I've personally never played an ex's love interest in a movie, but I imagine it's awko-taco. How Jacob Elordi and Joey King managed to do it for The Kissing Booth 2 is a mystery to me, especially since their scenes together are seriously steamy. (Did anyone else literally gasp when Noah scooped Elle up in his dorm room? I can't be the only one.) IMO, their onscreen chemistry is just as strong in TBK2 as it is in the first movie — which was filmed while they were still dating IRL — but Jacob Elordi and Joey King's quotes about working together after breaking up prove they're even better actors than I realized.
King first addressed the awkwardness of working with her ex during an Oct. 2019 episode of the podcast Mood With Lauren Elizabeth, saying it was a "sacrifice" she was willing to make for the sake of their fans. "It was fine. It was good," King said. "...what, obviously, everyone is thinking about — outwardly addressing — but what I'm kind of on the sly addressing [is that] making those sacrifices was totally worth it." Later, she added, "It was a wild experience. But honestly, it was a really beautiful time. Because I learned a lot about myself and I grew as an actor. I grew as a person on this." Hmm...
While I thought Elle and Noah were fire together in TKB2, some fans weren't as convinced. During an interview with Access Hollywood in July 2020, Elordi responded to fans who thought he looked less than thrilled about reprising his role. According to him, he'd just finished filming Season 1 of Euphoria before production began on TKB2, and he was feeling pretty burnt out. "I was bloody tired, but I wasn't miserable," he said. "Quote that, please. I had a blast." He also blamed his seemingly sour expression on his "resting miserable face." So basically, Elordi "wasn't miserable" and King was making a "sacrifice." Gotcha.
Elordi and King first met on the set of The Kissing Booth in 2017, and it wasn't long before sparks started flying. "Right away we were talking about gross things with each other," King revealed to Bello Mag in May 2018. "But before long I started to realize, 'Hey, I think I kind of like this person!'" After nearly two years of dating, the actors decided to go their separate ways. A March 2019 Refinery29 interview referred to Elordi as King's "recent ex," and King admitted the breakup had been tough. "...when you're going through something and the world wants to go through it with you or to get every piece of detail from you about it, it's really difficult," she explained.
It's already been confirmed The Kissing Booth 3 will drop on Netflix in 2021, and yes, both Elordi and King are in it. I have no clue whether filming TKB3 was any less awkward, especially since Elordi is reportedly dating Zendaya and King is reportedly dating producer Steven Piet. (None of the stars' reps responded to Elite Daily's request for comment on the rumored relationships.) But here's hoping the experience wasn't too uncomfy for the exes.