The sequel to Netflix’s “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” has made some significant changes behind the scenes from the first movie, but switching out one of Lara Jean’s love interests has caused quite an uproar. Talented actor, dancer, and singer Jordan Fisher has been cast as the charming John Ambrose, a move that has created mixed feelings for fans.
In the first film, Lara Jean Covey’s (Lana Condor) childhood love letters that she had no intention of mailing get leaked to her five crushes during her junior year in high school. She eventually ends up dating one of the boys, Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), but during the end credits, John Ambrose (Jordan Burtchett) shows up on her doorstep with one of the incriminating letters.
Fisher’s casting is a surprise for fans who had expected Burtchett to reprise his role as John Ambrose, a potential rival for Peter. Burtchett has also appeared in “Cult” and “The Killing,” but Fisher is the bigger name. He’s a known pop singer who starred as Mark Cohen in Fox’s “Rent: Live,” assumed the role of John Laurens/Philip Hamilton in the Broadway production of “Hamilton,” won the 25th season of “Dancing With the Stars,” and has recurring roles on “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and “Liv and Maddie,” among other additional musical TV credits.
It’s unclear what has prompted the recasting. Producer Matt Kaplan gave no indication of why the change was made in a statement given to EW: “We couldn’t be more excited to have Jordan Fisher join the ‘To All the Boys’ family as John Ambrose McClaren. Jordan’s charisma practically leaps off the screen with anything he does, whether it’s acting, singing, or dancing. There isn’t a more perfect guy who could believably shake things up in Lara Jean and Peter’s world.” IndieWire has reached out to Netflix for comment.
“To All the Boys I Loved Before” was part of the #AsianAugust wave of films released last year — including “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Searching” — that cast Asians in significant, non-stereotypical roles. Fisher’s presence adds even more diversity to the mix. In the first film, only one of Lara Jean’s letter recipients is a person of color, and none of them were Asian, which had prompted some criticism. Fisher is of multi-ethnic descent, claiming a mix of English, Polynesian (Tahitian), Cambodian, Nigerian, Italian, Greek, and Scandinavian origins.
The triple threat shared his casting news on Twitter on Thursday:
— Jordan Fisher (@Jordan_Fisher) March 28, 2019
“To All the Boys I Loved Before” was directed by Susan Johnson, who will stay on as an executive producer for the sequel. She hands the baton to Michael Fimognari, who worked as the director of photography on the first film. Both movies are based on the teen book trilogy by Jenny Han. A release date for the sequel has yet to be announced.