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Taylor Zakhar Perez responds to Jacob Elordi’s criticism of ‘Kissing Booth’

Jacob Elordi may not be a fan of all three Kissing booth films he’s directed, but his Taylor co-star Zakhar Perez is ready to make a big kiss out of the romantic series.

The latter actor defended the Netflix trilogy by speaking to Variety Thursday, after Elordi made headlines for criticizing lightweight films and calling them “ridiculous.”

“I thought it was a shame because as far as I know, everyone had such a wonderful experience,” said Perez, also known for starring in the Prime Video romantic comedy. Red, white and royal blue. “It’s a shame that this was (Elordi’s) experience on set. Especially when these films came out, it was a time when we really needed something like this.”

Jacob Elordi and Taylor Zakhar Perez in “The Kissing Booth 2”.

Marcos Cruz/Netflix/Kobal/Shutterstock; Netflix / Courtesy of Everett

The kissing booth and its sequels debuted on Netflix in 2018, 2020, and 2021, with the latter two releasing during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Elordi, who is having an exceptional year with Priscilla And Salt burnwas criticized earlier this week for saying in a GQ cover story, “I didn’t want to do that (Kissing booth) films before making these films. These movies are ridiculous. They are not universal. It’s an escape.”

For Perez, the main thing was to escape. “I know from our interactions with fans that I get stopped everywhere I go, which Kissing booth means to people and what it did for them during such a dark time,” he said. “I guess the positive side is that it always made people laugh and feel good.”

Elordi starred in all three films as Noah Flynn, the love interest of Joey King’s Elle Evans. Perez joined the franchise for the second film as Marco, a new kid at school who becomes a rival for Elle’s affections, and reprized the role in the third film.

Elordi also spoke to Variety Thursday, and said he had not heard from any of his Kissing booth colleagues about what he had said. But, he said, “I’m incredibly grateful to everyone involved.”

Reps for Perez and Elordi did not immediately respond to EW’s request for additional comment Friday.

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