receiving the script for the first movie. I called my team, and I said, “When can I audition for this? I want this so bad.” And they were like, “You don’t have to audition for it; it’s an offer.” If I had had to audition for it, I would have done anything to get that job.

So when I started playing Elle, I felt like [she] and I were very, very similar. Her vibe, her sense of humor; I felt very in tune with it. And same thing goes for the second and third movie, if not more so — I went through a lot of important life moments in her shoes.

How do you feel you’ve changed since then?
I have changed so much. It’s actually quite unbelievable to me. I never thought I was going to change as a person, and I was so wrong. That’s the beauty of being young. My perspective on life changed — my perspective on family, on relationships, on career. So that’s why, when I feel like I’ve really gone through so much with Elle, it’s because I have changed so much as a person and learned so much.

In what ways?
I became a little bit more present. I started meditating. I found a very incredible relationship [the director and producer Steven Piet]. Obviously I’ve always loved my family, but I have found a deeper appreciation for them. And career stuff, too: I started becoming more zeroed in on exactly what I wanted to do and how much I didn’t want to do certain things. And that was really interesting, just to feel a little more empowered in my own abilities to make decisions. I’m actually quite an indecisive person. If you take me to a restaurant, I have no idea what I want. And that’s even if we decide where we should go. But when it comes to my career, my brain switches over to a decisive mode. That’s a new development for me.

You’ve had such a range of roles at this point — “The Kissing Booth” is very different from “The Act.” [King was nominated for an Emmy for her performance in the Hulu true-crime drama, as a young woman convicted of killing her mother.] When you talk about narrowing down what you want to do, do you hope to keep that sort of variety? Or do you prefer certain roles?
I personally love to keep a wider range, and I never really have a specific “this is what I want to do next.” I want to keep excited about it. I love the fact that they [“The Kissing Booth” and “The Act”] were polar opposites. And I’m hoping that people are excited to see me in different kinds of roles, because I very carefully decided that this is what I want to do.

This was, as far as we know for now, the final “Kissing Booth.” But if the opportunity arose, can you see yourself returning to Elle and this story in the future?
I started these movies when I was 17. We were just like, we hope people like it — if anyone even sees it. Little did we know what a big impact this would have. I’ve never tired of playing Elle. It’s so fun. Watching this story be wrapped up so nicely in like a beautiful bow, I think it would be a little hard to come back after that. We made this ending exactly what I think it needed to be. Selfishly, do I want to play Elle again? Absolutely. But I think that the story is on its final chapter.


Jul 29th, 2021

Joey King is reminiscing about her time on The Kissing Booth. The 21-year-old actress is saying goodbye to the Netflix movie franchise when the third and final installment premieres Aug. 11. King, who looks stunning on the cover of Glamour Mexico, opened up about one of her favorite Kissing Booth scenes with one of her many leading men.

“There are so many it’s crazy, I always laughed on set. One memory that comes to mind was learning all the dance scenes with Joel [Courtney] for the first movie,” she recalls. “We were so exhausted and delirious that we decided to do all of our dance choreography like we were made of jelly. Our limbs were spinning all over the place, and it was the most ridiculous but fun thing ever. One of my all-time favorite memories.”

The Kissing Booth 3, meanwhile, sees King’s Elle Evans deciding if she will be moving across the country with her boyfriend, Noah (Jacob Elordi), or fulfilling her lifelong promise to go to the same university as her BFF, Lee (Courtney).

King says that “playing Elle over the past few years has been one of the greatest joys of my life.”

“She and I have the same sense of humor, the same love for our friends, and the same desire not to ever lose our childlike spirit that makes us laugh,” she shares about all the things they have in common. “I feel at home with Elle and I am very lucky to be able to play her.”

King and Elordi previously dated in real life, but called it quits before shooting the sequel. In a July 2020 interview with ET, the actress admitted that dating in the public eye can be “brutal.”

“In this world, everyone wants to know your business and what you’re doing,” she said at the time. “I think it’s very interesting when you go through things and people kind of feel like they’re owed an explanation, but I understand.”

In an August interview with Cosmopolitan, King admitted that it wasn’t easy working with her ex-boyfriend, but she wasn’t going to let her personal life get in the way of her job.

“No one’s thinking to themselves, ‘That was easy,’ because it wasn’t,” King said of filming the sequel with Elordi. “I’m sure people will analyze every movement and every detail. And you know what? Let them. But at the end of the day, I was just thrilled to be Elle Evans again.”

