Warning: Spoilers below for The Perfect Date.
Does something feel familiar about The Perfect Date? Well, here’s a little story. The Netflix rom-com’s star Laura Marano played Ally Dawson in Disney Channel’s Austin & Ally. Ally, a sweet and soft-spoken songwriter, was simply too shy to share her music with others, so she collaborated with singer Austin Moon to make their music dreams come true. Voilà—tween TV magic!
Little did Marano know that when she took the part, she would meet a pre-To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Noah Centineo on set. On the first season of the show, Centineo played Dallas, Ally’s crush, for three episodes. Seven years on, the two cross paths again as love interests in The Perfect Date. Marano plays Celia Lieberman, an unaffected, sarcastic teenager. Centineo’s character, Brooks Rattigan (that name!), is a classmate she hires to be her “perfect date”—for a price.
Marano spoke with ELLE.com about Celia and Brooks’ “friends first” relationship, Jennifer Lawrence’s surprising influence on the role, and the failed prank she tried to pull off with Centineo.
What drew you to audition for the part of Celia?
I’ve never really played a character like Celia before. I think she’s really funny and witty and I love that she takes control of her destiny. She’s very confident in her uniqueness. She’s flawed, she definitely has insecurities, and she’s still a human being, but I love that at the end of the day, she loves who she is and she’s going to be who she is no matter what. I also love that she, at the end, made the grand romantic gesture. You don’t usually see the female characters in rom-coms making the romantic gestures. I loved it.
Are you like Celia?
I do have a sarcastic sense of humor that only comes out with a few people, but it was fun having a character that likes having sarcasm as her first language. I think I’m definitely more diplomatic than Celia is. Celia just instantly says what is on her mind. It’s always in a funny and witty way, but it can be a little dark and bitter. I always bring a little bit of myself into the characters that I play. On the surface I felt like Celia and I were different, but the more I got to play her, the more I kind of got to be her. We became one.
What were some steps that you took to prepare to play her?
I watched a bunch of Jennifer Lawrence interviews and got into character by watching Jennifer Lawrence. On the days that we were filming, I felt like it actually became quite easy for me to kind of step into her shoes and be her.