Adoring Joey King

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Joey King On ‘The Lie’ And ‘The Kissing Booth 3’

Being a sulky teenager living through your parents’ divorce is a tale as old as time. It’s only when you let that inner rage allow you to push your best friend off a bridge to an icy demise is when things get interesting.

It’s the jumping off point in The Lie, the new psychological thriller from horror powerhouse Blumhouse Productions. Emmy-nominated actress Joey King brings teenage Kayla’s chilling inner workings to life, aided by her once happily married parents, played by Peter Sarsgaard, and Mireille Enos. What are the lengths parents will go to protect their child? Just about anything regardless of how sinister and inconceivable, it turns out.

Two years after debuting at TIFF, The Lie landed on Amazon Prime Video as part of an eight-film package of horror films, arriving just in time for some seasonal eeriness. Although not the typical campy, fun-house release we’ve come to expect from Blumhouse, The Lie brings a horror more rooted in possibility, however far-fetched it may be.

King found Kayla’s twisted story arc an intriguing look into the teenage mind. “I think it’s just really an interesting psychological observation of what being young, insecure and trusting can do to somebody,” she told NYLON over the phone during a walk around her Los Angeles neighborhood.

Kayla seems to have some sociopathic tendencies. What drew you to playing that sort of character?
I think what drew me to playing Kayla was the fact that she is quite a sweet girl, she’s got such a really good heart, but then gets sucked into the idea of trusting her friends so much that she would alter her and her family’s life because of it. And then I think that after that she just enjoys getting attention from her parents that she wanted so badly, even if it’s negative attention so that she’s willing to keep the lie going for as long as necessary. I think it’s just really an interesting psychological observation of what being young, insecure and trusting can do to somebody.

What did you do to kinda get into her headspace while filming?
Our cast was amazing, and we were able to rehearse together and talk about each shoot together. It was very nice to be able to get into character with these people that I love so much, but also these characters — they’re complex, they’re crazy, they’re wild. We still had a lot of fun on that shoot so there was no lack of laughs and dancing and good times happening, even though the subject matter was pretty dark.

What were some of these good times?
I mean just lots of times when we were hanging out together, me, Mireille, and Peter, we had so many scenes together so we would spend lot of time together when we were on set and we just enjoyed each other’s company so much. Our director Veena [Sud] was also so wonderful, it was just a set full of love and welfare really.

This isn’t your typical Blumhouse horror film. Do you consider yourself a horror fan by any means?
I do appreciate horror. I am also very scared of horror, so I don’t watch a lot of horror films, but one thing that I do love about this character and this story is that it isn’t your straight up psychological thriller, but it’s also like any person’s worst nightmare and every parent’s worst nightmare too. It’s something that I feel like is one of those types of horror movies or thrillers that tap into something that could happen to you and to your kid, and it’s really frightening.

Even though you’re scared of horror, what horror remake would you star in if given the chance?
I did The Conjuring, that was pretty awesome. I feel like something along those lines but you know what I would wanna do? Here’s this really wacky, happy horror movie from years and years ago called The Abominable Dr. Phibes and one of the funniest stories I’ve ever seen, and I would love to do a remake of that movie.

You just need some campiness and some comedy mixed in.
Exactly. I definitely tried with my fair share of horror films and I love them, but I think if I were to jump into that genre, I wanna maybe remake one of the favorites that are oldies that were great for the time that hold up on the scare factor.

What else is on the horizon for you?
I’m about to hopefully start filming my film, Bullet Train very soon, which I’m super excited about. Honestly, just whatever happens, I don’t know because of COVID [during] production. But next year you can expect some excitement with The Kissing Booth 3 release.

How has the fanfare surrounding The Kissing Booth felt?
It’s insane and exciting. I mean, from the time the first film that came out and we had no idea what a success would be. The reaction after that has just been so cool to see how many people are talking about our movie and how many people see our movie. It’s just like, wow. So the second movie release was just unbelievably exciting. It’s been such a long time coming and I had so much fun making it and now I just cannot wait for that third one to come out.


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Joey King on Veena Sud’s ‘The Lie’, ‘Bullet Train’ and ‘The Kissing Booth 3’

A few months ago, we reported Amazon Prime Video and Blumhouse were going to release eight genre movies that focus on diverse casts, female voices, and emerging filmmakers under the “Welcome to Blumhouse” banner. With the first of these films, Veena Sud’s The Lie, now streaming on the platform, I recently spoke to Joey King about being part of the project.

