Screen After Reading : Behind the scenes of Along for the Ride 's epic food fight

·3 min read

Teen rites of passage are often mined in pop culture: prom, a first kiss, and for some reason, food fights.

One of the latest YA entries, Netflix's adaptation of Sarah Dessen's Along for the Ride, centers a food fight at a summer BBQ as a key part of Auden's (Emma Pasarow) coming-of-age and her central romance with broody BMX biker, Eli (Belmont Camelli).

When Eli makes his first appearance at a party in over a year, it shocks the fellow teens in Colby, but it gives him a moment to check another box on Auden's summer checklist — and creates the perfect set-up for their first kiss.

While sitting down with Dessen, Pasarow, Camelli, and writer-director Sofia Alvarez for EW podcast Screen After Reading, we got the dirty (and stinky) details behind one of the movie's most memorable scenes.

Screen After Reading Along for the Ride
Screen After Reading Along for the Ride

Netflix; Viking Children’s Books

"It was a blast," says Camelli of filming the food fight. "Everybody's mustard was just drying to their shirt. The smell did not dissipate in any capacity. It only got stinkier."

But Camelli and Pasarow actually didn't get the brunt of the fight the way the scene was written. "We start the food fight, and then we go into the house, and have a scene, just the two of us," Pasarow explains. "Meanwhile, everyone else is doing a long, very real, very coleslaw, noodle-filled, ketchup, food fight. And we got to take shelter. But I remember when we did it we had to run into the house. And everyone became very primal and animalistic."

One key part of the fight Pasarow did have to film was the inciting incident when Eli turns an entire bowl of baked beans on top of her head. "The beans come out in the shower but the smell takes a little bit longer," quips Pasarow. "And then the physical memory of having a crown of beans that trickled down your back, that also takes a little while to emotionally come off." (Camelli adds that the bean placement was often painstaking to ensure continuity between takes.)

Even more challenging was the fact that they basically only had one take to get the bigger food fight right. "With the food fight, we just had to get it," says director Sofia Alvarez. "So we had two cameras that day, and our DP, and our [crew] went in with trash bags over their heads and over their cameras, and we were just like, 'All right, everyone, you just have to go for it.' And they would be in the food fight filming, but like, 'This is our one shot. Don't hold back.' It was chaos."

Alyssa Rodrigues, an executive producer on the film, even got in on the fun, playing a party-goer in the background. Because of COVID-19 protocols, they were often shorthanded on background actors, but particularly with this messy sequence, it was all hands on deck for any crew members that wanted to join in on the fun. "Alyssa won the food fight," says Camelli. "She was really aggressive. It was tactical. She nailed it."

Listen to the latest episode of Screen After Reading below for more from the team behind Along for the Ride.

Check out more from EW's Screen After Readingfeaturing exclusive interviews, analysis, and more as we dive into the art of bringing books to the screen.

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