The last time author Jenny Han was in the Philippines, the movie adaptation of her best-selling novel “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” had just finished filming.
“I’m really excited about it. I got to give notes on the script and I gave a lot of Pinterest boards of how I imagined Lara Jean’s room and clothes and stuff… They were generous in letting me weigh in on things. I went to visit set and it was amazing to see how they all gelled together and how they were all friends. As an author, it was heartwarming to see that,” she told us at a National Book Store event last September.
Jenny told us how happy she was about the casting of Asian-American actresses Lana Condor (Lara Jean), Janel Parrish (Margot) and Anna Cathcart (Kitty) to play the Korean-American Covey sisters.
“To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” is the tale of Lara Jean Covey who likes writing secret love letters to her crushes. No one was ever supposed to read these notes but somehow, they get out, and Lara Jean has to face the consequences.
It’s a story countless fans have fallen in love with and now, four years after the book was published, it’s a story that the Netflix-watching world has become obsessed with.
Since the film began streaming on Netflix on Aug. 17, “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” has spawned a gazillion memes, fan accounts and crushes, mostly on Noah Centineo (now known as “the internet’s collective boyfriend”), who plays Peter Kavinsky, one of the recipients of Lara Jean’s letters.
We caught up with Jenny in this e-mail interview and talked about her cameo, her feelings on the film and, of course, Peter Kavinsky.
The film is out and it’s getting so much love—how are you feeling?
I’m so happy the fans are happy, and I’m so happy the story is finding new fans.
Did you expect the internet to become this obsessed with it?
Never! Certainly not on this level. But I’m so in love with Lana and Noah’s performances, and I’m just glad that other people are, too.
What was it like to shoot your cameo?
I was standing with the little kids, and I kept encouraging them to dance harder, to look like they were having a good time. Meanwhile I was nervous too!
What was your favorite moment from the set?
I loved being there for that opening shot after the daydream, of Lara Jean in her bed. It’s such a pretty bedroom, and it felt so Lara Jean to me.
Can you tell us about the first time you watched the film in its entirety?
I watched it alone. I think I was on book tour, at a hotel. I was nervous, but then as it got going, I felt tremendous relief.
A lot of fans have been posting about their desire to watch the movie over and over. How many times have you watched it?
I think I’ve seen it six or seven times.
Did you get the urge to keep replaying some scenes too? (We sure did!)
Yes, especially the cafeteria scene with the back pocket spin.
Do you have a favorite scene from the movie?
I love the scene where Peter and Lara Jean first arrive at the party, and Noah takes a picture of Lara Jean and makes it his phone background.
Can you talk about the decision to go the Netflix route?
It was the producers’ decision, and I’m so glad they did. Working with Netflix has been an absolute dream. They are creative, collaborative, they understand what their viewers want. Most of all I love that my fans all over the world got to watch the movie at the same time.
What’s the best thing anyone’s ever said to you about the film adaptation?
Someone said it’s the teen movie they wished they had as a teen.
Are you as obsessed with Peter Kavinsky as we are?
I have been obsessed with him since I first started writing the character in 2010!
You talked about how happy you were about casting Asian-American actresses and we think it’s great that it came out right around the same time as “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Searching.” How does it feel to be a part of such a beautiful and long overdue time in pop culture?
It’s an honor. I’m just excited for the moment to continue, so we get to see more stories and more points of view.
Will we be seeing the next books onscreen, too? (Please say yes.)
What advice would you give authors who would like to see film adaptations of their work?
I would tell them to remember that the book and the film are two separate pieces of art, and while the film won’t be a page-by-page interpretation of the book, as long as the spirit of the book is there, you’re okay.
What do you binge-watch on Netflix?
“Stranger Things,” K-dramas, “Ugly Delicious,” “The Good Place”
Your fans in the Philippines have been excited about the film, is there anything you want to tell them?
To all my fans in the Philippines—I love you so much and I tell everyone about how wonderful you are. I’m truly grateful for all the love and support you have given me over the years.