How to Get Cast on ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’

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Photo Source: Erika Doss/Prime Video

Studios and streamers are increasingly embracing the young-adult genre, which means more jobs for up-and-coming young actors. Take Prime Video’s “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” Jenny Han’s adaptation of her own 2009 book trilogy. The series, which debuted in 2022, centers on a love triangle between three teens over the course of a summer in a coastal New England town.

This isn’t the first time her novels have gotten the small-screen treatment; Netflix has released three films based on Han’s bestselling rom-com trilogy “To All the Boys,” beginning in 2018 with “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” Just as those movies launched the careers of Noah Centineo and Lana Condor, “The Summer I Turned Pretty” has brought young stars Lola Tung, Christopher Briney, and Gavin Casalegno into the spotlight. 

With two seasons in the bag and a third on the way, there’s still room for more up-and-coming teen actors to join the series. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about getting cast on “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” including insights into what the series’ CDs are looking for and audition advice from the show’s top talent.

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What is “The Summer I Turned Pretty” about?

The show follows Isabel “Belly” Conklin (Tung), a 15-year-old whose family spends the warmer months at her mother, Laurel’s (Jackie Chung), friend Susannah’s (Rachel Blanchard) house in Cousins Beach. This summer, Belly decides to act on her long-standing crush on Susannah’s son Conrad (Briney); but things get complicated when his brother, Jeremiah (Casalegno), also begins to take an interest.

Who’s in the cast of “The Summer I Turned Pretty”?

Seasons 1 and 2 featured:

  • Lola Tung as Isabel “Belly” Conklin
  • Christopher Briney as Conrad Fisher
  • Gavin Casalegno as Jeremiah Fisher
  • Sean Kaufman as Steven Conklin
  • Jackie Chung as Laurel Park
  • Rachel Blanchard as Susannah Fisher
  • Rain Spencer as Taylor Madison Jewel
  • Summer Madison as Nicole
  • Alfredo Narciso as Cleveland
  • David Iacono as Cam
  • Minnie Mills as Shayla
  • Kelsey Rose Healey as Dara
  • Lilah Pate as Gigi
  • Jocelyn Shelfo as Marisa
  • Elsie Fisher as Skye
  • Kyra Sedgwick as Julia
  • Colin Ferguson as John Conklin
  • Tom Everett Scott as Adam Fisher

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Credit: Erika Doss/Prime Video

Who are the casting directors for “The Summer I Turned Pretty”?

David Rapaport and Lyndsey Baldasare (“You,” “Riverdale,” “The Flash”) of Rapaport/Baldasare Casting are the primary CDs behind the series. 

The two industry veterans want to see auditioners excel. “We’re really rooting for the actor to do well. I’ve said this before: Selfishly, I want you to do well because it makes me look good,” Rapaport told us. “I really want actors to come in and feel comfortable and do their best. It’s a weird process, auditioning. You have to come in and be completely open and vulnerable in front of people you don’t know in a room you’ve never been in before.

“I think some actors assume we want to embarrass them or make them feel less than, when it’s the exact opposite,” he continued. “I want them to feel as safe as possible; I want them to do well; I want them to see it as an opportunity to perform, to act, hopefully to get some direction, and to workshop it if we can. I think it can be a really fun learning experience in the office. Ultimately, we want you to succeed.”

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How does the casting process work for “The Summer I Turned Pretty”?

While most actors struggle for years before getting their big break, Lola Tung landed the role of Belly mere weeks after linking up with a manager. “My now-manager reached out to me for the first time after seeing my monologue and said, ‘I think there’s this role that you could be right for,’ ” the actor told W

“I auditioned completely over Zoom, and I was in my first year at Carnegie Mellon. So I was living in Pittsburgh, and I sent in tapes for the role that I recorded with my roommates at home,” Tung told Seventeen. “Then I did the entire callback process on Zoom for Jenny and some of the producers. It was really wonderful to work with or to get to read with so many different actors, and to read for Jenny. They made the audition process so smooth.

“I had gotten a call saying that they wanted to Zoom with me and just sort of get to know me a little bit better, so I got on with Jenny and some of the producers,” she continued. “A couple of minutes in, Jenny delivered the news that I got the role. It was very exciting, and I called my mom crying afterward and we celebrated together, and then I celebrated with my roommates that night.”

