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​'To All the Boys​' Sequel Producer on the 'Pressure' of Casting Jordan Fisher as John Ambrose (Exclusive)

Posted on 10 March, 2018 by Camilla
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​'To All the Boys​' Sequel Producer on the 'Pressure' of Casting Jordan Fisher as John Ambrose (Exclusive)

It'll be a while until we see any footage from To All the Boys I've Loved Before 2, but it's never too early to start speculating.

Production on the anticipated follow-up to Netflix's summer teen hit has already begun in Vancouver, with breakout stars Lana Condorand Noah Centineo reprising their roles as Lara Jean Song Covey and Peter Kavinsky, and Jordan Fisher joining the ensemble as the beloved character John Ambrose McClaren.

"It was a lot of pressure," To All the Boys producer Matt Kaplan told ET of the casting process to find the perfect John Ambrose. "We auditioned thousands and thousands of people, and when Jordan came on screen, I think, unanimously, Ace [Entertainment] and Netflix felt like this was John Ambrose. We were fortunate to have someone who has so much pure likability in him, and I think audiences are going to freak out when they see what he's been able to bring to the screen."

Fisher joining the sequel is a recasting of sorts. Eagle-eyed viewers will recall Canadian actor Jordan Burtchett playing the character in the first film; he appeared in a mid-credits scene for a brief cameo. Since Fisher's casting was announced, there have been some question about how the upcoming film will address the new John Ambrose.

When asked how they plan on moving forward with that change on the creative end and if it'll be mentioned in a piece of dialogue, Kaplan stayed mum.

"Yeah, I think it'll be a conversation we have when the movie is released, but ultimately, we're just happy to have Jordan and feel very fortunate that he's our John Ambrose," he said, emphasizing that those conversations have not yet taken place. "The real answer is unclear."

The Netflix sequel, which also returns with John Corbett, Janel Parrish and Anna Cathcart, will likely follow the events of Jenny Han's second book, P.S. I Still Love You, and possibly borrow elements from the third, Always and Forever, Lara JeanSofia Alvarez, who wrote the first movie, also penned the sequel script, while the director of photography on the 2018 hit, Michael Fimognari, takes over as director for Susan Johnson, who will remain an executive producer.

New additions to the cast include Fisher, 13 Reasons Why's Ross Butler as Peter's best friend Trevor Pike, Holland Taylor as John Ambrose's grandmother Stormy and Sarayu Blue as Trina Rothschild, one of the Coveys' neighbors.

With the massive success of the first film, every morsel of information regarding the sequel has been dissected by fans with a fine-toothed comb. 

"That's the fun part," Kaplan said. "There is an amazing team of filmmakers who are working on it, from Michael Fimognari, who's directing the second film, and you have such chemistry between Lana and Noah. I think we want to make this movie for the younger demographic, but hopefully, it stretches past [that]. We're working as hard as we can to make sure we serve the material properly."

"Jenny Han has been a great partner to us in making sure that she leans into the things that she knows her book fans care about, and we've taken some creative liberties to hopefully heighten it so the film is as strong as possible," he hinted.

In January, Condor revealed to ET one specific scene from the second book she hopes makes it into the movie -- and it's all about Lara Jean and John Ambrose's love story.

“I love when Lara Jean and John Ambrose go to the [nursing] home," she said at the time. "I love the snow... that moment when John Ambrose and her are in the snow playing. When I read that, it was romantic to me. Every little girl thinks about a kiss in the snow with someone that they might like. For me, I would love [it] more than anything ‘cause it’s romantic and cute!"

In the second book, the pivotal moment comes on the heels of Lara Jean and Peter's breakup. An unexpected snowstorm strands Lara Jean and John Ambrose overnight at the nursing home, where Lara Jean volunteers and John Ambrose's grandmother, Stormy, resides. The teens sneak out onto the front lawn to play in the snow, and it's there John Ambrose confesses he would like to kiss her.

"Cinematically, can you imagine how pretty that would be? It would be gorgeous and I want the gorgeous!" Condor said with a laugh. "But yeah, there’s a lot [of scenes]. I’m really excited. I hope I get the script soon because I think it’s going to be even better than the first one.” 

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