What comes after happily ever after? A day after the premiere of To All The Boys 2: PS I Still Love You on Netflix, Lana Condor and Noah Centineo discuss the sequel in a live-chat interview with the Philippine press.
To All The Boys 2: PS I Still Love You, based on the books by Jenny Han, is a charming continuation of Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky’s love story, highlighting the cute, the good, and the bad in a new relationship—no matter how perfect they may seem.
Navigating through their now very real relationship, Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) make a promise not to break each other’s hearts at the beginning of To All The Boys 2: PS I Still Love You. As Lara Jean experiences a trove of official firsts with Peter — her first real kiss, her first real date, her first Valentine’s Day — she needs to manage the complex emotions that come with this new chapter of balancing a relationship and figuring out her authentic self. But when John Ambrose (Jordan Fisher), another recipient of one of Lara Jean’s old love letters, enters her life again, she must rely on herself more than ever as she’s confronted with her first real dilemma: Can a girl be in love with two boys at once? There also comes the insecurity of being the ‘next girlfriend’ in Peter’s life after his relationship with Gen (Emilija Baranac).
In a round table video discussion with Lana Condor and Noah Centineo today, they share more about To All The Boys 2, such as why Lara Jean chose Peter in the end, how they felt about the movie, and hinting about the last movie for the trilogy.
We understand your reasons for canceling your fan event in Manila, but a lot of your Filipino fans are still hoping you could come and visit the Philippines sometime in the future. That said, Is there any chance to see you in the future or anytime soon?
Lana: Gosh, I sure hope so. I mean, I’m really really hopeful that particularly for the third, like, I would love to be able to come… and I’m so heartbroken, you guys! When I heard it, I was like, “No, this can’t be.” So yeah, I definitely- oh my god- I would love to come. And I was so excited, you guys, cause I was gonna eat so much lumpia. But the thing is I do believe that we’ll be able to go there, hopefully sooner.
Noah: Yeah, definitely. I think there’s gonna be a chance.
LJ and Peter are high school students in the film. Personally, do you guys think students as young as LJ and Peter are mature enough to handle relationship problems? If yes, why?
Lana: I think at any age, particularly in our relationship, you will potentially face conflict. And I think that like in high school, I think sometimes you face more problems in your high school at least maybe like as you’re older.
Noah: Yeah, I think that’s when you start to actually mature is when you deal with these conflicts with other people and then work through them.
Lana: Yeah. And I think it’s like, it’s healthy, like, something that was so important to us was that in To All The Boys, PS I Still Love You, we wanted it to show that our characters have great beautiful hearts, but they are flawed and they are going to go through complex because it would be unrealistic for us to pretend like they wouldn’t. So I was really happy with the conflict that we brought in the sequel and, and I think you’re just like realistic to what’s actually, you know, a natural High School relationship would be and everything that was there.
Was there a point in the second film where you were disappointed with your character for their actions? And if so, what piece of advice would you have given your character?
Noah: I think mine would be the same for both of them. Just like, be honest about where you’re coming from and about what you’re dealing with at the moment with your significant other. You know, most things can be sorted or ironed out. Especially something like Gen calling Peter and like meeting someone to lean on for support. Or Lara Jean meeting John Ambrose in person at Belleview. These things could be talked about.
Lana: When I first watched the movie, I wanted to scream at Lara Jean. I was so frustrated with her when she’s downstairs in the basement and they’re excited, they’re going to do a garden party. And she walks up to the piano and John Ambrose was like, “Oh! we should uncover the time capsule!” And I was so upset with her! I was like, “SAY SOMETHIIIING!” It was definitely the part of the movie where I was most frustrated with her. But I also know, that as much as I can preach good communication and being honest with yourself and others, I do understand that as a young person, I understand her for having a hard time doing that.
What was the biggest lesson you both learned as actors doing the sequel?
Lana: For me, it was compartmentalizing my time and learning how to, you know, where to put my energy and where not to put my energy because, gosh, I mean, we shot two and three back-to-back but for me, it was like, I am in every frame of the movie. And it was a learning experience about where to put my energy and, and to save a little bit of my energy, knowing that I have things I have to do the next day and the next day. So like my time management and work on my energy, I learned a lot as an actor. And now, I would like to say that I owe it to the To All The Boys movies for my stamina. Because before I did the first movie, I don’t think I had great stamina.
