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The Kissing Booth 3's Meganne Young Bids Farewell To The Popular Romantic Comedy Series - Exclusive Interview

We all know Meganne Young as Rachel from the Netflix "Kissing Booth" trilogy. But before all that, she landed her first role in a major film with 2014's "The Giver" as part of an ensemble that included Taylor Swift, Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgård, and Katie Holmes. She's been seen on TV as well, with stints on "Black Sails" and the CW series "Supernatural" and "Legends of Tomorrow" while continuing to appear in films such as "Eye in the Sky" and "Blood Drive."

Now, we're finally getting the highly anticipated "The Kissing Booth 3," and with it, closure for the characters fans have followed for four years. Set right after Elle, Lee, and Rachel's graduation, the movie kicks off in the summer before college, when each character has to decide the right post-high school plans for themselves — no matter what anyone else wants for them.

During an exclusive interview, Looper spoke to Meganne Young about saying goodbye to the trilogy, working with Molly Ringwald, which cast member broke the most on set, and how she feels about Rachel's ending.

The cinematic high school experience

The first "Kissing Booth" movie arrived in 2018, and now it's 2021. That's the same length of time that an actual high school experience would last. How do you think your character has grown and changed since the first movie, and what have you taken away from the experience?

I think she has grown so much. I'm incredibly proud of Rachel. I think she's an amazing young woman. I think she's incredibly strong and thoughtful, and compassionate. I think throughout the movies, you just see her lean into those qualities even more and trust herself even more. I admire that so much because I think I struggled a lot with that when I was in high school, to really lean into myself and trust my gut and my intuition. I've definitely taken that away from playing her.

I love that she sort of puts herself first, and we don't see that from a lot of the other characters. Is that something that drew you to the role?

Yeah, I think it's hard. It's hard to put yourself first. I mean, it's so easily said, but it can be really difficult — especially when you are a kind and giving person. All of these characters are filled with so much love, and they care about each other, so it can be difficult. I really love that, because that's something that really stands out. I, again, I just love that that's a message she's putting out as a character.

Molly Ringwald: The OG teen queen

Molly Ringwald was also a teen movie star herself. What was it like working with her, and how did she feel about the "Breakfast Club" Easter eggs and other classic teen movie references that the films had throughout the series?

I mean, I love those Easter eggs. I think that's part of the reason the franchise is so successful, and it crosses all ages, all generations. Because of that, there is a timelessness to it — which was obviously well thought out and purposeful from Vince [Marcello]. Molly is just so lovely. There's not a scratch of ego. She was just so warm. So professional. I definitely chatted to her about some advice, and she was just really cool to hang out with. She was just so down to earth and so easygoing.

How do you think "The Kissing Booth" fits into the catalog of teen movies that you grew up with or other generations have grown up with?

I think it fits because it obviously resonates with a lot of people just like those films did. But again, going back to that kind of timeless quality of it, I wonder ... I'd love to in 10 years' time do an interview about "The Kissing Booth" and see the longevity of it and see how that popularity continues. And if it's kind of shared down into generations. My mom showed me "Dirty Dancing" for the first time. Not necessarily a teen movie, but that's a movie that she loved, and then she showed me that. Who am I going to show "Kissing Booth" to?

Graduating from a franchise

It's always tough wrapping up something that you've been a part of for so long. What was the last day on set like, and what will you miss most about the cast and the experience?

It was hard. I cried a lot. I remember being ... I think all of us were exhausted because we shot two movies at the same time. That's not easy. That's a lot of work, and we were kind of chopping and changing. It required a lot of energy. There are a lot of things happening. There's a lot of emotional stuff happening. 

I do think we all kind of got to the end, and we were tired. We did want to go home because you'd been away from home for so long, but then we knew that doing that meant saying goodbye to each other. It honestly was such a highlight of my career. I had the best time shooting, especially the second and third films, once we'd all really settled in. Coming back and being reunited, it was really difficult and emotional, and bittersweet.

Finding Rachel's inner sass

Do you have a favorite moment from the set or from the movie itself? A favorite line? A favorite scene?

I don't know. Am I allowed to say this? In the second "Kissing Booth," when Rachel's crying after the Thanksgiving dinner and she's run out, and she's realized that Lee didn't tell Elle everything. And then Elle comes to see her. Elle's like, "Yeah, I didn't realize I was," and Rachel just goes, "C***blocking." I'm sorry, I don't know if I'm allowed to say that, but I loved it because I was like, "Ooh, Rachel, saucy. Whatcha doing? I got some spice." I kind of liked that. It kind of gave her a little bit of an edge because she's seen as such a sweet girl, and she is, but I liked that she had a little edge. That was my favorite.

I love when characters who tend to be a little bit milder just go off.

Oh yeah.

Women supporting other women

One of the best aspects of the series is that the women are never really pitted against each other as enemies for more than a fleeting moment or a flare-up of jealousy or a misunderstanding. How do you think the female friendships have impacted the films? Was that something that drew you to the role?

I think, initially, when Vince was kind of walking me through what was going to happen with the relationships, he kind of told me in a more of a step-by-step process. This was before I got a script to read. When I got to actually read the words of what they were saying, I really loved that it wasn't about jealousy. It wasn't about her. It wasn't about Rachel feeling threatened by Elle. It's been interesting because since the second movie came out, I wonder about what'll happen with the third as well. There were a lot of discussions online.

