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SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not watched The Kissing Booth 3, out now on Netflix.
The third movie in rom-com franchise The Kissing Booth just dropped on Netflix this Wednesday (read a review here). As the series wraps, fans surely can't wait to see whether Elle chooses to go to Harvard University (for boyfriend Noah) or Berkeley (for bestie Lee), and where her relationships with both of them will go.
While TKB's main romantic storyline(s) have centred around Elle (Joey King) and Noah (Jacob Elordi), Lee and Rachel, played by Joel Courtney and Meganne Young, form the secondary couple in the series.
In an exclusive interview, we spoke with Joel and Meganne over Zoom to plumb their thoughts about the last Kissing Booth movie. They talked about the unexpected ending, what exactly happened during the time jump at the end of the movie, their own experiences with long-distance relationships, and whether they'd be game to return if The Kissing Booth 4 were ever made.
The Kissing Booth 3 has quite a non-traditional ending for a romantic comedy, in terms of the way Elle and Noah's relationship plays out. What did you think of the ending?
Meganne: I think it's refreshing. I feel like these movies are taking everything that you love about a good rom-com, but I think it's kind of modernising it and it's not sticking to this narrative of boy meets girl and they fall in love and it's straightforward. It's bringing in the realities of relationships, and the complexities of relationships and challenges of relationships in all areas, whether it's romantic or with your family or your friends. I actually think that it's way more interesting and has a lot more depth and a lot more value. I think that's why these movies have been so popular – because they kind of challenged those original ideals for a rom-com.
Joel: I love that. I love that answer. She stole the words right out of my mouth! I don't see any adding to that answer.
There's a six-year time jump at the end of the movie, where we see the characters two years after they've finished college. Lee and Rachel are together again – engaged, in fact – after having broken up. What happens for them during those six years and how did they get back together?
M: I would imagine they kept in touch. I could definitely see them taking a little bit of a break from communication, but every now and then checking in with each other, and keeping track of each other. You know, with social media, you always see what's happening. I imagined them to just feel very organic and always finding each other, and probably building a really strong friendship over time, just by keeping track of what's going on and communicating. I think it would have been a very sweet, slow burning journey back to one another, that's what I imagine.
J: I kind of saw Lee as not ever really getting over Rachel, but acknowledging that, I'm just kind of doing my thing right now and she's doing her thing. That little bit of connection with Rachel never really went away. They stayed in touch, and like Meganne said, I think they just kind of kept in touch enough to keep the friendship growing little by little and it never really died out, and then that friendship really turned into a long lasting friendship. And Lee took a chance and said, why don't we do this properly after college?
By the time we pick it up (after the six year jump), it's not like they're dating again; they're already engaged. So, I mean, even after four years (of college), if you start intentionally hanging out and start dating again, give time for the relationship to grow and then get engaged. I'd say, I like six years as the window that seems very intentional. It's not like, oh let's pick a random number. I think that came from a good amount of thought.
M: And then once they knew what they wanted, that was it. Like, once you really know and there's no room for any kind of questioning, then just go for it, right?
Lee and Rachel broke up at first because Rachel thought they wouldn't be able to deal with a long-distance relationship, studying at schools at opposite ends of the country. Personally, do you think long-distance relationships can work?
J: Well, I definitely do. Mine worked out, and not that it didn't have its struggles, and we actually did end up breaking up for a little bit, but we ended up coming back together and dating again and getting engaged, not unlike Rachel and Lee. It can work. It is tough. It takes a lot of communication, a lot of openness, a lot of willingness to just let the relationship breathe. Just because you can't get together in person doesn't mean that a relationship can't grow. You just have to have two people that are willing to put the work in and be loyal, be faithful, be honest, and be the most communicative that they can be.
M: I would definitely agree. I've been in long-distance relationships before, and I think communication is so important, and you learn very quickly how important communication is. You have to really develop that skill, and be willing to listen and adjust and make the other person feel safe and comfortable, but also keep yourself happy and and emotionally safe. I definitely think it can work. I think if it's meant to work out, it will. It is challenging, it definitely is not for the fainthearted.
Is The Kissing Booth 4 absolutely out of the question?
M: I mean, never say never.
J: Yeah, never say never. Maybe, like, a long ways off. But I would say, not in the foreseeable future.
M: Yeah, Joel, let's come back when we're like in our 40s, or 50s!
J: Yeah. It could be like, when our generation's kids are going to high school and like, how are we handling the kids?
M: Yeah, I'd be down to do that!
What projects are you working on after The Kissing Booth 3?
J: I'm part of a movie called Players. It's actually a comedy, and I'm having the time of my life. It's starring Gina Rodriguez, Tom Ellis, Damon Wayans Jr. – who is freaking hysterical – and Augustus Prew and Liza Koshy. It's just been the time of my life. We're two weeks (into shooting), we've got a couple more weeks to go, and it's been a really, really wonderful time. Storyline wise, I'm not really sure how much I'm allowed to say, so I'll just leave you with "it's going to be amazing".
M: I have a few things that I'm in talks about, so I can't really talk about them. But I do want to say, Joel, I'm so jealous. I love Gina. I'm such a fan. I'm so jealous that you're working with her.
J: I know, she's incredible. To be working with her, I'm very honoured.
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