In retrospect, it’s a miracle that “The Kissing Booth 3” was made at all.

Not because “The Kissing Booth” was initially an independent film in 2018 – before the summer rom-com about a high school girl who falls in love with her best friend’s brother became an unexpected hit on Netflix. And not because of the pandemic; this last chapter was filmed earlier, in 2019, at the same time as “The Kissing Booth 2”.

It is noteworthy that Joey King and her co-workers, having a good time doing it, filmed a montage in a water park and drove go-karts in Mario-kart-like costumes on a work day fighting in giant inflatable sumo suits , remarkable focus enough to get the job done.

“When you put us in a room and expect us to do a lot of productive things, it becomes difficult,” said King, the 22-year-old star of the franchise, on a video call. “We’re like 12-year-old boys.”

The final film in the trilogy, streamed on Wednesday, follows Elle, King’s character, through her final summer before college as she juggles with boyfriend Noah (Jacob Elordi) and the aforementioned antics with her friend Lee (Joel Courtney) checked in a last-ditch effort to complete her childhood bucket list.

One of her next projects has a different vibe: King described “The Princess”, which she is shooting this summer in Bulgaria, as an action film, “The Raid: Redemption” meets Rapunzel. ”She sat down for a video interview (energetically as always, es worth mentioning at 6 a.m. local time) to discuss the ending of the series that defined this phase of her career and how Elle’s growing up reflects her own. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

How was it to shoot the last two films one after the other?

We actually shot them at the same time – that is, in one day we’d shoot scenes from both films. It was so confusing.

How did you keep everything alright?

I can’t give myself that kind of recognition because I didn’t. I knew exactly what I was doing every day, but when I was on set and my director [Vince Marcello] come over and say a note or something, I was like, “Wait, are we in movie 3 right now?” He says, “No, we’re still in Movie 2.” It’s not that they were very alike, because their storylines take crazy different twists and turns. But it was fun marrying them together.

Was this film – besides “The Kissing Booth 2” – the first project that you produced as an executive producer?

It is what was beautiful. I’ve been putting more of my hand into production lately; I also produce “The Princess”. But it was really special for me to start doing these films since I’ve been with them for so long.

I am a bit of a sponge. On set, I was more likely to record Vince’s stuff and ask, “Why did we make this decision?” Just ask more questions. He was so ready to work with me even more and ask my opinion. I felt like I had a voice on set, but my voice really came in in the back half of the shoot. I had a lot to say about what the end product was, and I’m also very much involved in the marketing process. Both are very important to me and I feel like one of the target groups. It’s fun to have a say in something I want to see at the end of the day.

At the center of these films is a coming-of-age story. At this stage in your life, did you notice any similarities with your own experiences?

I’ve always felt very connected to Elle. I remember receiving the script for the first film. I called my team and said, “When can I audition for this? I really want to. “And they said,” You don’t have to audition for this; it’s an offer. “If I had to audition for it, I would have done anything to get the job.

When I started playing Elle, I felt like [she] and I was very, very similar. Your mood, your sense of humor; I felt very much involved in it. And the same goes for the second and third films, if not more – I experienced many important moments in life in their shoes.

How have you changed since then?

I’ve changed so much. For me actually pretty implausible. I never thought I’d change as a person and I was so wrong. That’s the beauty of being young. My perspective on life has changed – my perspective on family, relationships, career. If I feel like I’ve really been through so much with Elle, it’s because I’ve changed so much as a person and I’ve learned so much.

In which way?

I’ve become a bit more present. I started meditating. I found a very incredible relationship [the director and producer Steven Piet]. Obviously, I’ve always loved my family, but I’ve found a deeper appreciation for them. And career stuff too: I started focusing on exactly what I wanted to do and how badly I didn’t want to do certain things. And that was really interesting just to feel a little stronger in my own ability to make decisions. Actually, I’m a pretty indecisive person. If you take me to a restaurant, I have no idea what I want. Even when we decide where to go. But when it comes to my career, my brain switches to a crucial mode. This is a new development for me.

You had so many roles at the time – “The Kissing Booth” is very different from “The act. ” [King was nominated for an Emmy for her performance in the Hulu true-crime drama, as a young woman convicted of killing her mother.] When you talk about narrowing down what you want to do, do you hope to get that kind of diversity? Or do you prefer certain roles?

Personally, I love to hold a broader range, and I never really have a specific “This is what I want to do next”. I want to keep getting excited about it. I love the fact that they are [“The Kissing Booth” and “The Act”] were polar opposites. And I hope people are excited to see me in different roles because I’ve made a very careful decision that I want to do that.

As far as we know, this was the last “kissing booth”. But if the opportunity arises, can you imagine returning to Elle and this story in the future?

I started doing these films when I was 17. We were just like that, we hope people like it – if anyone sees it at all. We didn’t know what a huge impact this would have. I never got tired of playing Elle. It is so much fun. When I watch this story wrapped so nicely in a lovely bow, I think it would be a little difficult to come back after that. We made this ending exactly what I think it had to be. Do I selfishly want to play Elle again? Necessarily. But I think the story is in its final chapter.