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‘Kissing Booth’ Star Taylor Zakhar Perez Reacts to Jacob Elordi’s Criticism of the Netflix Trilogy: It’s a ‘Shame’

2023 GQ Men Of The Year - Arrivals, Taylor Zakhar Perez
Steve Granitz/FilmMagic

Jacob Elordi may have felt “dead inside” while filming the Kissing Booth trilogy, but Taylor Zakhar Perez was more than happy to be there.

“I thought it was a shame because to my knowledge, everybody else had such a wonderful experience,” Perez, 31, told Variety in a Friday, November 17, interview. “It’s a shame that was [Elordi’s] experience. Especially when those movies came out, it was a time when we really needed something like that.”

The Kissing Booth first premiered in 2018 and starred Elordi, 26, alongside Joey King and Joel Courtney. Perez joined the cast for the franchise’s subsequent sequels, which hit Netflix in 2020 and 2021 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Perez told Variety that judging from his own fans’ interactions and getting stopped “everywhere” he goes, he can see what The Kissing Booth “means to people and what it brought them during such a dark time.” He added that for Elordi, the silver lining is that he “still made people laugh and feel good.”

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Elordi made headlines earlier this month when he revealed that he didn’t want to make the films even “before” he started shooting them, telling GQ, “Those movies are ridiculous. They’re not universal. They’re an escape.”

The Priscilla star described the rom-com trilogy as “one for them, one for me” films —  a Hollywood phrase that describes actors doing one big budget movie for money to allow them the opportunity for smaller passion projects. Elordi noted that the concept of “one and one” was a “trap” he didn’t want to fall into.

“Because it can become 15 for them, none for you,” he explained. “You have no original ideas and you’re dead inside. So, it’s a fine dance. My ‘one for them,’ I’ve done it.”

The Kissing Booth 3 Summer Movie Preview 2021
Marcos Cruz/Netflix

When asked if he’d heard from his former costars regarding his comments on the films, Elordi told Variety earlier this week that he hadn’t, but clarified that he is “incredibly grateful to everybody” involved in them.

This isn’t the first time Elordi has been vocal about his distaste for the Kissing Booth franchise. He previously told Esquire in 2021 that he felt “corny” and “terribly misunderstood” because of the movies he’s made in the past. “I had to prove I was a serious actor,” he explained.

Elordi has since steered away from the rom-com genre and delved into more dramatic roles including Nate Jacobs on HBO’s Euphoria and Elvis Presley in Sophia Coppola’s 2023 film Priscilla, which is based on Priscilla Presley’s 1985 memoir, Elvis and Me.

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Earlier this month, Elordi opened up about playing a side of the King of Rock n Roll that some people may not want to see.

“For me, it was portraying this person the way that she had described him in the moments that [Priscilla] had described,” he told E! News at the time. When asked why he was “so good at playing troubled men,” Elordi replied, “I don’t know if it’s necessarily always troubled men. It’s just I enjoy playing complex people.”

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