By Perri Nemiroff
February 7, 2022
Joey King has been bubbling over with raw talent in front of the lens for quite some time now, but in the last few years, she’s also been mighty busy beefing up her filmography as a producer. It all began when she was made an executive producer on the two Kissing Boothsequels. Now, she’s also a producer on the mini-series, A Spark of Light, a producer on the February 11th release, The In Between, a co-producer on the upcoming coming of age film Camp, and an executive producer on a movie called The Princess as well. But that’s not all. In fact, King is a producer and a significant driving force behind a highly anticipated book adaptation — Uglies.
Based on the Scott Westerfeld novel, Uglies takes place in a world where everyone is considered “ugly” until they undergo a mandatory operation to become “pretty” at the age of 16. King plays Tally Youngblood. She’s just about to turn 16 and can’t wait to live the good life as a “pretty,” but, when Tally’s friend Shay runs away to avoid having the operation, Tally is forced to choose between turning her friend in or never becoming a “pretty” herself.
With The In Between due out on Paramount+ on February 11th, King took the time to join us for an episode of Collider Ladies Night to look back on some pivotal moments from her career, to discuss her experience making The In Between, and to look ahead to all the exciting things she has on the horizon. Of course, that includes the Uglies movie, something that could certainly be described as a passion project for King.
The film rights to the novel were first purchased back in 2006, shortly after the book was released. Clearly that never panned out, so I opted to ask King what it is about this iteration of the project that made it the right one. Turns out, King was far more instrumental in getting this movie off the ground than I realized. In fact, she was the one who secured the book rights for this adaptation. She explained:
“I’ve been trying to get this movie made for years, too. I’m obsessed. I was trying to obtain the book rights for so long and they were just always not available, so then I got ‘em! I got ‘em and then I said, ‘Hey Netflix, do you want to make this with me?’ And they were like, ‘Yeah!’ [Laughs] And it took a very long time to get that off the ground and I’m really lucky.”
Again, King does have a good deal of producing experience at this point, but Uglies is different. Whereas she was added to the Kissing Booth producing team and The In Betweenscript was brought to her, Uglies was a piece of material that required her to track down a partner to make it happen. She emphasized how lucky she was to find that partner in Netflix and then also highlighted a point that’ll likely make fans of the book series very happy; this film adaption received the author’s approval.
“I was really lucky that [Netflix was] on board with it, and that we got not only Scott Westerfeld’s stamp of approval, but his enthusiasm. He is so excited and I’m such a fan of his.”
On top of that? King insisted McG was the right director to helm the film and even teased some footage she was able to see while in production:
“McG is so smart and just was the perfect person I think to make this film. We finished filming in December, and McG was so generous and showed a lot of the footage to me and the cast while we were still shooting, and god, it looks cool already. It was zero effects, zero coloring, zero special effects edited in, and it made my heart skip a beat because I’m such a big fan of this book series and have been since I was 11-years-old, and I’ve wanted to play Tally Youngblood for that along. And now I made it happen with such a great group of people, and it’s looking fantastic. It is one of those moments, and I’ve had a lot of these moments, where I’m like, ‘Just punch me.’ But this one was a dream for so long and it happened, and I don’t care if the movie does amazingly or not amazingly, I’ll never ever forget how special it was for me to make that.”
Eager to hear more about King’s journey in the industry thus far? Stay tuned because we’ll have her episode of Collider Ladies Night for you on Friday, February 11th, just in time for the release of The In Between on Paramount+!