Even with his mom cutting through the background of a Zoom call from Brisbane, Australia, Jacob Elordi looks at peace. He's been quarantining with his family in the land down under ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and as a result, he's many miles away from the hype that's about to hit a certain subset of people in the United States, prompting his latest film, The Kissing Booth 2, to reach the top of Netflix's charts.
Elordi’s come a long way since 2018, when he had his breakout moment in the original Kissing Booth, a full year before he became perhaps the definitive zoomer sociopath in HBO's Euphoria. Fans swooned over his portrayal of Noah Flynn, a self-centered womanizer who eventually falls in love with his brother’s best friend. But it wasn’t the 23-year-old’s performance they vehemently responded to—it was his washboard abs that became the piece de resistance, on display whenever the scene warranted it—and the scene warranted it quite a bit.
“I trained extensively for the first film, because it said it in the script,” he says with a laugh when reflecting back to the time. “I was so terribly nervous that I wouldn’t be what the script wanted me to be.”
While shooting the first Kissing Booth in South Africa, Elordi developed an intense fitness regimen that required him to be in the gym seven days a week, twice a day. The routine never changed—it was strictly about lifting heavy weights, gaining muscle and looking well-defined whenever the camera turned to him. As the world became enamored with the result of his diligent workout schedule, Elordi became disillusioned with how people only seemed to remark on his physical appearance, rather than the work he was doing when the cameras were rolling.
“At the time, I was super young and got thrown into a world where everyone wanted to talk about my body… it really fucking bothered me,” he says. “I don’t identify with that whatsoever. I was trying to prove myself and be known as an actor. It was so much working out and I hated every second of it.”
The attention given to his body—and his growing hate for that attention—prompted Elordi to take a step back and evaluate how he could approach fitness differently. As he slimmed down for his role in Euphoria (“I wanted to go from being bigger to smaller as Nate goes through his mental transition”), he chose not to train at all for The Kissing Booth 2. It ended up working out in his favor, as the movie not only has no distinct shirtless scenes (unless you count him briefly flexing his muscles in the gym) and focuses more on Noah’s emotional evolution rather than his physical attributes.
But that didn’t mean Elordi was completely done taking care of himself. He decided to go on a fitness journey of sorts. Instead of solely doing body weights, he now incorporates 45-60 minutes of yoga and pilates a day, which he’s not only obsessed with (“I actually love it”), but has also uses as a tool to stay centered and grounded in the midst of all the tumult in the world.
“[The Kissing Booth] was all about sculpting and making sure I had this figure that I thought the character needed,” he says of his evolution. “Now, it’s more functional. I wanted to be a blank canvas and be more concerned with my health. I wanted to be able to walk and run with my grandkids when I’m eighty-something, you know? It’s more about being functional as opposed to actual aesthetics.”
He pauses for a moment before cracking up to himself. “Let’s be honest—I have no interest in going to the beach and looking like The Rock.”
Just as his roles change, Elordi’s changing as well.
The 23-year-old actor shared an insight into how he’s been spending the unexpected free time. He’s tried (and subsequently abandoned) his guided meditation app, watched HBO's Mark Ruffalo-as-twins series I Know This Much Is True (“I genuinely believe it’s flawless and might be the first perfect thing ever made”) and finished reading Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre. And like the good Aussie he is, he’s been surfing and getting to the beach whenever possible. He’s also appreciating the time to slow down and spend time with friends and family, something he hasn’t had the chance to do since moving to the States.
And since he’s talking about the pandemic and what he’s watching, it brings to mind something others might be watching—Euphoria. Production for the upcoming second season shut down not long after the pandemic began; like everyone else, he has no idea as to when he—or the show—is coming back.
“I think everyone on the production side of everything is just kind of hoping for the best and continually receiving the worst,” he laughs. “I just hope that it can get better first, and as a result I can go back to work.”
Until then, he’s excited to hear what fans say about The Kissing Booth 2 and their reactions.
“I hope, with everything going on in the world, that the movie can give them some sort of reprieve for two hours. I hope they get a smile and find a great amount of joy in watching the movie. That’s all I can really ask for.”
You Might Also Like