'To All The Boys I've Loved Before’s' director on making an uplifting romantic comedy to help people escape the 'disarray' of the modern world
Susan Johnson also waxes lyrical about the innate beauty of Lana Condor
To All The Boys I've Loved Before’s director Susan Johnson has opened up about making a luscious and uplifting romantic-comedy that she hopes will allow viewers to escape the disarray of the modern world.
Based on the adored 2014 young adult romantic novel from Jenny Han, “To All The Boys I've Loved Before” is a heart-warming love-story that revolves around 16-year-old Lara Jean Song Covey (Lana Condor), who over the years has written love letters to all of her five past crushes.
They were only meant to be seen by her, though. So when her younger sister posts them to each boy Lana’s world is thrown into chaos as they approach her one-by-one, which provokes Lana to explore her feelings, future, and the unflourished romance inside of her.
A heart-warming romantic, coming-of-age tale, “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” is immediately reminiscent of classics of the genre, while since it is led by Asian American actress Lana Condor it still feels very vital and progressive, too.
Ultimately, though, during my recent discussion with Susan Johnson the director insisted she ”just wanted to make a movie where people could escape for 90 minutes,” especially as “the world is in such disarray.”
In fact, Johnson believes the current struggles of the world have provoked a rom-com renaissance.
“If you think about the history of romantic comedies, look at World War 2 and the 1980s and the early 90s, when rom-coms were in their heyday.”
“Here we are 25 years later, and that is always playing in my head when I am reading scripts and trying to pick what projects to do. I just want to give people hope and joy for a few minutes.”
“Not every story has to be cultural significant, or change the world. Sometimes it is just entertainment and that is what I loved about the project.”
“I wanted people to watch the film and go, ‘Oh, hey, it is ok to be friends with my family. To have a good life. It is ok to put yourself out there.’ Hopefully people will reexamine their relationships.”
“Maybe they will go and ask that person out that they didn’t think they could approach. Just give it a shot. If you live your life in a little box then you won’t live a very good life.”
Johnson is aided in this quest by Condor, who excels as Lara Jean Song Covey.
It was an easy casting decision for Johnson to make, as she waxed lyrical about how “bright” the 21-year-old actress is, while insisting that Condor still brought an integral “depth” to the 17-year-old character she “just wasn’t seeing in other actors.”
“Lara Jean has this innocence about her, but she also thinks that she has her sh** together. She has this certain way of doing things all the time.”
“Lana has this innate beauty. She is just an interesting person. She has an interesting background, her history is interesting, her life has been interesting. So she could just bring all of that into the room.”
You can see all of that on-screen when “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” is released on Netflix on Friday August 17.