Teen star Joey King recently hit up Variety’s Power of Young Hollywood bash, where she was sporting on-trend pink tresses dyed for her 17th birthday on July 30. Like many of Tinseltown’s busiest high schoolers, she began acting before grade school, making her debut in a Life cereal commercial at age four. Now, she’s appearing in the upcoming dramedy “Zeroville” alongside James Franco, Will Ferrell, Seth Rogen, Jacki Weaver and Megan Fox, and the comedy “Going in Style” with Zach Braff. Here, she dishes with WWD on her longtime pals Franco and Braff, her first kiss and her fashion idol, Jaime King (no relation).
WWD: Tell us more about “Zeroville,” which was directed by and stars James Franco.
Joey King: We shot that about two or three years ago. James and I have a really lovely relationship. He’s one of my really close friends. I’ve known him for, like, five years now, so we’ve done a lot of projects together. He’s great. I cannot wait for people to see “Zeroville.” I had an amazing time playing the character Zazi.
WWD: We didn’t realize you guys were close. What did you and James bond over?
J.K.: We have the best time together. He always teases me and gives me a hard time about everything. We both love Beyoncé. We would listen to her in the hair and makeup trailer a lot. We would get up to switch chairs and we would Sasha Fierce it all the way over to each other. I did his movie “The Sound and the Fury” a while ago; he also directed that. He hired Keegan Allen to play my love interest. I had my first kiss with Keegan. I met him maybe an hour before we had to do the scene and he was 26 at the time and I was 14. I was so nervous. James told me he wouldn’t tell anybody that it was my first kiss, but then he made an announcement. I love Keegan and I’m so happy it was him because he’s the nicest person in the world, but I told James, “If you can squeeze Benedict Cumberbatch in there that would be great.”
WWD: You also have “Going in Style” directed by Zach Braff coming up.
J.K.: It was supposed to come out this year, but we pushed it to next April or May. And I cannot wait. It has an all-star cast including Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin and Ann Margret. I play Michael Caine’s granddaughter. It was literally one of the most legendary, magical experiences I’ve ever had in my entire life. It’s so funny too.
WWD: Did you know Zach prior to shooting?
J.K.: Yes. I’ve actually known Zach for the same amount of time as I’ve known James. We all worked together for the first time on “Oz: The Great & Powerful” and then I did “Wish I Was Here” with Zach, which was the one I shaved my head for. I know those guys pretty well and it’s been amazing knowing them this long. Hopefully we’ll continue making amazing memories.
WWD: We heard you also have a Courtney Love film project in the works: about a teenage girl with a dysfunctional family who dreams of becoming a writer. What can you tell us about that?
J.K.: We have not shot that yet. It’s called “The Possibility of Fireflies.” It’s a great script.
WWD: What are you filming next?
J.K.: I have a movie I’m starting in the fall called “Wish Upon,” which is a thriller. It’s going to be insane. The director is John R. Leonetti, who was the director of photography for “The Conjuring,” which I also appeared in. So I’m getting to work with some familiar faces.
WWD: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given?
J.K.: One of the coolest things I’ve ever heard from somebody that I look up to very much was from Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I ran into him at the “This is The End” after party and I was like, “Oh my god. I love you so much.” He was like, “I know who you are. I think you’re pretty cool, but listen. You see all this stuff? The Hollywood parties? As much fun as it is, it’s not real life. You have to know that and always be gracious.” I thought that was awesome.
WWD: You’re also close with Jaime King. What do you love most about her?
J.K.: Oh my god. Literally, her closet is the greatest thing in the world. A lot of people think we’re related too. We’re actually not. But we want to be. We went out to breakfast or lunch one time and I had on this like vintage dress. It was fine. She had these Chanel overalls on. I’m like, “Dude. Kill me. Get out of that. I look stupid next to you.” She was like, “What?” And she had her cute little baby bump. I was like, “Stop. Looking so cute all the time.”