Joey King has been dazzling the screen with her goofy presence and quirky charm since she was four years old. From her first few roles in TV commercials through her first major role opposite Selena Gomez in Ramona and Beezus through to her most recent roles in The Kissing Booth and Slenderman, King has done nothing but prove she is an actress to be reckoned with. We got the opportunity to speak with her about her upcoming roles, what it was like working on her recent movies, and some of her favorite parts of acting in our Fall 2018 issue.
Let’s start by talking about your recent and upcoming projects! Tell me a little bit about Slenderman and your character, Wren.
I would say she’s pretty feisty. She’s sarcastic; she’s got a quick wit and a sense of humor about her that not everyone finds charming. She thinks she’s the most charming person on the planet but no one else does. But I think what’s crazy about Wren is that she uses her humor as a defense mechanism and really just a troubled girl. She makes a lot of mistakes and hurts a lot of people. Even though she thinks she’s helping people, she has to go through a lot In the movie before she realizes what she’s done but by then it’s already too late.
What was it like playing such a dynamic character?
Wren was so much fun to play. There are so many layers and emotional things that had to come through her and I was so excited that I got to be the one to do that. I think she’s really special.
Did you have nightmares after working with a “real-life” Slenderman every day?
Well the guy that played Slenderman, his name is Javier Botet. He is just the funniest man and everyone loved him so much. And when he would suit up as and it would really freak me out but he was just such a nice guy. But when I would go back to my hotel room after a day on set, I would sleep with my lights on because, you know of course I would play with my lights on after filming Slenderman. I would check my closet every night before I went to sleep.
That is amazing. So let’s talk a bit about the other projects you have coming up!
Gosh, I am so excited for all of them. The In-Between is going to be amazing. We just sold it, and it’s such a great story. It’s basically like the movie Ghost for teenagers. It’s a love story honestly, and it’s really heartbreaking, and it’s going to be so awesome. I can’t wait to start making it.
I’m so excited for Summer ‘03 to come out. I love that movie so much, and I had so much fun making it. It’s so wild and inappropriate and hilarious. I cannot wait. I think that people will have very strong feelings about it, and I hope that they love it because I love it so much. It’s just such a wild movie.
Then I have another film coming out called The Lie. That movie is going to be such a transition for me. It’s such a contrast between Summer ‘03 and The Kissing Booth because I play such a dark, just sad, sad girl and so many horrible things happen in this movie. It’s going to be crazy to watch everything unfold. I’m so excited for that to come out, too.
If I connect to something and I connect with a character, being able to step on that set and become that character is a dream come true. Every time.
It sounds like you’re going to get all of your acting muscles. That must be so fun for you. What is it like getting into character for you?
Getting like into the head of essentially another person is crazy because you really do have to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Something that might really make your character happy and might not make you laugh or something that might make your character sad may not affect you at all. It’s really, really fun for me to jump into it headfirst. But at the end of the day, it’s important for me to have fun and never take myself too seriously. I always try and make sure no matter what role, no matter what set, that I just have a freaking awesome time.
Do you have any ultimate goals or anything that you’ve always dreamed of doing career-wise?
I have so many wants and desires for my career, but I never ever want to get stuck on an idea of a dream role. Part of me is like, ‘Oh my god I have so many dream roles.’ One of my life dreams is to be in a movie musical like The Greatest Showman, which is one of my favorite movies from the last year. So there’s stuff like that, but then at the same time I never want to say anything is my dream role because every time I decide to take a role, chances are I consider that a dream role. If I connect to something and I connect with a character, being able to step on that set and become that character is a dream come true. Every time.
So I’ve heard and read that you’re a pretty big Molly Ringwald fan. Was it fun like actually working with her?
Oh my god, she was so, so nice. Honestly it was so cool to get to work with her. Every day that she would be on set was just such a cool feeling. It was such a cool vibe. She’s so cool, and she’s an icon and such a legend. It’s her genre—she owns that genre, so being able to be in a movie with her, in the genre that is just like her zone; it was so surreal.
I didn’t know you filmed The Kissing Booth in South Africa. What was that like?
My god, it was the best experience my whole life. I’m so happy that we got to film there. Honestly if we had filmed in LA, it would have been cool, but everything about shooting was so perfect especially where we were you know. It was honestly incredible. I loved it so much.
From the sounds of things, you like to travel!
I do. I love to travel, but I don’t really get to travel if it’s not for work. But even though South Africa was for work, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect experience. A little while back I went to Germany which was just for fun, and that was really great. But, yeah, I love, love, love to travel and I hope to do even more because I just love it so much. I love learning about new places and learning the history of the cities. It’s a life changing experience. I would always try to push that everybody around me travel as much as possible.
What kinds of things did you see/do in Germany?
I went to Berlin when I was in Germany and that’s the only thing I went to when I was there. Learning about what that city and the whole country has just been through was insane. I was so shocked by the amount of history that was there besides what I already knew. I was so grateful that I actually went there to experience it and see the sights and just take it all in. It was really powerful. And also, the beer and pretzels are delicious. That is the most important thing.
STORY GINA DECICCO
PHOTOS RAUL ROMO
MAKEUP ALLAN AVENDAÑO
HAIR AVIVA PEREA
STYLIST KATIE QIAN
CREATIVE DIRECTION ANNA ZHANG