In our POPSUGAR Crush Q&A series, we get to know some of the more intimate details of our favorite stars – from their first celebrity crush to the best love advice they’ve ever received. This month we’re falling for The Summer I Turned Pretty star Gavin Casalegno.
When Gavin Casalegno first auditioned for The Summer I Turned Pretty, his connection with Jeremiah felt pretty cosmic. The show is based on the novel series by To All The Boys I Loved Before author Jenny Han, who is also serving as showrunner for the new series.
“He explores his identity and who he is, his sexuality, his relationships.”
“I actually told Jenny that the first time [I met] She. I was like, ‘Have you talked to my mom or something? As? have you read my diary What’s going on?’” Casalegno tells POPSUGAR. Casalegno was actually about to quit acting to get into real estate when he found out about the audition. “I figured this character is so like me, you know, it would be a shame if I didn’t,” he says of his decision to try out for the show. Realizing that he would continue to advance in the audition, the actor immediately ordered the book series. I just read it for eight hours and I was like, ‘Man, this is such an amazing project to be a part of,'” he recalls.
Casalegno plays Jeremiah Fisher, the younger son of Susannah (Rachel Blanchard) and younger brother of Conrad (Christopher Briney). The show follows Belly (Lola Tung) as she spends the summer with her family at the Fishers’. She’s trying to come to terms with her longstanding crush on Conrad. But Jeremiah, whom Belly considers a best friend, has his own feelings that come to a head. There’s also Cam, played by David Iacono, an old classmate of Belly’s, who makes a game of her heart.
Casalegno can list many similarities between himself and Jeremiah. “Just Jeremiah’s happy attitude, his desire to be the center of the party, that golden retriever feeling, but also deep down, that insecure and maybe lacking confidence Jeremiah that you don’t see very often,” he explains. “And I think he carries a lot more weight on his shoulders than is shown. And man, it was just so nice to be in his shoes for four months. I was so lucky.”
Although many fans will watch the series for its romance and love triangle at its core, Casalegno believes its true strength lies in its coming-of-age stories. “This show is about people discovering who they are and growing into who they are meant to be. And that goes for Conrad, Laurel, Susannah and every character on the show,” he says. One big change the show makes from the books is that Jeremiah is bisexual on the show, and Casalengo believes this ties into the same coming-of-age themes. “He’s exploring his identity and who he is, his sexuality, his relationships,” he says. “There’s just so much to explore and I think it was just a really fun part to really bring to life the part that would make the show more relevant and relatable to today’s world.”
The cast filmed the show in North Carolina in the summer of 2021, and Casalegno describes it as “one of the funnest summers” of his life. When he first met some of the cast, he was sitting in his apartment. “I heard a car honk and Sean honk [Kaufman] screaming, ‘Gavin!’ because they didn’t know where I lived, so they just drove and yelled my name,” he says. “It really set the tone all summer.” The cast actually lived out the experiences their characters had on screen. “We just had so much fun exploring our little town, our little beach town, late at night going to the beach, playing pool, going to the pool and all kinds of fun stuff,” he says.
Another special part of the show for Casalegno was the relationship between Jeremiah, his mother and brother. Casalegno has two siblings, although he’s the eldest, and he drew on his relationship with his own mother to ground his work on the show. “She’s such a rock in me and my foundation for everything I’ve done in terms of my career, my identity, everything,” he says.
All seven episodes of The Summer I Turned Pretty will be released on Prime Video on June 17th. Watch the rest of Casalegno’s POPSUGAR Crush interview first.
Image source: Prime Video
Are you Team Jeremiah, Conrad or Cam?:
I have to give Team Cameron credit because personally, when I read the book, I was like Cam Cameron the whole time. [But filming the show], David hasn’t been harmed, he played that role so amazingly, but man I just loved who Jeremiah was, that golden retriever with deep insecurities and fears and responsibilities. I felt like I could relate to that a lot, right where I am in life. And man, it was just so much fun stepping into Jeremiah’s shoes. So I would say Team Jeremiah. team jellyfish There are actually quite a few people posting Team Jellyfish right now and I’m snapping out because I see everyone’s comments. It’s just fun to see their support.
Favorite pickup line:
I haven’t had to use a pickup line for a long time. I’ve been in a committed relationship the longest. . . . I’m just very direct. When I was younger, I had pages and lots of pick-up lines, and I think I’ve just matured a bit to say, “Listen, I know what I want. If you want me back, let’s go.”
Favorite Flirty Emoji:
Do you know the blushing emoji? But the one with a heart? (🥰) Like he’s that cute. It’s like a different level when you send the normal blush compared to the one with hearts. I just think it’s way cuter and that’s what I would use. Or the winking kissing face, I like that a lot too. (😘)
Signature Scent (go-to Cologne/Perfume):
Depending on my mood, I have two. I love a good old Tom Ford Black Orchid. Love it, love it, love it, love it. This is softer. And then I love Jean Paul Gaultier’s aviator. I’m actually looking for it right now because they don’t seem to be able to do it anymore. So I’m very sad. I drink my last bottle.
Favorite form of self-care:
Everyone in my life really doesn’t like that kind of self-care. I’m just going to delete everything on my phone, social media, everything. I put it on airplane mode and say, “Quiet, I’m away today.” You won’t hear from me. They’ll just say, “Bro, like you have meetings,” and I’ll say, “Sorry, I’m gone.” Well, I definitely love to just unwind. I think this is so important to my mental health which has been so crazy during COVID-19 and just life changing. Do your thing because you know that at the end of the day your sanity matters and the world can wait for the rest.
Movie for movie night:
“Begin.” It’s a classic, number one, and the way it was shot was just a work of art. But it also leaves a lot of room for speculation and discussion and opinion. Unlike Titanic, you’re going to cry, aren’t you? I’ve definitely done this many times, love Titanic or even The Notebook, it’s like my number one love movie. But “Inception” just brings up a lot of topics and a lot of fun things to discuss.
Get dressed or wear comfortable clothes?:
Comfortable clothing. Without doubt. I mean like you can’t beat a good old tracksuit or jogging pants and a hoodie. This is my jam.