Based on the novels of Jenny Han, Netflix’s original romance drama franchise To all the boys, which follows the charming romantic comedy couple Lara Jean Covey (Wool Condor) and his beloved Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), concludes his trilogy with To all the boys: always and forever. In this latest installment, Lara Jean and Peter are preparing for the end of high school as they figure out what comes next. With graduation looming and Lara Jean grappling with whether she is truly following her dreams or trying to make others happy, she will have to make important decisions that will ultimately change her life.
During a virtual trip to promote the latest film in this popular series, author Jenny Han spoke to Collider for this 1-on-1 interview about her disbelief that the stories she wrote would be turned into movies, seeing her characters come to life. How sad it was to see these characters finish telling their story, leaving the door open at the end of all their stories, and their advice to aspiring writers.
COLLIDER: What was it like when you realized that this story was going to become a movie series? What were the emotions you went through, knowing it was really going to happen?
JENNY HAN: I think it was really disbelief because I’ve had other books selected for the movie and I’ve seen all my friends do the big, fun announcements, and then nothing comes out of it. I have learned not to get too excited. I don’t think I fully believed it until they actually started shooting. That’s when it came true for me.
What was it like then to see all the characters really brought to life by these actors? What was it like the first time you saw each of the actors bring their roles to life?
HAN: It was really surreal. I would say that, for me, the most important moment was when I first got to the set and saw how many people were running around, working on the film. That was really profound for me, just to think that there are so many jobs that people can take and they chose to take this one, and they are elevating it with their hard work. I heard one of the guys in the crew say something about Peter’s car or his mom’s furniture, and just hear people use words that I came up with, like Peter Kavinsky, and it became something of their own separate from me. , it was moving and it made me cry.
What is specifically about Lara Jean? How has it been for you to see Lana Condor take the journey with that character?
HAN: I’m really proud of her. She has gone from being a teenager to being a young woman. He is working very hard and his future is very bright. For me, it has been a pleasure to see her really have her own strength when she was young.
Was there a scene, a set, or a first moment that you couldn’t believe was exactly how you imagined it?
HAN: I think the jacuzzi scene was really that moment for me. She’d been more nervous about it because inherently a hot tub kiss might have a bit of an R rating, but she’s still a PG person so she’s innocent. I remember texting Lana and saying, “Just remember, you’ve never hooked up with a guy before, so everything is new to you.” I think they both did it perfectly. It’s my favorite scene from the movie.
How did you find out what your cameos would be in these movies and what was it like to make your own little appearance?
HAN: It was a lot of fun. It made me appreciate even more how difficult it is to be an actor because I was nervous.
How different did it feel to see this last movie and the final part of this journey and know that this story is over?
HAN: It’s bittersweet, but mostly it’s sweet. We put all our effort and everyone gave their best. Everyone wants the fans to be happy and really satisfied. We all did it with that mindset and I hope we make it through.
Do you feel like it was more difficult to say goodbye to these characters once you finished writing the books? Or was it harder to say goodbye to them once the movies were over?
HAN: It was more difficult with the movies because these actors have embodied the parts and that chapter was coming to an end, of being able to spend time together and become a creative team together. That was sad. Lana and I said we would have loved to have had one last party, one less red carpet, and had one last chance to wear heels and have fun. It was kind of sad that we couldn’t finish it that way. With the second movie, we had a really fun party. That premiere was just beautiful and we were lucky to have that moment before everything really hit with the pandemic.
Do you have a favorite scene or moment in this latest movie?
HAN: Yes. There is a scene that I really love in New York that I am not going to spoil. Lana and noah [Centineo] they are really sweet and it is very emotional.
Did you intentionally want to leave this story in a place where life seems to go on for each of these characters so that you feel like they are still on the journey of a lifetime?
HAN: I think I always leave my stories there because, for me, they really do. The characters move on. There is always a “What if?” or “What’s next?” because you never know what can happen. Even in the books, it is more open. The movie, to me, feels pretty well done. I like that the door is a little open, with any ending.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers who are terrified of the blank page and wondering if they should give it a try because they’re scared of that screen?
HAN: What I’d say is don’t even look at a screen. Get a notebook and a pen. For me, I always prefer to start writing with a ballpoint pen. For me, the blank page is just a possibility. It’s like, “What can I feel on this page?” That is really exciting. But if I look at the blank page, I feel pressure. With a notebook, you can write whatever you want, and you can move things around the page. It’s never really gone. You can always find it again. I feel a little less free on a computer. I guess that would be my advice. Just start really organically with paper and a pen.
To all the boys: always and forever is now available to stream on Netflix.
Coming in 2022.
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