“Internet Boyfriend” and star of Netflix‘s All The Boys trilogy, Noah Centineo, opens up about dating in the age of technology, romantic gestures, and the things he’s looking forward to after playing Peter Kavinsky.
PS: Spoilers ahead!
What do you think is so relatable about Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship?
Because it covers first love, it’s relatable to everyone. I think why people love Lara Jean so much is because of how afraid she is of love—all these big feelings that you’re so afraid of at first, but yet want to embrace it. You really get to watch her process and slowly let Peter into her life and trusting him.
We got it do it in Jenny Han‘s (author of All The Boys series) way, in this vibrant and articulate world where it’s not shadowed and depressing—it’s up-lifting. Even in heartbreak, it’s still magical.
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Do you believe love can overcome anything?
Yes, I believe so. Love is one of the driving forces of the world. Even if you truly disagree with someone, or that someone has hurt you, you can still choose compassion at the end of the day. To me, compassion comes from a place of love.
How do you think Peter has grown since the very first movie?
At the start, he was naïve to what it took to maintain a relationship. He still has issues communicating, but it has gotten better. More than anything, he has learnt to surrender and embrace the things that he’s afraid of. You see his growth and ability to overcome his fear of abandonment and surrender to life, which I think is a mature quality. In the past two films, we haven’t really seen a tender side to Peter. Being able to have a moment of vulnerability and honesty, though subtle, felt necessary to the character.
One defining trait of his that stayed consistent throughout all three films is that he tries his best in everything. I think all you can ask of people is that they try.
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Lara Jean is all about the big gestures and meet-cutes. Personally, how far would you go for love?
There are so many ways to do grand gestures. From going back to the person’s hometown with them, cute necklaces, or even holding space.
Let’s just say that if you’ve done something that unintentionally hurt a person’s feelings, and he/she tells you what you did is wrong but you still fundamentally disagree, it’s romantic to shut up and listen—to not let the person feel like an idiot, and take accountability.
As for romantic gestures, if it feels right, do it!
What is your take on dating these days in the age of technology?
It has its pros and cons. In the past, if you liked someone you’d probably have to pick up the courage to go up to them and talk to them, or make them laugh. They could see you in person, and there was no need for representation on a two-dimensional screen. It was a lot more personal and direct.
Fast forward to now, you have people communicating with each other without actually being there. Suddenly, the interaction becomes less. But, that also means that you’d need more wits, and you’d need to articulate differently. It’s quite interesting.
I think ultimately, technology has helped strengthen a lot of relationships. If you had a long-distance relationship and you couldn’t FaceTime and could only write letters, it’d be a lot more difficult.
What do you hope young audience will takeaway from this latest film?
I hope when young men watch this, they look at the way Peter respects Lara Jean, especially on the aspect of her virginity. For most people, having sex for the first time is sacred, intense and a special moment. It needs to be respected and catered to. I love the way that Peter does that with LJ—going so far as to stop when it doesn’t feel right.
The other thing is to take on what you fear the most. If you’re afraid of something, you should look at it in the face and not avoid it. Dissect it and try to figure out why it scares you so much. To me, what I found was that the fear of something is a lot stronger than the thing itself.
Being seen as the rom-com king now, what roles would you like to take on next?
More action roles, which I’m excited to be doing! I want to do more dramatic, quirky, weird roles even. Maybe not even being the lead actor at all. I just want to play around and explore roles that I’ve never done before.
To All The Boys: Always and Forever premieres on Netflix on 12 February at 4pm.