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Joey King Reveals How She Became An Action-Star Royal In The Princess - Exclusive Interview

As the title character in "The Princess," Joey King doesn't do much talking. That's because she doesn't have to. She lets her fists do the talking for her, and what she's saying is loud and clear: Don't mess with her or her family's kingdom. 

While the story starts like many fairy tales, with the King's unnamed royal decked out in a white dress waiting in the tallest tower in her castle for her prince to come, the reality of the situation is far from romantic. The Princess isn't there by choice; Sir Julius (Dominic Cooper), a callous and arrogant aristocrat intent on seizing her father's throne, has overrun the kingdom with his mercenaries and taken the royal family captive. What he and his men don't know, however, is that the Princess is no damsel in distress. She's been secretly training for battle her whole life, and now she'll use all the skills she's learned to do everything in her power to take the kingdom back from Julius.

Joey King, who's known for her starring role in the teen rom-com "The Kissing Booth" and her Emmy-nominated turn in the true-crime series "The Act," is a force to be reckoned with in "The Princess." It's a remarkably physical performance in which she conveys as much with her face and her body as she does through her words. She imbues the Princess with such determination and bravery that it's impossible not to become engrossed in her fight to save herself and her loved ones. In an exclusive conversation, King spoke to Looper about her stunt training for "The Princess," why she wanted to be part of the film, and how the story straddles the line between an empowering message and a rip-roaring good time.

Learning to kick ass in a very short amount of time

The stunts and fight sequences in "The Princess" are amazing. What kind of training did you have to undergo to perform in them?

A lot of training. I had no prior training in sword fighting, stunt fighting, [or] hand-to-hand combat, so I worked with some people that were so patient, so supportive, so lovely, and they taught me everything I knew [in] a very short period of time. I was so lucky. I worked with some incredible people. Our whole stunt team supported me and lifted me up in ways that I'll never be able to thank them enough for. I was able to get to a point where I did 85-90% of what you see on camera, and it was only because the people around me were so supportive and made me feel like I could genuinely do anything.

That's unbelievable. Congratulations.

Thank you.

King was drawn to the movie because it excited and scared her

You also executive produced this movie. What was it about the film that resonated with you?

This movie resonated with me because when I read the script, I was like, "Holy crap. I don't know if I can pull this off, but I know I want to try." It scared me a little bit. I knew that I would have to jump into the deep end, as far as starting my martial arts training — give myself over to that and be willing to get hurt. It really excited me and scared me, and I'd never taken anything on like it before. 

I loved this empowerment story of someone who's so underestimated and comes out on top. All of it made sense to me, and I was so lucky that I was able to not just come on as the lead of the movie, but as an executive producer, and be able to have my mark on this movie in more than one [way].

A movie with a message that's also 'so much fun'

The film's message is very empowering. Every man in the story underestimates or wants to control the Princess, but she doesn't let it happen. Why did you feel it was a good message to convey in this format?

It's a story of empowerment of a person who is underestimated, like you said, and I love that our message is definitely not the part of the story that's being shoved down your throat and in your face. Our message is to have a great time when you watch this movie, and to take away the deeper message within that is definitely obvious and it's in there, but we want you to first and foremost have so much fun while taking in this deeper meaning. I love that it's in this format because it's a great message to have, but it also feels like it's woven into a movie that wants you to appreciate the whirlwind of the world that it's in.

The Princess is streaming on Hulu starting July 1. 

This interview was edited for clarity.