Netflix’s newest romantic comedy, The Perfect Date, stars Laura Marano as Celia Lieberman. The movie revolves around Brooks Rattigan (Noah Centineo), who needs money for college. After being hired to stand-in as Celia’s “boyfriend” one night, he launches an app selling himself as a personalized plus-one for all occasions. Naturally, things spin wildly out of control until Brooks realizes the fake life he’s built may cost him the most real thing he’s found.
Ahead of the film, Marano spoke exclusively with Talk Nerdy With Us about all things related to The Perfect Date, starting with how she got involved in the project. The Perfect Date came at “a funny time” in her life. Marano had a few other projects going on, and although they wanted her to be a part of the film from the beginning, scheduling simply wasn’t working out. She hadn’t even read the script yet. Time passed and they still hadn’t found anyone to play the part, so conversations rolled back to her. Marano finally read the story, “loved” the character of Celia and knew she wanted to be a part of the film.
She actually infused a little bit of herself into the character of Celia. “We definitely have a lot of similarities,” she said. “I think I bring myself to every character I play, just with a different flair.” For example, she said it takes a certain group of friends to bring out her sarcastic side whereas sarcasm is “the language Celia speaks.” Although Marano believes she put a lot of herself in Celia, she said a few people from her team saw the movie and said Celia could not be more different.
Speaking of Celia’s sarcastic side, a lot of that came from Jennifer Lawrence. Marano and Centineo would rehearse every single night, going over lines together, and when they took a break, she would look up some of her favorite sarcastic people to base Celia off. “Jennifer Lawrence was a little bit of who I was playing Celia as and [I] based a lot of similarities off of her.”
This isn’t the first time Marano and Centineo have starred together; the two of them worked on Marano’s Disney Channel show, Austin and Ally, with him playing her love interest, Dallas. So what was it like for the two of them to reunite after so many years? “It was like we hadn’t left each other,” she said. “It felt like no time had passed. We matured and we’re different [people now] … We were able to have deeper conversations this time around, the whole cast really, about love and life.”
The Perfect Date was filmed in New Orleans in early 2018, before Netflix had released films like The Kissing Booth and To All The Boys I Loved Before, thereby cementing its reputation as the savior of romantic comedies. It was even before Centineo blew up as one of this generation’s young heartthrobs. Marano said it’s funny looking back on the whole experience because they didn’t know at the time of filming that it would be acquired by Netflix, let alone be part of such a cultural moment. She was just excited to be involved in the film because she felt her “generation was in desperate need of a romcom”. But now, she says she can’t imagine The Perfect Date being released by anyone other than Netflix because of what the streaming service has done for the genre.
Marano also has two original songs featured in the film. In terms of how that came to be, she felt inspired to write a song for the movie and showed a demo of “A Little Closer” to producers. They loved it, so she went back in and “finessed it” a bit. After that, she remembered a song she had written a year prior and thought the lyrics to “Lie to Me” related to the movie as well. The producers agreed. “The producers are so awesome,” she said. “They didn’t have to include both songs but they did.”
And, of course, I had to ask Marano what real life situation would warrant her using the “The Stand-In” app if it actually existed. She said she’d simply use it in situations where she had a plus-one but no one to go with her because those events usually end up being “so beyond awkward.” As for what personality she would want her stand-in to take on, Marano said, “It sounds weird, but I’d want a barista. Not because I love coffee, but there is just something super romantic about that.”