If you haven’t seen the trailers, The Lie follows a divorced couple (Peter Sarsgaard and Mireille Enos) as they try to protect their daughter (King) after she confesses to a horrible crime. As the couple deals with the ramifications of their daughter’s actions, they are forced to decide how far they’re willing to go to keep her safe and protected from the authorities.

During the interview, Joey King talked about talked about working with Veena Sud, how The Lie asks how far you’d be willing to go to protect someone, what it was like filming in the Toronto winter, her thoughts on seeing movies in a theater or at home, David Leitch’s Bullet Train, what’s she’s learned as a producer, and more. In addition, she teased what fans can look forward to in The Kissing Booth 3.

Collider: Were you prepared to have your Netflix Uglies project drop on the day you’re doing press?
JOEY KING: I mean, yes and no. I was kind of made aware it was going to drop, but I wasn’t really like, “Oh yeah, I know that’s going to drop.”

Got it, I won’t pressure you on that project. But jumping into why I get to talk to you with the film, how nervous were you to put the old videos of you in the movie when you were much younger?
KING: I think that was such a fun touch. And I love when people get to feel connected to a character and the fact that they were able to see footage of me when I was young in real life… I mean, I feel like it actually gives me a little bit more insight into who my character Kayla is.

One of the things that I really enjoy about movies is when they put you in a situation and you wonder, “What would you do if confronted with the same thing?” Can you sort of talk about the fact that everyone in the film is confronted with a choice, and what would they actually do?
KING: I think that’s what’s so interesting about this movie, it really does present the question how far would we go for the ones that you love, even if it was a big coverup of suspected murder. And something that’s so interesting about my character is, how far are you willing to let others go for you? Especially when you know you are telling quite a big lie.

Can you share a little bit about working with Veena Sud?
KING: Veena’s amazing. She’s so, so kind, but such a boss. I just love her so much. She was so much fun to work with and just so sweet and collaborative and I felt so safe in her arms. A character like Kayla is something that I was really excited and nervous about because I wanted to showcase her side that deserves empathy while also not giving away the ending. I mean, just working with Veena on that was such a treat.

I spoke to Peter earlier, and I wanted to specifically talk about that water scene with the bridge, because it looked like it was freezing cold when he had to jump into the water to look around. Can you share what filming that scene was like?
KING: Yeah. So you’re correct, the water was unbelievably cold, he was wearing a lot protective waters gear underneath his clothes. And when you’re kind of faced with such an uncomfortable situation, like going into freezing cold water in the middle of a Toronto winter, there’s nothing you can do but laugh about it. And Peter is so great, I mean, he was just cracking up the whole time trying to stay warm and trying to stay positive. Because at that point, if you don’t let yourself laugh about it, you’re just going to be even more miserable when you’re already freezing.

Completely, the movie is going to be coming out on Amazon, and you’ve also obviously worked with Netflix many times. You’re much younger than I am, and I’m curious if you have the same sort of need to see movies in a movie theater, or if you are just as comfortable watching stuff at home?
KING: So I think that since the pandemic started the absolute desire and need to go to the movie theater has just amped up for me, all I want to do is go to the movies, but I’m not going to, of course. But that’s all I want to do, I love a movie theater. I love just the experience of seeing a movie in theaters. But at the same time, we got to be safe, we got to adapt. And I’m trying not to look at necessarily adapting as a bad thing, I’m trying to look at it as a positive thing because we do have so much amazing things to watch right now. There’s so many things being produced, there’s so much being released, there’s definitely not a lack of choice. And so I’m very grateful for that, even if we do have to stay home and can’t go to a theater. I think that it sucks, but we got to adapt and we got to try and remain positive about it because we are lucky to still have choices.

I definitely want to ask you a few spoiler type things that would run after the release of the movie. Did you guess the ending when you were reading the script or were you as surprised as the audience when you got to those final pages?
KING: I was completely shocked, I’m just absolutely shocked when I got to the ending of the story. I couldn’t believe it. But I have to say, I love that it pulled the rug out from under me, I was not expecting that ending. I was just so focused on what was happening that I couldn’t have even guessed that that would have happened. And I hope audiences are as shocked as I was when I first read it.

I think they, one hundred percent, will be. Even if they somehow got away with murder, do you think that the family could ever get back to normal?
KING: That’s a great question. And I think I’m probably going to say no. I wouldn’t know personally, because I’ve never murdered anybody and then tried to go back to normal, but I have a feeling it would not be very easy to continue your life as if nothing ever happened.

