Did anyone have a better 2018 than Noah Centineo? Over the past twelve months, the 22 year-old has transformed into one of Hollywood's most in-demand actors, thanks to two starring roles in Netflix original movies, To All the Boys I've Loved Before and Sierra Burgess Is A Loser—and, in the process, became the Internet's newest boyfriend. "Not me," the Florida native demurs. "The characters are the dream." Modesty aside, there's something undeniable about the charismatic actor, who also happens to have a few rom-com friendly tricks up his sleeve, as evidenced by his charming first kiss tale. Here, Centineo shares that story, as well as his favorite karaoke tune, cinematic crush, and the advice he'd like to give his on-screen persona.
What was your first acting job?
I think I was eleven the first time I ever worked on a film. Then I dropped out of school when I was thirteen in eighth grade to come to LA for pilot season. I auditioned like two to three times every single day for three or some months and got nothing. Not even a callback.
What was the big moment when things changed?
I decided to move to LA when I was fifteen. I had worked on a Disney show called Austin & Ally. I booked a one liner on it. If you look closely you can see my hand shaking. But the one liner turned into an under five. Under five turned to a guest star. The guest star turned into a recur over the first season. I became a story arc and was still living in Florida and flying out to shoot. And to answer your question, the big moment was after doing that show. I looked at my parents and I said, "I want to move to LA. I want to do this, I will be successful. I want to make a life and career out of this." And, as they always have, they supported me.
Tell me about the two Netflix movies you have out right now.
To All the Boys I've Loved Before is one of the films I have out on Netflix right now. The other one is Sierra Burgess Is A Loser. Both are young adult rom-coms, and heavily inspired by John Hughes. I booked them two and a half months apart— what it is is serendipity—and they were both being done independently by just other production companies. Then they happened to both be sold to Netflix. They also both happened to be the same genre and in both of them I happen to be playing the same role, the same archetype within the plot structure.
You're a good guy in both.
They're caring, reverent human beings. Emotionally available, as well, which is tight. I'd say Peter Kavinsky needs to learn to say no to his ex. Like that whole thing could of been solved when she's like, "You slept in her room!" if I'm like, "No, like talk to her" and like ended it. But he didn't say that, he was like, "I didn't, let me explain!" It',s like, just explain; get out of this thing alive, then explain.
What is your favorite birthday that you've had?
I don't know what my favorite was, but I just remembered one from when I was four. This was the first birthday I ever cried on. I was at the community pool in my neighborhood back on Buttonwood Lake Drive, West Boca, and I don't even know where the kids came from, I'm sure we just invited the whole community. And we're at the community pool, we're all running around, and these kids started taking the pool noodles and fighting with them. I was like, "Yeah, I want to fight too!" So I grabbed one and right before I swang, this kid slaps me on the back with one. And I just started bawling my eyes out. I just cried and cried and cried. And then I think my mom was, "It's okay," and they made the kid apologize to me, even though I know he probably didn't want to. And then we had cake and it was all good.
What is your karaoke song?
I like "Bulls on Parade" by Rage Against the Machine. I'm a karaoke rapper, not a karaoke singer. I mean, I will karaoke sing, but it's so much more fun to rap.
Who was your first cinematic crush?
The woman that played Trinity in The Matrix. Carrie [Ann] Moss. I've seen The Matrix maybe a hundred times, if not more. I like all of them.
Do you believe we're living in the Matrix?
Yeah, to a degree. What is the Matrix? You know? I think we all fall victim to our own preconditions.
Did you ever go as Neo for Halloween?
Nah. I went as the green M&M, though. My sister was red and I was the green one.
Do you have any secret skills?
I'm really good at finding rooftops, or vantage points. . A lot of my friends and I, we used to find construction zones and we would just climb to the top of them. It was lots of fun. I don't do it anymore.
Where was your first kiss?
I was staying at this hotel in Century City, and there's a dance convention. I saw this girl. Her name's MacKenzie. And I was like, "Wow, you're pretty." I went up to her and asked her if she wanted to go to a movie with me and a friend, and she was like, "Yes." It was Cowboys vs. Aliens. I remember vividly—you know when you're on your first date? And you're at the movies sitting next to the person and you're young and you're innocent and you want to hold their hand, but you don't quite know how to instigate that. But you put your arm on the armrest—first base. And then they put their arm on the arm rest, and then you kind of move your hand a little closer to theirs, and then they move their hand a little closer to yours. "Oh my God, this is happening. I'm about to hold her hand!" So, then the movie ends, we get up, leave the theater, hold hands. We walk all the way back to the hotel and I walk her to her hotel room, and she gets in the room and right before, I'm like, "Goodnight kiss?" And we pecked. It was less than a millisecond, and she closed the door, and that was that. It was probably a terrible peck.