“Elle Evans needs her Noah Flynn, and whatever that means for my personal life, I’ll do anything to make sure the story of my character who I care about so much is complete,” she added.

Meanwhile, King is looking forward to her upcoming projects, telling Glamour Mexico, “I’m really surprising myself this 2021, which feels really good. I like to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself, sometimes brutally but in a good way.”

Among the movies she’s extra excited about is Bullet Train. “Bullet Train is one of those movies that I always imagined that I would only hear about as an actress but that I would never get to be a part of,” she mentions. “You dream of being on a film like that, but that’s all it seems like, a dream. I feel so lucky that that dream came true now. David Leitch directing, Brad Pitt starring, amazing script, do I need to continue? What an opportunity! My character, Prince, is a wild card. Can’t say much.”


Mar 29th, 2021

001.jpg 001_28129.jpg 001_28929.jpg 001_28829.jpg

The European stonechat, a member of the robin family, tends to build its nest on or near the ground. Youngsters tumble out into the world as soon as they can, before they can even fly. Apparently, the prospect of flapping without flight amidst the dangers away from the nest pales in comparison to being grounded—a sitting duck, so to speak, for the numerous predators afoot. It is tempting to imagine what the world will be like when the masks come off and gates re-open, where the future has ambition and promise again. Instead, we spend countless hours a day trying to convince ourselves that the same bird who flew out into the world with ease and not a tendril of hesitation is the same one that, at present, doesn’t leave the comfort of their sheets. As we are learning, we must try to keep the heads, in which we spend most of our time, a suitable place to live, regardless of exterior influences. Actor Joey King inspires such force with a simple repeating of her morning hymn, “I am above ground.”

As the first months of 2021 transition to memory, King speaks from a newly found perspective after surviving the seemingly never-ending and ever-changing year of 2020. But while time continues to prove itself to be a construct, King has not wasted a single second. Her fresh and bright demeanor fills her Los Angeles home as she shares an appreciation for the constants that have grounded her in place, when the urge to float away becomes too overwhelming. She speaks kindly of Angel, her fourteen-year-old dog, who is “spunky and bright as ever,” cooking as a form of healing, and self-discovery through introspection and autonomy, encapsulating what it truly means to be young and learning through a pandemic.

King’s standout role as Elle Evans in Netflix’s The Kissing Booth—based on the book of the same title by Beth Reekles—is where she reached a new level of presence. The trilogy follows a spirited high schooler as she navigates her way through the wormhole that is young adulthood, with friendship an evergreen guiding light. And viewers ate it up. The 2018 debut shattered viewership records with 66 million-member views in its first month’s release, launching King to newfound heights. In the first installment, Elle’s turbulent relationship with high school bad boy Noah, played by Jacob Elordi (also of Euphoria fame), sees a wrench thrown into her friendship with Noah’s younger brother. The Kissing Booth 2 sees Noah now off to Harvard, and Elle back for her senior year, with all new problems arising. Closing out the trilogy, King is faced with the decision of where to go to college (and we might assume some push and pull from long time darling Noah). Both installments two and three were filmed in South Africa, the latter to release this summer, and King shows nothing but staggering humility and gratitude for the closing of this five-year run of romantic turbulence and emotional inquiry.

When it seemed like King could not soar any higher, she landed her Emmy-nominated role as Gypsy Rose Blanchard, opposite Patricia Arquette’s overbearing Dee Dee Blanchard, in the critically-acclaimed Hulu true-crime limited series, The Act, about the toxic mother-daughter relationship turned criminal. She also finds herself opposite Brad Pitt in the upcoming action-thriller Bullet Train, a no doubt gripping tale of five assassins on a bullet train who find their missions to be not so unrelated. With her impressive curriculum vitae of thoughtfully crafted roles, King has honed her talent of elegantly evoking an audience, chiefly with her warm countenance and distinct authenticity. She states, “I think that being able to be an everyday person who is able to transform into someone like Elle Evans, to just be like every girl and able to be a lead of a movie, is meaningful. And also to become someone like Gypsy and completely strip away my vanity. I think people resonate with that, that vanity is not my top focus.”

