by Anne DeLello ’20
The transition from child to adult roles has been a consistent issue for child stars in Hollywood. The public generally recognizes them for their more minor roles in films and dismisses the idea of them starring in leading roles in films of their own. An example in this phenomenon is 19-year-old actress, Joey King.
Until recently, many movie fans were not familiar with the name Joey King, despite her presence in movies and television shows going as far back as The Suite Life of Zack & Cody in 2006. Many recognize her for her role as Ramona opposite Selena Gomez in Ramona and Beezus as well as from major motion pictures, such as The Conjuring and The Dark Knight Rises. However, in these cases King plays the role of a child, which is how she was perceived by the public and critics alike until her new movie, The Kissing Booth, premiered on Netflix this past May.
The Kissing Booth became a Netflix sensation as viewers watched the main characters fall deeply in love despite the forbidden nature of their relationship. Since her role in this romantic comedy, King has been recognized as the star of the movie, catapulting her into the next level fame that she never achieved in past projects.
The same is true of her two co-stars, Jacob Elordi and Joel Courtney. According to the Los Angeles Times, “none of their projects have given them the instant recognition of The Kissing Booth.”
Because of the stigma surrounding child actors trying to make a name for themselves as they grow up, King was careful in choosing this role. The L.A. Times reported her desire to do the film as an opportunity to escape the childish roles that she has always played in the past. She described herself as being “afraid, of course, that it would get kind of lost in the crowd of all the Netflix content.” However, King took the risk and decided to take on the project, a decision that paid off.
The Kissing Booth has become surprisingly popular on Netflix over the past four months and as it has become more well-known, so has King. Even though the movie has a 13 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the audience score is at 64 percent. Even better is the fact that Netflix reported that one in every three users has watched the movie.
Despite a low critic rating, King has moved into a new level of stardom with this movie that has allowed her to develop a much larger fanbase to follow her through whatever she chooses to do next.
King currently has eight million followers on Instagram, a drastic increase from the 600,000 she had before the movie released. King’s huge growth in popularity because of The Kissing Booth makes her transition into adulthood stardom a successful one, and the public will definitely be interested in her career from here on out.