Jacob Elordi may not be a fan of the three Kissing Booth movies he made, but his costar Taylor Zakhar Perez is ready to lay a big smooch on the rom-com series.
The latter actor defended the Netflix trilogy while speaking to Variety on Thursday, after Elordi made headlines for bashing the lighthearted films and calling them “ridiculous.”
“I thought it was a shame because to my knowledge, everybody else had such a wonderful experience,” said Perez, who’s also known for starring in the Prime Video rom-com Red, White & Royal Blue. “It’s a shame that was [Elordi’s] experience on the set. Especially when those movies came out, it was a time when we really needed something like that.”
The Kissing Booth and its sequels debuted on Netflix in 2018, 2020, and 2021, with the latter two premiering during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Elordi, who is having a breakout year with Priscilla and Saltburn, came under fire earlier this week for saying in a GQ cover story, “I didn’t want to make those [Kissing Booth] movies before I made those movies. Those movies are ridiculous. They’re not universal. They’re an escape.”
For Perez, the escape was the whole point. “I know from our fan interactions, getting stopped everywhere I go, what Kissing Booth means to people and what it brought them during such a dark time,” he said. “I guess the silver lining is he still made people laugh and feel good.”
Elordi starred in all three films as Noah Flynn, the jock love interest to Joey King’s Elle Evans. Perez joined the franchise for the second film as Marco, a new kid at school who becomes a rival for Elle’s affections, and reprised the role in the third movie.
Elordi also spoke to Variety on Thursday, and said he hadn’t heard from any of his Kissing Booth colleagues about what he’d said. But, he clarified, “I’m incredibly grateful to everybody in it.”
Representatives for Perez and Elordi didn’t immediately respond to EW’s request for further comment Friday.