To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has charmed a legion of Netflix viewers thanks in no small part to Lana Condor. The actress, 21, anchors the romantic comedy as high school junior Lara Jean, whose life is turned upside down when her private love letters are inadvertently sent out into the world. Adapted from the best-selling YA novel by Jenny Han, To All the Boys has everything one would want from a feel-good film: two adorable love interests (Noah Centineo and Israel Broussard), a DILF (John Corbett), and plenty of lovesick high school drama.
Condor chatted with EW about the responsibilities of portraying such a beloved character, where she comes down in the Josh vs. Peter debate, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How would you describe the character of Lara Jean to someone who hasn’t read the book?
LANA CONDOR: Lara Jean is an introvert who lives more in her head and in her fantasies than she does in real life. She is blissfully unaware of, I think, romantic encounters in her life, but she is a romantic. She’s just stuck in her fantasies. She has an understated humor about her. I think she’s funnier than people in the book think she is. And she’s a very, very loyal sister. I think that’s how I would describe her.
Did you feel pressure portraying a character from a book that has such devoted fans?
Absolutely. I’ve been blessed in my career to have worked on projects that already have a pre-existing book or comic fan base, and with that definitely comes a responsibility, not only to hope that you do this character justice for the fans, but also especially for To All the Boys, my biggest concern was praying that I did a good job for Jenny Han, the author. And I get nervous because playing pre-existing characters is hard because everyone who reads the comic or reads the book has an idea of what this person should already be in their head. But I’m not a mind reader! I can only do the best I can from what I read from the book, and hopefully it translates on camera.
I feel honored, but I definitely get nervous. Like, the other day I messed up and I had this press thing and I was prepping for it, and I watched these videos on YouTube about “casting for To All the Boys!” and “To All The Boys is becoming a movie!” and all this stuff. I got so in-my-head and nervous because I was reading and watching bloggers’ and YouTubers’ reaction to casting of their beloved book, and I just really am hoping that I’m close to the book and fans of the book are happy with my performance. But that’s out of my hands now!
Are you a YA fan yourself?
I have read the Divergent series, I obviously read Harry Potter. Here’s the thing: I would like to know more about YA and read more of it, but I tend to be a thriller reader. I love adult thrillers and murder mysteries and everything like that. So on my bookshelf, I tend to have more murder mysteries than I do YA. However, when I was reading the [To All the Boys] series, I definitely loved it. I think it’s really feel-good, and it’s so accurate. YA, I feel, is so accurate to what it is like be a teenager, and the realities of being a teenager and being in love. So I think I have to read more YA books, for sure.
Are you more of a Lara Jean, a Margot, or a Kitty?
Lara for sure, for sure. I’m not as clear-headed as Margot is, in my real life, and I’m not as mischievous as Kitty is, in my real life. I think I do tend to live a little bit more in my head, in a fantasy world, just as Lana, which I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing. I mean, I’m easily entertained, especially by myself. So I think Lara Jean is who I’m standing by.
Team Peter or Team Josh?
Me personally? Team Peter, Team Peter. See, here’s the thing: Team Josh is your safe bet. But Peter, in the long run, will provide excitement. I think in a relationship, safety is always great, but in a long-term relationship, something that will withstand time, being excited and being stimulated is very important. So I think I would get more of that from Peter.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is now streaming on Netflix.