Full interview:

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Joey King’s The Lie Is an Unsettling Take on Real-Life Fears: “It’s Every Person’s Worst Nightmare”

While Joey King is no stranger to the horror genre, Blumhouse’s The Lie, which premiered on Amazon Prime Video on Oct. 6, is a new chapter for her — unlike her previous horror movies, there’s nothing supernatural about it. In the film, King stars as Kayla, a teenage girl still reeling from her parents divorce who makes a lethal mistake, which ultimately costs her everything she holds dear. However, The Lie isn’t just Kayla’s story; it’s also about the extreme lengths that parents — played here by Peter Sarsgaard and Mireille Enos — will go to protect their children.

When it comes to horror, King is typically the victim rather than the “evil” mastermind. With The Conjuring and Wish Upon, there is something supernaturally sinister at work, but with The Lie, things are much more realistic. “This is not the typical horror movie,” King told POPSUGAR about what drew her to the project. “It’s every person’s, and parents’, worst nightmare that this could happen to them or someone they know. What drew me so much to the character and to this film is how misleading it all was.” Misleading is certainly the right word as Kayla’s family spends most of the movie diverting attention from the fact their daughter supposedly murdered her friend.

I really loved how complex my character Kayla is and how the audience struggles so much with whether to have empathy or to consider her a monster,” King said. This isn’t the first time audiences have struggled with what to feel about one of King’s characters. Both The Act and The Lie center on a seemingly innocent girl that gets swept up in the hopes of a better life; albeit Gypsy is manipulated by her mother while Kayla just wants to get her parents back together. “Kayla is more relatable in a sense. When going through a hard time, even if she gets negative attention from her parents, she still seeks that attention, and acting out is something that’s not that unusual.” While The Act ends with the murder of Gypsy’s mother, in The Lie, the parents commit a murder of their own.

What really gives The Lie its unsettling feel are the masterful performances of Sarsgaard and Enos as Kayla’s parents. You really feel for them as they try to reconcile the daughter they knew with the Kayla who exists postmurder. “I really just loved them. They’re so wonderful, kind, and just hilarious,” King said about working with the pair. “When you’re filming in a crazy cold climate with pretty intense scenes, it’s nice to have people who are really fun-loving and wonderful around.” Their offscreen connection translates into a realistic family onscreen, making the gut-wrenching twist that more terrifying at the end. “Her parents commit murder and it’s all her fault, and now she’s going to be an orphan because of it. It’s probably the most horrifying realization.

The Lie is just the latest example of how Blumhouse takes real fears and turns them into an unimaginable horror, with King’s personal favorite being Get Out. “It’s such a clever take on such an important issue, yet remaining just the most entertaining, scary, intense movie you’ve ever seen. It’s one of my favorite horror movies of all time.” Knowing that Blumhouse is such a powerhouse when it comes to important issues allowed King to make the role her own, while still staying true to the message. “If I feel like I’m stepping into something that doesn’t feel like I can make it my own, then I don’t really want to do it. It has to have some sort of grounding element and a foundation that makes them unique to any other character I’ve played before.


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Joey King says it’s ‘definitely not a mistake’ that she has the range to lead both rom-coms and horror movies

Joey King revealed in a new interview with Insider that her ability to star in both rom-coms and horror movies is “definitely not a mistake or an accident.

I feel very lucky to be able to be given the privilege to do the types of characters that I do,” King said while speaking about her movie “The Lie,” which premiered Tuesday on Amazon Prime Video.

It’s definitely not a mistake or an accident that I choose to play characters like Elle Evans, and then get the opportunity to then play characters like Gypsy and like Kayla,” King added, referencing her characters in the Netflix rom-com “The Kissing Booth,” and thrillers “The Act,” and “The Lie,” respectively.

I love all the characters I’ve played and I’m still very grateful to be able to showcase the range that I do have throughout these characters,” she told Insider. “I will continue to make surprising choices to go dark, to go light, to do whatever in the moment.

According to King, she hasn’t really been concerned about her career trajectory as a young actress.

I’ve never been really worried about being taken seriously. Because I’m very lucky to have the confidence in the choices that I’ve made,” she said.

But while King said she’s confident in her career so far, she did share with Insider that she struggles sometimes with being too hard on herself.

I think that I’m super self-critical, always, regardless of whether I film something today and see it tomorrow, or filmed something two years ago and see it today,” King said.

I always have something to say about my own performance, and there’s a certain part of me that’s always like, ‘Oh, we could have done it this way!’” she added.

But at the same time, I’m trying to be a little bit better about that,” King said. “I’m trying to be a little bit more self-accepting. And know that I gave everything my all.”