Briney’s chemistry read with Tung also took place over Zoom. “I read with three actors as Belly, but it was pretty clear who was right for it right away,” he told Bazaar. “She had all the qualities that make Belly Belly and still finds a way to always stay grounded and honest in her work—and there’s a lot to learn from her. She works with the kindness, empathy, and humility of somebody who has been doing it their whole life.”

Sean Kaufman, who plays Belly’s brother, Steven, was studying at SUNY Purchase when his manager snagged him an audition for the series. “I just got very lucky,” he told Teen Vogue. “I didn’t think too much of it. I knew Jenny Han from ‘To All the Boys I've Loved Before,’ and I loved the movies. But I was like, I’m a college kid. I’m not going to get this, so I’ll just do it. I’ll send it out, it’ll go out into the ether, and I’ll never hear back from it again. 

“Then I was doing rehearsals for a play at the time in college, and I just remember hearing back and them being like, ‘Hey, we actually want you to call back for this chemistry read,’ ” he continued. “The process just kept on going, and I was getting more excited and more ready for the eventual disappointment; and then it never happened! I ended up booking it. I ended up having to leave college for it, which was a blessing.”

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When does filming for “The Summer I Turned Pretty” Season 3 start?

Though production was scheduled to begin last year, it was postponed due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. “We’re looking forward to going back, but there’s still a big hurdle: I haven’t read any scripts. We’ll see where it goes,” Briney told GQ.

“I’m excited to complete this story,” he added. “I remember when I booked it, the first thing I did was read the books. And I was like, I really hope we get to finish the story, because I would be upset if these characters didn’t get to sort of live out the full arc of their story on the screen. I’m grateful. I’m excited to get back to it. There’s a long way to go.”

Stay tuned here for updates.

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Where can you find “The Summer I Turned Pretty” casting calls?

Currently, there are no open notices for the series. In the meantime, check out these streaming gigs that are looking for talent now. You can also read our guide to auditioning for Prime Video so you’ll be prepared when “The Summer I Turned Pretty” starts casting again.

If you’re interested in joining other YA adaptations, check out these guides:

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What are the best tips for landing a role on “The Summer I Turned Pretty”?

Maintain your instrument. When it comes to auditioning, industry vet Kyra Sedgwick, who plays Susannah’s half-sister, says that actors should “come really prepared and be willing to change something. I think it’s important to read a script twice to really get all the details. It’s important to work with someone on your audition, even if it’s a friend or something—just to read with them.”

She added that it’s always a good idea to stay fresh, even if you don’t have a current gig. “You always learn from working. And if you aren’t working or getting paid to work, then you better be studying—because it’s like I always say—actually, Kevin [Bacon] always says. I’m going to steal his line: A painter can go home and paint, but we have to be given a job. We have to keep our instrument really going strong in between jobs. That really separated me from a lot of people my age when I was first starting out.” 

Have fun in the room. Newcomer David Iacono, who plays Cousins Beach local Cam, approaches the ups and downs of the industry with a positive mindset. “Being an actor allows you to help tell a story that might be able to reach into someone’s heart and let them feel seen,” he told us. “As most everybody knows, life is typically pretty hard. And especially with today’s technology—which definitely does have its immense amount of upsides—it can be so easy to feel as if you’re the only person going through what you’re going through. As an actor, the fact that we get to be able to reach out to somebody and tell a story that in some way guides them is just priceless.”

He also has one essential tip: “The one piece of advice that always comes to mind is that, nine times out of 10, you’re not gonna get the job; so you might as well have fun when you’re in [the room].”

Celebrate what makes you unique. Rain Spencer, who plays queen bee Taylor, says that, like everyone else, she gets frustrated when life tests her patience; but then she realigns her point of view. “I usually go on a walk and call a friend to tell them how I’m feeling and vent,” she told Refinery29. “Sometimes I will get my journal and write down a bunch of words of affirmation. Like I’ll write down: ‘I have everything I need and more. I lack nothing’—just certain affirmations like that to change my mindset.”

She added that it’s vital to remember that every actor has something special to bring to the table. “I think the best advice I ever received is that every single person is a 10 out of 10. Like, there are no nines. Although sometimes everyone can feel that way, it’s not the truth. And that also means that there [are] no 11s, so no one is better or worse than you. It’s all a made-up story. You belong here; no one else will ever be able to fill your shoes.”