King has also found her way to the producer’s chair, where she has discovered new autonomy in her creativity. Perching herself on the other side of the casting table, she is able to not only develop a deeper understanding of the industry she has dedicated her life to, but advocate for narratives and stories in a different way than she has before. King is set to executive produce and star in Netflix’s Uglies, a film adaptation of Scott Westerfeld’s international best-selling dystopian fantasy novel of the same name, set 300 years in the future when everyone must undergo plastic surgery at 16 years old to meet globally dictated beauty standards. Passionately, she says, “I feel so frickin’ grateful to have reached such a certain amount of success where I am now able to decide what I want to produce, and create opportunities for myself that maybe otherwise wouldn’t have presented themselves to me.”

As the recently turned twenty-one-year-old makes her graceful ascent from childhood actor into international stardom, she is no stranger to the glamour and grit of the industry. After the success of The Kissing Booth, she found herself under a different kind of microscope. King confesses, “Being an actor is so tough, because you have this image of who you are and what kind of image you want to present to other people, when in reality you have no control of what people think of you.”

Full article:

Jan 26th, 2021

Joey King knows she’s young, and The Kissing Booth star is in no rush to hurry her career along. At just 21 years old, King has had quite the fruitful career — from starring alongside her longtime role model Julianne Moore in Crazy, Stupid, Love at age 10 to receiving an Emmy nomination for her phenomenal portrayal of Gipsy Rose Blanchard in The Act to now working alongside the “Mr. Bradley Pitt,” as she puts it, and Lady Gaga in the upcoming film Bullet Train.

Success of a much older person aside, King is happy to continue playing young onscreen. “One thing that I don’t want to do is age myself up too quickly,” she tells InStyle editor in chief Laura Brown on this week’s episode of Ladies First with Laura Brown. “I know I look young. I know I am young. And one thing that I’ve seen a lot of young actresses do, who I love and admire, is they try to, after they hit notoriety and a little bit of zeitgeist, full-throttle themselves into the most mature role that they can find. And that’s just not my desire, because my ambition is to be in this industry for a very, very long time.”

Aside from sticking around for years to come, King has some very lofty goals in the entertainment industry, but she’s not holding herself to them too tightly. “The ultimate obvious goal that everyone is going to say — and obviously I’m not going to sit here and pretend like it’s not something I’ve dreamed of — is to win an Academy award,” she explains to Brown. “But I don’t want to say that that’s my goal, because unless I reach that, I’ll never be happy, right?”

Instead, she’s focusing on her own personal growth in her career, not what other people think of her. She opened up about a particular red carpet photo that received negative comments shaming her appearance. While many would allow these mean comments to bring down their confidence and change their perception of themselves — and like many young people in front of the camera, King does say she has struggled with body image issues — the actress simply brushed them off this time.

“I was like, you know what, I could easily look at that photo now and be like, I hate that picture, but I am not going to sit here and admit that because I would be lying to myself. I still like that photo. There’s plenty that I don’t like. Plenty. But it is interesting how five seconds of your life can completely change the narrative around you, the way you feel about yourself, the way others feel about you. It’s really interesting.”

Bullet Train is currently filming, and King gets to work alongside some incredible names including Brad Pitt, Brian Tyree Henry, Logan Lerman, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Lady Gaga. But while she says she’s grateful to be working right now, it does feels a bit different to be on-set during COVID.

“The feeling of being on a set, the feeling of meeting all those new people, hugging on them, loving them, and just creating this family — it’s not there,” she says. “And we have to stay in our pods and I can’t interact with people that I want. I want to meet everybody. I want to know everyone’s name, but I can’t leave my pod.” Brown reads between the lines and interjects “you want to hug Brad Pitt,” and with a laugh, King agrees: “I want to hug Brad Pitt.”

And honestly, Joey? Same.


Oct 25th, 2020

1.jpg 3.jpg 8.jpg 9.jpg

It’s that time of the year: fall weather, matching sweatsuit sets, and the impending election that has left many Americans on the edge of their seats. Joey King is ready for it all with a new Blumhouse horror film ready to promote, the LA sunsets to keep her golden, and her first election to prepare for. At just 21, Joey’s career is full speed ahead, appearing in countless projects and rightfully having the internet crown her the newest queen of Netflix. But if there’s anything the star wants you to know, it’s that she is just like you and me.

