Fans of To All The Boys I Loved Before will definitely love the latest Jenny Han adaptation in Prime Video‘s The Summer I Turned Pretty.
The multigenerational drama that centers on “a love triangle between one girl and two brothers as well as the relationship between mothers and their children, and the enduring power of strong female friendship.” The coming-of-age story tracks first love, first heartbreak and more within a summer.
Shadow and Act recently spoke to Han and series stars Lola Tung (Belly), Christopher Briney (Conrad), Gavin Casalegno (Jeremiah) and Sean Kaufman (Steven) about their characters, building those bonds on-screen and setting the stage for its season 2, which is already official.
On making the books into a series as opposed to films like her previous adaptation, Han said it was something about this work that made it suited to be a series.
“I think that The Summer I Turned Pretty is more meditative or dreamy in a way because it has just this long summer,” Han said. “It’s not doesn’t have the same kind of hook as To All The Boys, which is– girl writes love letters, they get sent out…like it’s a very easy concept to do a film. This is a little harder to pin down what it is. I think you really need those hours in those episodes to really sink into the characters, [live] with them in this world and take your time to like understand who they are. [TV writing] is more similar to novel writing in the way TV is. So I always wanted this TV show just because of that. I originally started writing the first book and I was just going to do one, but then I called my editor when I was like maybe a quarter of the way in it, and I asked can I do a trilogy–which at the time was really rare for contemporary realistic fiction. It was more like fantasies that were trilogies.I said I did all these summers in one girl’s life, and I don’t have enough space in one book to tell the story that I want to tell.”
The series is also chock full of some of the most developed and well-rounded characters that you’ll see in the YA drama space. Casalegno’s Jeremiah is one of them. Compared to a golden retriever in the series, the actor spoke about his happy-go-lucky nature.
“Personally, I do that a lot in my own life and I’ve kind of had to learn where that’s healthy and where that’s not, because I love trying to be that person for everybody and that happy-go-lucky golden retriever. That’s a lot of who I am, which is why I connected with Jeremiah so well and quickly I also think there’s there’s a deeper side to him and there’s a side that is going to be explored more with just his insecurities and with his [lack of] confidence sometimes. I was starting to find even more of the insecurities which were so beautifully unfolding in scenes with Belly, and in scenes with Conrad, and in scenes with Steven– I think every single scene with them kind of allowed me to just peel back another layer. I think that’s such a beautiful, combination of the happy-go-lucky golden retriever to like, deep down, he is kind of that insecure, normal teenage guy.”
And Season 2 already has source material in that Han wrote a trilogy for this just like To All The Boys. Briney is excited to see this change in the characters, especially given the emotional yet romantic end to season 1.
“I think it ends so beautifully,” he told us. “It’s such a grand moment. And I want Season 2 to explore why it’s not a fairytale ending. I won’t speak for Belly. But for Conrad, he has a lot to learn. He’s 17, about to be 18. He’s about to go to college. There’s a lot of change in his life going on, and I think that as people change, relationships change, and you have to readjust and realign yourself and calibrate yourself in the direction you’re headed.”
The first season is streaming now on Amazon’s Prime Video. Watch the full interviews below: