Joey King has nothing but love for her Ramona and Beezus co-star, Selena Gomez.
In the decade since the family film was released in 2010, the 19-year-old King has gone from child actress to rising young star. Establishing herself with eclectic roles in both film and TV, from Fargo to The Kissing Booth, King still credits the G-rated feel-good movie (and Gomez) for helping her find her path.
“From the time we worked together until now, I’ve always really looked up to her,” King told ET at Hulu’s Television Critics Association winter press tour on Monday while promoting her new series, The Act. “I’m really proud of everything she’s done.”
King confessed that she hasn’t seen Gomez “in a really long time.” “But I think that everything she’s been doing lately with speaking out about mental health, I think it’s so beautiful and inspiring,” she said.
“She just shows everyone every day that no matter what your Instagram follower count says, no matter how much you may or may not edit your pictures, no matter how many photo shoots you do, no matter what your life is like, it’s OK to not be OK,” King explained. “I really love that she puts it out there for everyone to see. It’s very vulnerable for her. She’s a big inspiration to people, whether she realizes it or not.”
King has become a source of inspiration for young fans in her own right, gaining millions of new followers after the release of her Netflix film, The Kissing Booth, last year. Still, she can’t believe how far she’s come since Ramona and Beezus.
“I’m so appreciative of that film and everything it did for me,” she said of the movie, marveling at how people still recognize her from a performance she gave when she was just nine years old. “But I’m so excited now, for people to see me go from something like that to all the things I’ve had in between, to Kissing Booth, to now [The Act].”
The actress stars as Gypsy Rose Blanchard in the upcoming true crime series, which is based on the real-life case of a girl who helped kill her own mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, after years of Dee Dee convincing her daughter that she suffered from leukemia, asthma, muscular dystrophy and several other chronic conditions.
“This is truly something,” she said of The Act, in which she stars alongside Patricia Arquette. “I love comedy, I love action, I love all these different genres, but my heart really does lie with drama, and I feel my most confident and comfortable in drama.”
“I feel like I love diving into characters that have a lot of complexities that need exploring and need cracking open,” King added. “I want to crack them open.”
The Act will debut on Hulu on Wednesday, March 20 with two episodes. Subsequent episodes will be released every Wednesday.