People felt really passionate about Rachel, and some loved what she was saying and standing for. A lot of people were like, "I don't get it. She's getting in the way." It kind of sparked a little bit of conversation, and that I really appreciated because I don't feel like I played her in a jealous way. I don't think she was threatened by Elle because she was another woman. I think that's really important to have that narrative told, that story told, but I love that it got people talking, you know what I mean? That's kind of ... I think it's an important conversation because I do think women get pitted against each other all the time, especially when there's a man involved. It's just like, ugh, so old. So boring. Stop doing that.

Definitely. It was so refreshing to see that. We don't only even see it with Rachel, we see it with a few different characters. I love it.

For sure.

A positive portrayal of female friendship

And how do you think the depictions of female friendship can positively affect the many young women who are watching the series, and what can they learn from some of these character interactions?

I think it's just that allyship between the women, even with Chloe and Elle's relationship. They are on each other's side. They're supportive of each other. They understand there's a lot of compassion. I just feel like you can all be very different. You can all have different roles and relationships in that kind of ensemble or group or whatever, but there is space for all of you. There's enough space for everyone, and there's enough love for everyone. I think as soon as you start acknowledging that, you just bring in more: more positive, more love, more support, more best friends being proud of each other. You know what I mean?

Without giving anything away, how do you feel about Rachel's ending? Was it what you were expecting? Were you surprised?

I think it was what I was expecting. I think leaving the first film, and I started kind of coming in, before I knew what was going to happen, I was like, "Oh, I kind of hope we get to see this." I was really happy.

The end of an era

When you filmed your last scene, were you all together in the last scene? Or did you all sort of leave the set separately?

My last scene was, I was on the same day, but my scene was on my own. That was quite hard, actually, because I watched some of the others wrap up together. They would finish a scene, and one or both people would be like, "And that's a wrap." They're done with a wrap. But with me, it was the scene where Rachel, I think it's in the second movie, when she's waiting outside of the movie theater. She's waiting for Lee, and he's not there. That was my last scene. It was kind of sad, and I was on my own. I was like, "Aw, I wish I had, I wish it had been scheduled so I could be with someone to say goodbye."

It always seems like the last scenes tend to be the saddest or the hardest. You leave on this note, and you're like, "Agh."

Yeah. Or they're just really small things. There's no dialogue — you're just walking from one side, and it's like, "Okay, you're done." It's a little bit anticlimactic. You're just like, "Okay."

Which would you prefer? Sad alone scene or walking away without dialogue?

I mean, I didn't have dialogue in that scene either. I think I would prefer, I think next time I should write it in my contract that I'm not allowed to finish with a scene on my own. I have to have a friend. Someone has to be with me.

Saying goodbye to high school

This is the first film of the franchise that doesn't really take place in the high school. What was that change like?

So awesome because most of the second film when we were at school was shot in Cape Town during the winter. And it was real cold. It doesn't look like it because you don't get a lot of rain, but it was freezing. By the time we kind of changed into that summer location, we actually ended up in Durban by the beach, and it was ... it wasn't boiling hot or anything, but it was much warmer. We would sit on the beach, and just for the location reason, that was the best.

Definitely. Did you get to have any off-set fun at the beach?

We had a couple of little cast picnics on the beach. Just a couple of, I don't know, we would run errands together or work out together. Joey [King] and I would work out by the hotel on a grassy area outside. That was really nice. We didn't have a ton of time there, so it was pretty low-key, but mostly eating and working out.

That's amazing. What do you hope that fans will take away from the film?

I hope that they feel inspired. I hope that ... it's always difficult to say goodbye to any chapter in your life, whether it's high school or a job, or a relationship. It's always hard to close a door, but it's that knowing that there's so much more ahead of you. There's more, and it's all going to be great. And it's exciting and that bittersweetness. I know that they'll be sad that it's done. I still think they'll love the movie. I think it's so fun, but I hope they feel inspired by that and inspired by the characters and what happens to them.

Breaking on-set

Definitely. What was it like working with Joey [King], Joel [Courtney], and Jacob [Elordi]? Do you have a favorite scene with each of them?

So great. I mean, I feel like people are getting tired of us saying how fun it was to work together because we're always like, "It was great. It was awesome." And it really was. We're not making it up. I think what I really enjoyed, especially naming those three, was we did a lot of montage scenes together, and that was really cool. It was just really cool because they were short and fun, and snappy. We were doing all different things — lots of improv and quite spontaneous. I really enjoyed those moments with the cast.

Was there anyone that broke particularly a lot on film? Any fun things that happened on set?

I feel like Joey and Joel together, I feel like they were always cracking up, or they were cracking us up. Joey was always cracking me up. Either leaping out and scaring me or just, I don't know, just being Joey and always so alive. I don't know, lively and fun. So those two.

Never has she ever worked on Never Have I Ever

Netflix is making so much incredible original content these days. Are there any other Netflix franchises, TV shows, or movies that you'd like to be a part of?

I don't know about being a part of this, but I just finished watching "Never Have I Ever," the second season. So good!

I'm obsessed with that show!

I'm like, I don't want to spoil that show for anyone who watches this, but at the ending, I was like, "Oh, I don't know. Who do I want? Who do I want her to be with?" I love Netflix. I feel like it's always pushing the envelope. I love that they're always wanting to tell all different kinds of stories and support all different voices. I mean, if there's a role for me on that one, I don't know who's in charge, but I'd do it. Anything to be on that set. So fun. That's the first one that comes to mind. I'm sure there are a million, though.

"Kissing Booth" fans can tune into the third installment of the series on August 11 via Netflix.