Noah Centineo is no stranger to working in movies based on books, and his latest Netflix rom-com The Perfect Date is no exception. Before he brings literary heartthrob Peter Kavinsky back to life in Netflix's To All the Boys I've Loved Before sequel, Centineo headlines The Perfect Date, stepping into the shoes of another fictional character who first debuted on novel pages. What book is The Perfect Date based on? Steve Bloom's The Stand-In was the source material for Netflix's latest teen flick.
Centineo first became a standard Netflix star after playing high school jock Peter Kavinsky in 2018's To All the Boys I've Loved Before. Following another Netflix role in Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, Centineo plays high school senior Brooks Rattigan in The Perfect Date, which premiered on the streaming service on April 12. The character hopes to attend Yale University, but he needs to find a creative way to earn extra money for tuition. After escorting a classmate's cousin (Laura Marano) to a school dance in exchange for cash, Brooks convinces best friend Murph (Odiseas Georgiadi) to create an app advertising Brooks' "stand-in" services for girls needing a date. The app becomes a hit, but Brooks begins to realize that choosing these experiences over his real life is more complicated than it first seemed.
The Perfect Date is based on Steve Bloom's The Stand-In, a young adult story first published in 2016 and now available for physical purchase and Kindle download via Amazon. While the basics of the book are the same as the film adaptation, there are a few notable differences. Firstly, rather than opening his services to anyone in need, Brooks in the book initially offers himself as an escort to specifically wealthy families. Instead of Yale, his collegiate dreams point toward Columbia University, and he plans to use his escorting cash to hire a tutor and ease his admission process.
Bloom is credited as a co-screenwriter on The Perfect Date, and according to an interview with Mass Live, the novel actually began as a screenplay after Bloom learned of a friend's daughter who suddenly needed a prom date. Although he had a background in screenwriting and high-profile actors such as Zac Efron and Shia LaBeouf were once attached to the script, the project was never made, prompting its transition into a book. The change of plans evidently worked, as production company Awesomeness Films contacted Bloom about the script on the same day he received a publishing deal for The Stand-In.
As late as September 2018, The Perfect Date was even called The Stand-In. It makes sense that the switch to a catchier title occurred, but other than that, it sounds like the movie is a strong representation of the original story that uses cinematic flourishes to its advantage. Marano told The Hollywood Reporter about the movie's unique touches, saying:
The Perfect Date is different because it takes all these stereotypes and archetypes in rom-coms and completely turns them on their head... We don’t have our two main characters realize they like each other because they're jealous... It's more that they realize that it's not a substantial thing with that other person. It's more substantial between the two of them.
Whether the cast and crew of The Perfect Date will return for a sequel is unknown, but if you're in need of more Brooks and Celia, then Bloom's book is for you.
The Perfect Date is currently streaming on Netflix.