Noah: Work ethic is a huge thing that I learned simultaneously while doing the second film. I was also training every day, putting on weight… and then also just understanding that like social structure on set and knowing when to like give someone space and knowing when to shut up… Much like with family like, you just have to, like you were saying to conserve your energy, right? So there are times when we’ll have game nights and everyone will hang out and there are times when we all have our own time to ourselves.
Lana: You’re so right about the whole ‘reading each other.’ Because there would be moments where it would take more “I need a minute to myself” and like, you [Noah] would aways read that so well. He’s so right.
Why do you think Lara Jean chose Peter in the end?
Noah: [Girly voice] Cause he’s cute and you know, he’s nice!
Lana: I think she really comes to life with Peter. And I think he excites her and it might not be the safest choice, but for her, I think, she feels really alive when she’s with him. I think that there is electricity with Peter that she doesn’t have with John Ambrose. I think John makes her feel calm. Peter kind of disrupts that in a way that Lara Jean- she needs that in order to grow. So I think that’s why she ended up choosing him.
Lara Jean mentioned the concept of the Korean word, Jung, which is the non-romantic connection with someone. Since it kind of like added more nuance to their own complicated friendship with the Gen and the other people in their lives. How important is it for people to understand this and, you know, apply it to their daily lives and also their personal relationships?
Lana: It reminds us that we are all connected. And that even when you think you might be the most alone you’ve ever felt, to remember that no matter what, you have connections with people that you might not think you do, but you do. And so when you feel alone to be able to, like, understand you’re not, you can reach out to other people. I think that’s really important. I think the best way I can describe it [Jung] is like with Noah and I, we have been through a very interesting life process where because we have a way bigger exposure than we ever did, and that’s something that we’ve done together so that ultimately ties us together.
Noah: I think the opposite of love is like indifference… And like Jung is even if you hate the person, you still are attached to them emotionally. And so when we feel something for another person, whether it be positive or negative, it’s ultimately because we care about them. And that to me is what Jung means. So just know anyone who’s like trying to figure out how to apply that to their life is like if you really didn’t care about the person, then you wouldn’t feel so shitty when you think about that.
How’s it working together? Especially that this movie is a sequel? And I mean, how is Lana as a leading lady, or how is Noah as a leading man?
Lana: Oh! Working with Noah is really great. I could not imagine anyone else play Peter Kavinsky. I think you’re a really great listener and it shows in your acting.
Noah: As an actress, Lana Condor is absolutely amazing.
How do you guys bond with the other cast?
Noah: We hate them!
Lana: No! They’re so amazing. Every single cast member is amazing and I want them to get as equal recognition as I think we do because they’re so talented and they’re just so fantastic human beings with big beautiful hearts. And they’re so passionate about the project and also have been an amazing support system to me throughout this whole entire process.
For both of you how much has your character grown and what should they work on before the third film comes in?
Lana: I think Lara Jean has grown a lot in the sequel but I think ultimately, it’ll be most fulfilling when you watch the third movie. Cause she really comes into her fully grown in the third movie… My whole thing for the sequel is like I want her to learn to use her voice better. And I want her to take up more space. And I think she’s, I think she’s not as alone. Like she’s more supportive, like friends and families. And the way she holds herself is a little bit more upright and willing to take up a little bit more space, which I think in the first movie, her just even walking down the hallways, you can tell how much she is, you know, just by herself and that’s okay. But I wanted her to be able to present herself better. I think that at the end of the sequel, you can see that she’s making decisions for herself and she’s using her voice a little bit more. But ultimately, I think that it will be the most satisfying to the audience and to myself in the third movie because she really does commit to her own advice, her voice is completely there.
Noah: I think Peter, as a defense mechanism, likes to sugarcoat things. He likes to pretend like everything’s okay. You know, when it’s not. And he really does that in the second movie. And by the end of it, he kind of, I think he realizes that you need to look at the problems that you’re facing–that are facing you. But he reaaalllly learns it in the third movie. That’s definitely part of his arc in the second but the arc will continue. I think you’ll really get to see a character development throughout the third.
Lana: I can’t believe we were talking about the sequel, but now we’re just talking about the third movie!
Do you still write letters on this day and age and do you think there’s something that’s special about writing one?
Lana: Absolutely. Man, I think if there’s one thing that we accomplished during this whole thing is that I think people are writing more letters. I mean, it’s just like, reading a letter is better than receiving a text.
Noah: Yeah and I like writing it too. Something about getting it down a letter and delivering it yourself, or sending it in a mail, it really forces you to sit down and be like, “Let me think about this.”
Lana: Yeah, like, “Let me choose my words carefully.”