Jacob Latimore and Wolfgang Novogratz are two of the stars in Netflix’s latest original film, The Last Summer. Featuring several intersecting stories, the movie follows a group of recent high school graduates as they navigate their way through their final summer before taking off for college.
I got the chance to briefly catch up with both of them and talk about how they got involved with The Last Summer, whether they got a chance to hang out with the rest of the cast off set, what they’re currently nerding out about and much more. Check it out!
Tell me a little bit about how you got involved with The Last Summer. What was your audition process like? What did you guys first think about the movie when you read the script?
Jacob: I actually got an offer from William [Bindley] and the producers on the team; they approached me with the script and said, “We really want you to be a part of this film.” Once I saw the cast, I was like, “Man this is a really cool cast.” I’ve done a lot of spiritually draining films [laughs], heavy dramas. This is a film that I felt like was light, relatable and a fun story where I could have a voice for young teens who just don’t really know what they want to do in life quite yet. Maybe they went through the same experience that my character was going through with relationships, friends, growing apart and facing adulthood. So that’s why I tagged along with it and that was my process.
Wolfgang: For myself, I auditioned. But first, when I read the script, I saw I was going to be reading for the part of Foster and I saw that Jacob was already attached to the role of Alec and, this is honest truth, I was so excited because about 90% of my scenes were all going to be with Jacob and I’ve just been such a fan [of his] and have so much respect for his work as a musician and as an actor, and the directors and the actors he’s had a chance to work with. So I was so excited for the audition. It was just one audition and I got the call that I had gotten the part.
But it’s funny, originally Foster was written as kind of like a Steve Stiffler character from American Pie, kind of this douche bag that’s trying to hook up with all these girls. But I just felt to myself that we had seen that kind of archetype in so many movies, and I started thinking, “Okay, what’s this motivation behind this hookup list he has?” So then I came up with he’s a virgin and he’s a virgin that’s trying to take all these opportunities because he’s desperate to get laid before he starts college. So I was talking to William, the director, on the phone about this and then he actually added a scene to kind of change the character; the scene between Jacob and I in the truck where you find out that Foster’s a virgin was written just a couple of days before we shot it, which was really cool and [I] just tried to make him not [necessarily] more likable, but hopefully you just understand him a little more. Cause I knew certain guys that maybe on the surface were handsome or you think they would do well with girls but they don’t and then why is that? I think kind of exploring that.
Wait, so you came up with that whole part of the storyline? That wasn’t originally part of the movie at all?
Wolfgang: No, no. He was written as this guy who’s trying to hook up with all these girls and doesn’t really care and he’s not scoring with them. I came up with he’s a virgin and he’s doing this to up his odds because honestly I just thought about guys that I had met. There was a line that he says in the movie with the scene with Christine Purdy, he says, “I do Christian bodybuilding.” I’m like, “why is he high school bodybuilder?” And then we came up with he was really overweight as a kid and was always very insecure about that. So it’s his last summer after graduating, he got in great shape, he’s rebranding himself and he’s a new man and he’s going to try to hook up with one of these girls.
That’s so awesome. Jacob, you just briefly mentioned how you hope that this film is relatable to young adults. So I’m curious in what ways did you guys personally relate to your characters or at least did you guys see the 17/18 year old versions of yourselves in these characters?
Jacob: That’s actually another reason why I did the film. I was homeschooled since I was in middle school so the idea of having that last summer with my high school friends before I go to college was something I really didn’t get a chance to experience. I started very early on with my career, so sort of being able to live through certain experiences on screen that I didn’t get to experience in my reality was fun to play with and to think about if I was in this situation, what would I do or how would I feel? I just sort of rolled with those punches as they came to me on set.
Wolfgang: Then with Foster, you know it’s funny actually, I didn’t really relate to him personally. I couldn’t relate to his personal experience, but I based him on a lot of guys I grew up with and some friends of mine who were maybe trying too hard with girls or are desperate to get laid or trying to constantly reinvent themselves for whatever girl they were into. So that’s really where I got the inspiration to create the character was basing it on just people I’d come across who reminded me of Foster.
Gotcha. I know you just mentioned that most of your scenes were together and having seen the movie, there’s not really a lot of overlap with the other storylines. So did you guys get close with the rest of the cast or since you guys weren’t all on set at the same time, you weren’t really hanging out as much off set?
Jacob: We tried to spend as much time as we could [with each other], but everyone had different schedules. Some people had already wrapped by the time I got to set. So during this press junket is really the time we get to spend with each other and we have the red carpet tonight. This is the fun stuff where we get to see each others performances and what everyone had to work on each day and see the film come together.
Wolfgang: I got lucky actually. I pretty much had formed really nice relationships with everybody. You know, Jacob and I, we were pretty much spending every day together, really exploring Cleveland because it was our first time [there]. We were going to Cedar Point amusement park, we were going to Cavs basketball games, we were going to Indians baseball games. Then KJ and I, even though we don’t have any scenes together, he was there a lot of the times that I was and we actually share an agent which is funny enough…
Jacob: Oh yeah, we all hit the gym too, me, you and KJ.
Wolfgang: [laughs] That’s right. And he loves romantic comedies, so we bonded over those movies. And then Maia [Mitchell], the guy who she’s in a relationship with is best friends with a woman that I grew up with, so it’s a really small world. And then Halston [Sage], I actually graduated high school with her sister. The only person I hadn’t met with Tyler [Posey] because he filmed his stuff in Chicago after us. But honestly, we’ve been spending the whole press junket together and we really, just naturally, have a nice rapport.
That’s such a small world. I always love when those just weird coincidences happen.
Wolfgang: Yeah, it’s crazy.
You mentioned you filmed this in Cleveland. Was it actually last summer that you guys filmed this?
Wolfgang: It was during summer because we went to the NBA finals between the Cavs and the Warriors. It was around like June/July.
Jacob: Yeah, it was just at the start of summer, end of the spring. I was there for like five, six weeks all together.
Gotcha. So I know we don’t have that much more time, so I’ll just end this with one final question. Our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd, so what is something you guys are currently nerding out about?
Jacob: Nerding out about right now? Um, Wolfgang, you go first.
Wolfgang: Okay well I just love movies. I’m obsessed with movies and I’m trying to watch just as many classic movies as I can. So right now I’m trying to watch as many Howard Hawks movies, Cary Grant romantic comedies, and movies with Humphrey Bogart. That’s really what I’m focusing on right now. Last night, I watched Sabrina for the first time, directed by Billy Wilder, with Audrey Hepburn and William Holden and Humphrey Bogart and it’s just one of the funniest, cutest, best romantic comedies I’ve ever seen. So yeah, just saw that last night.
Jacob: I think what I’m nerding out about right now, I went twice in a row to the Millennium Tour with B2K, Mario, Ying Yang Twins, Lloyd, Bobby V, like all the 2000s nostalgia R&B/hip-hop acts. I literally went two nights in a row at the Forum and I was screaming, I was turning up, I got it all on camera. It was crazy.