Why Joey King Agreed to Star in ‘The In Between’ Before There Was Even a Script

TheWrap chats with the stars and director of the Paramount+ original supernatural romance

Actress Joey King was approached to star in the new Paramount+ original film “The In Between” — a story about first love, loss and an epic romance — before it had even been fully written.

“Our writer Marc Klein came to me and my team with this idea,” King told TheWrap during a recent interview. “And the funny thing is, it wasn’t even a script yet. It wasn’t even a book yet. … He just had this amazing passion about him and this great story that he had personal ties to as well. And his pitch just blew me away.”

“The In Between,” which is now streaming exclusively on Paramount+, stars “The Kissing Booth” alum as Tessa, a teenager fresh from the foster system, whose one outlet from her difficult life is photography.

“I did not know anything about operating a [Minolta] film camera at all, and I got to learn which was so cool,” King said. “I learned a little bit more about photography and I really kind of fell in love with just capturing moments on the set. I took so many pictures on set, and I made a photo book at the end of shooting, and I just I still love looking through it. It’s just like a lovely little time capsule of like what we went through on our little movie.”

Things start to look up when Tessa meets Skylar (Kyle Allen) in a meet cute as random and romantic as they come. Skylar, a high school senior who believes in romance, offers to translate a French film for Tessa during a chance encounter at a movie theater where they both individually chose to see the same foreign film.

“[Skylar] speaks four languages,” Allen said. “And I would say a huge part of his character is being really family-oriented and not really being hurt by life, which is in contrast to Tessa’s character who has been severely hurt by life. Skylar hasn’t been hurt at all. … Anything that’s been mildly difficult in Skylar’s life he’s gotten over pretty easily.”

While Tessa has had a tough upbringing as a foster kid, King said it was easy to connect with her character.

“I think the best part about Tessa is that there is a relatability about her that everyone’s kind of experienced at one point or another in their life,” King said. “Whether it has to do with, you know, troubled relationships or family trauma or just anything that you’ve gone through that’s a hardship in your life. A lot of the times at some point we all get closed off and are not open to being vulnerable with ourselves with other people.”

But that vulnerability is tested when Skylar is tragically killed in a car accident. The aftermath of the accident, though, has a twist. As Tessa tries to come to terms with what happens, she starts to believe Skylar is trying to reach out to her from the other side. The supernatural-tinged love story provides an important message, according to Celeste O’Connor, who plays Tessa’s close friend, Shannon.

“I think the really essential and important message of the film is just how important love is and how powerful love is, because we follow a girl who has had all these traumatic experiences,” O’Connor told TheWrap in a separate interview. “And she finally opens up and that love, and that connection she feels to Skylar is what kind of pulls her to discover all these new things about herself and the world, and then the love that Shannon and [Tessa] have for each other kind of guides that journey as well. So, I think the importance of love is absolutely the central theme here.” 

“The In Between” director Arie Posin told TheWrap that part of the reason they wanted to make the film was as a response to the last few years.

“There’s been so much darkness the last couple of years. I feel like we were all very, very united in wanting to make something that had some light and some life to it,” he said. “It only takes one candle to light the darkness. We were trying to make a story about love that would kind of cut through the dark a little bit and I think that kept us going every day.”

King is excited for fans to see the meaningful duality in storytelling throughout the film, and she hopes it leaves people with a powerful message.

“This movie’s perspective [is] a beautiful version of what could happen after we pass away. We can view our lives in the in between and have closure and be able to just see what our lives gave us,” King said. “And also, the idea that we can still keep love alive through someone’s memory even after they’re gone is really gorgeous. And you know, I hope their hearts break and [that] their hearts are also uplifted.”

“The In Between” is now streaming exclusively on Paramount+