Joey is warm and natural like that friend from college that was always cooler than you but made you feel like you were an equal nonetheless. Our Zoom call vibe was girlie chat meets messy buns, tank tops, and our dogs. Mine: three loud ass hounds, Joey’s: a modelesque yorkie named Angel. And even though Joey and I have never met, it felt like we were catching up on old times. I forgot I was talking to an Emmy nominee, the girl who was my summer envy as she kissed all those boys in that booth. I was just talking to Joey.

Joey is the type of actress to never fall into a typecast. At just 11, the star made a name for herself alongside Selena Gomez in “Ramona and Beezus.” From there she’s bounced between music video appearances, quintessential rom-coms, horror, animated comedy, drama, and of course, The Kissing Booth (which deserves its own genre as a Netflix, young adult comedy filled with beautiful men.) And while it seems that no matter what Joey does it is impossible to hit new ground, she just proved us wrong: She will try her hand at executive producing her newest project of Netflix’s adaptation for “The Uglies” book series. Pre-COVID, Joey took her idea of a movie adaptation to network and they loved it.

Ever since I was young, this was my favorite book series ever. I was always obsessed with the idea of playing Tally Youngblood and was always just hoping and praying that one day they made a movie of it so that I could,” she says. “I just have a desire to create things that make me happy and just work on things that ignite a fire in my heart. So I was like you know what? I’m just gonna do it myself,” she says smiling into the camera. She credits Scott Westerfeld, the author of the series, for allowing her to star and produce this project. I noticed her body shift closer to the camera as I felt her passion. “It’s been a dream of mine for a very long time,” she says.

She cites the series’ relatability as the fuel to her fire. “I got told when I was younger that I wasn’t pretty enough for a few roles,” she says. “People’s perception of you really changes your own perception of yourself and so this book was always something that was so near and dear to my heart. That these ‘uglies’ were finding ways to really embrace their own actual beauty.

One thing about Joey that is quick to note is how confidently she carries herself. She knows she’s a badass – in the least Hollywood asshole way possible – and reminds people that it doesn’t matter what people think. “It’s really hard with the amount of people that say really creative mean things,” she says. “It’s important to remember that for every person who says something like that, there’s so many more that feel a different way about you. There’s also your family and friends who love you. So who actually cares about what these people who don’t know anything about you besides what they think they know? Who gives a shit!

Besides serving as a role model to young people, she is also feeling the pressure to do something to ensure that 2021 doesn’t end up like the shit storm this year was–is. “My hope for 2021 is just overall betterness. But the thing is like, I think what’s kind of scary is that a lot of people are like, ‘oh, I’m so over 2020, I can’t wait for 2021’ as if New Year’s Eve is just gonna magically cure the world. Cause it’s not–it’s going to be a long road ahead of us.” But Joey says her hope for 2021 is a Biden and Harris administration and that, “the whole world stops burning,” she says with a giggle, but I know she’s not joking. This place is a mess.

Luckily though, Joey is 21 and can actually vote in this year’s election. “I voted yesterday and it feels so good,” she says smiling and dancing into the camera. “It’s the most exciting thing that you can do as an adult. You literally get a say in your future and others’ futures and the state of the world. It’s just the coolest thing you can do!

Her personal tip is to do your research before trying to fill out the ballot and listening to each other regardless of party. “People are just listening to respond and no one is listening to listen. I think if you are a Democrat, if you are a Republican, or any other party, I think the most important thing is to not sit on your high horse about what party you’re in.” For Joey, the values are more important than elephant or donkey, red or blue, conservative or liberal.

While the election is definitely spooky, Blumhouse Productions decided to add to the scares by dropping eight new horror films on Amazon, including Joey’s new film, “The Lie.” “What initially attracted me to that role was that I liked that it was a Blumhouse movie but it wasn’t straight-up horror. It was a mental game,” she told me. Having watched the film the night prior, I would agree. The plot twist at the end left my jaw dropped and slightly uncomfortable with all that went down–in the best way. “Performance-wise I was excited to try and figure out how to make someone worth having empathy but also be the villain.

As for keeping sane, Joey is settling down with her intuitions, not caring what people think, and listening to good music. “I am very eclectic with my taste. Right now I’m listening to the new Sufjan Stevens album, and this album called Lagoons by Tigers in the Sky, a lot of Sigur Rós. And then I sort of take it back, I’ve been listening to Steeler’s wheel a lot, a lil Frankie Valley in there, throw in some Billy Joel, I am all over the place.

So are we Joey, so are we.