Lola Tung and Gavin Casalegno in The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2.
The first season of Prime Video’s The Summer I Turned Pretty ends with elder Fischer brother Conrad (Christopher Briney) kissing Belly Conklin (Lola Tung). Certifying the fantasy moment, soft waves roll up the beach at sunset and Taylor Swift’s “This Love” swirls. It’s all Belly has ever dreamed about. But with the return of season two on July 14, she doesn’t seem to have stayed in her fairytale for too long. Once again, she is caught between Conrad and Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno), in addition to navigating an endless number of other obstacles that simply come with growing up.
“I think that it's even more of a roller coaster than season one,” Casalegno tells Los Angeles Confidential ahead of the season 2 premiere. “It’s going to be well received; I’ve crossed my fingers and am praying about it, but people are going to love it. I’m stoked.”
Learn more about Casalegno’s excitement for the new season, his thoughts on the finale and more below.
Generally speaking, we see more of another summer in Cousins and Belly caught between the Fischer brothers. But what’s new about this time around in season 2?
I think we get to see the opposite side of the spectrum. I think that there are so many things that happened and transpired in between seasons that I think that it'll be really fun for the viewer to see it unravel and unfold as the season goes.
What were your conversations like with Jenny Han ahead of filming?
She's the mastermind behind it all, right? So she has all the answers to any questions about the character or anything like that, so she's a great resource.
Their childhood is not really established too much. And so Jenny's written out a whole life for these guys, so it's fun to pick her brain about what she originally imagined going through the characters’ minds and stories and stuff like that while filming season one and season two.
The show has so many great needle drops. As we see with the trailer and saw last season, there’s plenty of Taylor Swift. Do you have any favorite needle drops in season two?
I have a lot. My favorite one is gonna have to be a surprise. Throughout season one was great; season two is probably even better.
Without giving the track title away, why was that song so important for that moment?
I feel like music is like seasoning on a moment. When there are hard conversations or when there are steamy moments or anything like that, music really makes a difference. I think for this scene in particular, I think it definitely just spiced it up a little bit and made it more fun and lively and I think people will enjoy it.
You've talked about how similar you are to Jeremiah. Was there anything about him in this season that you didn’t automatically connect to?
I think he has a really good heart, but I think he doesn't always think through the best course of action, which Conrad is good at. He just doesn't always think through the best course of action as far as to deal with certain problems or relationships or iron things out with people. He's figuring it out. He means well, but I don't think he does it in the best way. So I think just by slowing down a little bit, maybe, and just taking it one moment at a time [would be good for Jeremiah].
Gavin Casalegno and Chris Briney in The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2.
Alternatively, what do you like most about Jeremiah?
He is just super optimistic. He always has a smile on his face and you see that a lot in season one. You’ll see it a little bit in season two of that personality coming through. But he undergoes a lot of growth and emotional distress and weight and I think that changes anybody.
There's lots to learn from The Summer I Turned Pretty about first love and coming of age, but what else do you think audiences can take away from Jeremiah's story?
I would hope that people would take away a sense of value, communication and vulnerability. I think that that is some of his stronger qualities, especially in a relationship. And I think that he's just not afraid to tell people how he feels. There might be a little hesitation, but he just is so willing to give his heart wholeheartedly. I think that if people learned to do that in their own life, then that'd be really special.
Were you surprised with how season 2 ends for Jeremiah?
I would say yes and no. This whole season, there's so much that happens. And as far as season one goes, I think it made sense. And I think with whatever happens in season two, I think that you will agree with me that it just makes sense.
About Jeremiah, you’ve said you felt like you were learning about him and yourself together. You called it “a scary but beautiful process.” As you continue your career beyond Jeremiah, beyond coming-of-age stories, do you want to seek out roles that make you look inward Or do you prefer other kinds of challenges as an actor?
You can never grow too much as a person, right? You're never finished growing. I think it was Winston Churchill or something. It was either that or Albert Einstein— someone really significant in history. It was one of those two. They said, “The day you stop learning is the day you die,” and I think that it's so important to continue to grow and learn more about yourself and just to root out the flaws and the darker parts of your heart. And I think that's just an important process that takes a lifetime. And so with acting, I think it's a fun process because it puts you on a fast track to doing that because you're jumping in other people's shoes.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Photography by: Erika Doss/Prime Video; John Merrick/Prime Video