The Summer I Turned Pretty‘s Sean Kaufman and Rain Spencer have faith in Steven and Taylor’s romance — even though the fictional couple wasn’t explored in the book series.
“I think [they can go the] distance. We’re going for speed,” Kaufman, 23, joked during an exclusive interview with Us Weekly conducted ahead of the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. “I think Steven and Taylor work really well together.”
The Prime Video series, which is based on the books written by Jenny Han, surprised fans by having Steven and Taylor explore their feelings following their season 1 makeout. For Kaufman, it was exciting to see how far the characters have come since the series debuted.
“A lot of the first season was this dream image of summer, of the beach house [and] of all this great stuff. It comes crashing down during season two and for a lot of the characters it’s a moment of reflection,” he detailed. “[They] look to your left and look to your right and see who’s still there next to you.”
The actor noted that Steven and Taylor’s connection has stood the test of time.
“Something that Steven realizes is that since he was 5 years old, since he was 8 years old, since he was 12 years old, Taylor was always there,” Kaufman continued. “You ask if it’s sustainable, I’d like to think that Taylor will be by his side no matter what. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that she’s been there and I know he’d like her to be there for well past what his age is now.”
Spencer, 23, was also thrilled to see Taylor’s feelings for Steven get reciprocated in season 2.
“Like Sean said, they grew up together. So at least in Taylor’s point of view, she has loved this person in every single one of his dorky, weird and awkward phases,” she shared with Us. “She’s just undeniably in awe of this person growing up. It’s like if you love someone in every single stage that they’ve had in their life, that doesn’t go away.”
According to Spencer, having Han, 42, on set helped both her and Kaufman develop their onscreen bond.
“We had like multiple conversations with Jenny and [she has] such a clear picture in her head. She’s so good at navigating this world and making it so completely relatable,” she explained. “[Season 2 was about] expanding on her feelings and how she’s really felt about Steven growing up and her entire life. I just felt grateful to get an opportunity to express that and to see what’s actually going on and play it out.”
Meanwhile, Kaufman called his collaboration with Spencer “super freeing” since Steven and Taylor’s roles are much smaller in the book series.
“I know for me, Steven not really being in the books takes some pressure off my back. It allows me to really put who I think I am into this character vs. trying to maybe be something I’m not,” he noted. “I think in terms of Steven and Taylor’s arc together, it was a little freeing [when] nobody even knows it’s coming. There’s no expectation so I have fun with this scene partner I have.”
Kaufman gushed about getting to work with Spencer, adding, “It was the best thing ever. Rain is like the sweetest person and one of the most talented actors I’ve ever had the chance to meet. So just having the chance to work with her was extremely amazing. But also picking her brain about scenes and getting to build an arc was a beautiful unity that I loved.”
In response, Spencer said there was “no better person” she would want to act opposite. During the joint interview, Kaufman and Spencer also weighed in on which Taylor Swift song they would like to see in a future scene for Steven and Taylor as Swift has become a staple for the series. The duo picked Swift’s “You Belong With Me” as the perfect track for their characters.
The Summer I Turned Pretty has been renewed for season 3.