Heartstopper stars Kit Connor, Joe Locke talk chemistry reads and potential season 2
Heartstopper is a reminder that joy sells. In a world full of antiheroes, shocking twists, and dark dramas, sometimes, we just need a little light. And Heartstopper is nothing if not full of light.
Based on Alice Oseman's graphic novels of the same name, Heartstopper premiered on Netflix on April 22, introducing the world to the incredibly sweet love story of Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) and Nick Nelson (Kit Connor). Charlie is more of an introvert, completely content with his small group of friends and his nerdy status. Having come out at an early age, he's been subjected to bullying as one of the school's only openly gay students. Nick is the super popular rugby player, friends with the very people that bully Charlie.
But when Nick meets Charlie, everything changes. As Nick starts to question his sexuality, he also starts to question his choice of friends. The result is a love story that manages to be both realistic and optimistic, showing the struggles of discovering who you are while also choosing to show the good that can come out of even the hardest of moments.
For stars Locke and Connor, joining the show was a no-brainer. But now, they just really want to get the chance to keep telling Nick and Charlie's story. EW had a quick chat with the duo about their experience and what makes the show so special.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Starting at the beginning, how did you guys find this project?
JOE LOCKE: I hadn't done any professional acting work before and they did an open call so anyone could audition, didn't need an agent or anything. And so a family friend was like, "Joe you should go for this." And I was like, "Yeah you know what, why not? What's the worst that could happen?" And then as the process got further and further and I got a recall and another recall I was like, "What if this actually happens?" And then it did and this whole experience has just changed my life completely and I feel like I'm living my dream, which is cliché but true.
KIT CONNOR: I got it via my agent. It was a self-tape and they sent through this link to the web comic so I read through the first volume's worth and I was just like, "This is something so special." I had actually heard of Heartstopper before but I'd never gotten around to reading it so then when I was finally able to read it and slowly get through all four volumes I was just like, "Yeah, this is something I've got to be a part of."
Did you audition for your roles originally?
CONNOR: Actually, I did audition for Charlie, which I think a lot of the Heartstopper fans find absolutely ridiculous. [Laughs] I auditioned for Charlie and I did this scene, a monologue where, after their first kiss he's essentially explaining that he completely regrets it and that he's so sorry. It's a beautiful scene and it's a really wonderfully written scene so I was really excited to do it. But yeah, I auditioned for Charlie and then was quite quickly changed over to Nick I think as soon as they saw me really.
Was there a chemistry read between you both?
LOCKE: Yeah, we did a full Covid chemistry read, we were sat like 6 feet away with masks on, so it was an interesting way to meet.
CONNOR: It was a very interesting day. It was so helpful because it did give us all a few hours to get to know each other and befriend one another. By the time we were filming and rehearsing it was like, at least we knew each other. I think immediately the team could see some chemistry between the whole cast.
LOCKE: I did a chemistry read with two different Nicks.
CONNOR: And I did one with two different Charlies. It was very confusing at different times. But we found one another, Joe and I, we found one another.
LOCKE: When we did the chemistry read, everyone else was whittled down. It was just them whereas there were two Charlies left and I didn't know until they had all had the whole day to get to know each other and I walked in in the afternoon, they were all still talking and friends and I was like, "Hi!" [Laughs]
CONNOR: I think that was actually much more impressive, the fact that you were able to walk in after we'd all gotten to know one another and then still get the job, I think that was very impressive Joe, well done.
LOCKE: Thank you Kit. Thank you.
Once you got the roles, did you get to talk to Alice about the characters? What was the process of actually getting to know Nick and Charlie?
CONNOR: Before rehearsals we had separate Zoom calls with the different teams. Those were general discussions about being ready for the role and ready for filming and the character and things like that. But as a cast we all then did about two weeks of rehearsal, two weeks of prep, where we just sort of workshopped the roles and got used to the characters and got to know the characters and to have Alice there was so helpful.
LOCKE: Yeah just being able to go up and be like, "Do you think Charlie would do this?" It was like having a Heartstopper Bible there all day. She was there every day on set but she also wanted us to make the characters our own and bring our own spin on them as well.
Fingers crossed we get a second season. If we do, what would you like to see explored?
LOCKE: I think it's quite easy to look ahead at a second season because of volume three and four of the novels. Charlie develops an eating disorder and his mental health takes a turn for the worse and I think that would be interesting to look into, especially if the show continues to be very much a teen show. Whenever people tackle mental health on TV, it tends to be really dark and I think what our show has really done well so far is tackling issues, but from an optimistic lens. You can always see the light at the end of the tunnel, you always know it's going to get better. I think it'd be really great to look at that more.
CONNOR: I completely agree that that would be a really interesting topic to tackle. I think on a lighter note as well, seeing Tao [William Gao] and Elle's [Yasmine Finney] relationship slowly progress is something that everyone watching season 1 was very keen to see, so I'm sure they'd be very excited for that. But also yeah, touching on what Joe said. I think the relationship between Nick and Charlie, that's a big thing that they go through in volume 3 is how to deal with that as a couple and learning healthy practices as a couple.
LOCKE: But we need everyone to watch season 1 first or else we won't get a season 2. [Laughs]
CONNOR: For sure, season 1 is the priority.
LOCKE: Go watch it, otherwise it won't happen!
Heartstopper season 1 is on Netflix now.