In one scene in Always and Forever, the group is on a school excursion in New York and waiting downstairs in a hotel lobby for their teachers. As Peter and Lara Jean meet up and begin chatting about their plans for the day, Trevor turns to his on-and-off girlfriend, the sarcastic and too-cool-for-school Chris (Madeleine Arthur), and flirtingly tells her, “You look great today, like a painting.”
“Like, a Botticelli?” she replies back, referencing the Italian painter Sandro Botticelli.
“Yep, like spaghetti.”
“I'm gonna be honest with you,” Butler begins to explain to Girlfriend, “that Botticelli line is one of my favorites because it was completely impromptu. It was one of those things that just came up. A lot of the comedy [in the film comes] from the natural chemistry between me and Madeleine [Arthur].”
“It came from this weird moment where I was just like, ‘oh, you look great. You're like a painting,’ which, yeah, just came out of nowhere. And then she says, ‘like, a Botticelli?’ to which I reply, ‘Yep, like a spaghetti.’”
“It's the moments like those that I'll always remember,” Butler continues, adding that “I’m very much like Trevor, just naturally.”
In the second film—To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You—LJ, Peter, Trevor and Chris are at a house party. In the scene, we focus on Lara Jean’s estranged feelings towards her boyfriend Peter at a party. As she watches him from across the room be the centre of attention, she confides in a friend that she feels more distant towards Peter since they started dating than when they pretended to date in the first film. But, in the background, Trevor and Chris steal the scene as they flirt by the stairs, spraying whipped cream on each other and wrestling—an adorably playful moment Butler admits was completely improvised.
“There's a moment where Chris and I—well, Chris and Trevor, me and Madeline—are sitting on the steps of a party. The only thing it says in the script is that [Lara Jean and Peter] look at us, and we're just flirting,” he explained. “With Chris and Trevor, we wanted to show more than tell our relationship. Yeah, those creative moments are gonna be my favorite.”
Being cast in so many shows set in high school comes with its own added homework, ofc. As Butler is now 30-years-old, it’s been a hot minute since he was in his final year of high school, so it can be a challenge to put himself in the shoes of a high schooler experiencing things for the first time again—and again… and again.
“The hardest scenes for me to connect to are probably the prom and dance scenes to be completely honest,” Butler admits. “One, this is probably my sixth or seventh dance scene as a high schooler, so I have to try to relive that same feeling that it's Homecoming, or as if this is my first Prom. It's just, it's like beating a dead horse, and I'm happy I probably don't have to do one for a while.”
“Also, as an adult, it's kind of weird to be at a dance,” he continues. “What's the adult parallel of a dance, like a club? I don't go to clubs and dance so having to force myself to dance is hard. By the way, a little bit of movie magic: a lot of the time, they don't even play music when they tell you to dance, so that they can hear the dialogue between the two people speaking. So, all those things put together make dance scenes particularly difficult for me.”
But, something that helps make that all worth it? The time spent with his castmates. As any follower of Ross Butler’s Instagram can tell you, he and his To All The Boys co-star, Noah Centineo are best buds. The pair are always seen hanging out and goofing about—last year, Noah did a gaming cardinal sin and leaked Ross’s island code in Animal Crossing, inviting all sorts of randoms into his Animal Crossing game.
“We just immediately clicked because of our shared sense of humour,” Butler said. “So being on set with him and working with him, it didn't really feel like work. It felt kind of like we were just hanging out.”
“This may seem really specific, but in the movie, there's a montage of when we go to New York, and we're like just going around seeing all the sights,” he continued. “They didn't record any audio or dialogue for this. But just being able to go to all these landmarks and improvise funny lines with Noah was just super fun.”
“It felt like something that I kind of just want to do in my real life because I really haven't had too many opportunities to travel with friends just because all my friends are actors and schedule and with COVID and everything. So yeah, weirdly, the scene where there's no dialogue or any emotion involved whatsoever was the most emotional for me, because I was like, this is something that I wish I could be doing.”
To All The Boys: Always And Forever fittingly releases on Netflix on the 14th February.