TV & Movies

Kissing Booth Star Joey King's Best Movie & TV Roles Show Her Range

She’s come a long way since Ramona and Beezus.

Joey King is photographed at the '7th Annual Gold Meets Golden' event.
Kurt Krieger - Corbis/Corbis Entertainment/Getty Images

Joey King’s journey to Hollywood stardom began when she was just a child. Hailing from Los Angeles, the actor was born into a family of performers (both of her sisters are in the entertainment business, too!), but she’s carved her own successful path in the competitive industry.

King’s first high-profile project was starring alongside Selena Gomez as Beezus in the 2010 movie Ramona and Beezus. From there, the 22-year-old has taken on a variety of memorable characters, including that of Ellie “Elle” Evans in the hit Kissing Booth franchise, which wrapped up with its third installment on Aug. 11. The former child star’s depiction of Elle propelled the talented 20-something into a new era of her career, which shows no signs of slowing down.

The Byrdie Fall 2021 digital cover girl, who won her first Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her work in The Act, says she loves “becoming different people.” That much is obvious in the film and television roles King pursues. From Ramona and Beezus to The Kissing Booth, her range and talent are self-evident. So, if you’re a fan of King and want to watch her in action, check out these titles, which spotlight the rising star.

Ramona and Beezus

James Devaney/WireImage/Getty Images

Ramona and Beezus was Joey King’s breakout role. Based on Beverly Cleary’s beloved characters Ramona and Beatrice Quimby, King held her own as Beezus at the tender age of 10. She also acted alongside none other than Selena Gomez (Ramona), John Corbett of Sex and the City fame, and Blue Bloods’ Bridget Moynahan, who both played the Quimby parents. About 10 years after Ramona and Beezus premiered, King reflected on the pivotal role. “I’m so appreciative of that film and everything it did for me,” she told Entertainment Tonight.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

King’s appearance in Crazy, Stupid, Love may appear smaller than some of her co-stars, but it still packed a mighty punch. She starred as Emma Stone’s younger sister Molly Weaver in the 2011 romantic comedy. Although her storyline didn’t include any dalliances in love, she was still able to observe Stone, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, and Julianne Moore’s madcap experiences.

King didn’t have a ton of lines in Crazy, Stupid, Love, but they were still indelible, thanks to her delivery and facial expressions. Standout scenes include the ones where she calls Marisa Tomei’s character pretty and the funny moment when she watches TV during Cal (Carell) and Jacob’s (Gosling) altercation at her family home.

The Conjuring

Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage/Getty Images

King’s leading role as Christine in The Conjuring was a frightful affair. The 2013 horror movie centered around the character and her family as they sought help from being terrorized by a malevolent entity. In real life, the performer, who was 12 years old at the time of filming, was battling other haunting forces. In an interview with Howard Stern, she told the shock jock that the movie “messed me up for my whole life” and that she acquired mysterious bruises all over her body during production.

“The makeup ladies thought I was stealing their fake bruises and, like, playing a joke on them. I was like, ‘Why would I do that? I’m not doing that. That’s crazy.’” They didn’t believe me. They tried to take my real bruises off with rubbing alcohol and oil,” King recalled. After taking blood tests, her doctor suspected early signs of leukemia, but it turned out she had a “blood-thinning condition called ITP.” She then claimed that she’d never had a blood problem in the past or since that experience.

The Act

Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The Act helped solidify King’s A-lister status as she earned critical acclaim for her performance as Gypsy Rose Blanchard. The 2019 miniseries is based on the true-life story of Gypsy and her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, and involving cases of Munchausen Syndrome by proxy and murder. King’s preparation for the role of Gypsy Rose included shaving her head and listening to countless hours of footage. “I would sometimes fall asleep listening to her interviews, like in my ears in my headphones, so that I could get her voice really ingrained in my brain,” she told Bustle. Her research paid off in spades as it helped King score her first Emmy and Golden Globe nominations in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The Kissing Booth

Marcos Cruz/Netflix

Fans have seen King perform in a plethora of dark and dramatic films, so her turn as Elle Evans in The Kissing Booth proved as a fun departure. The movie, based on Beth Reekles’ young adult novel of the same name, features King in the middle of two brothers seeking her affection in different ways. The first movie did so well in 2018 among viewers that Netflix, and King, signed on for its sequel and third installment, which premieres on Netflix Wednesday, Aug. 11.

The franchise’s lead confessed to Glamour Mexico that she has “a lot in common” with her Kissing Booth character and was “very lucky to be able to interpret her.”

When faced with answering questions about how it felt to work alongside her ex-boyfriend, King conveyed to Cosmopolitan, “Elle Evans needs her Noah Flynn, and whatever that means for my personal life, I’ll do anything to make sure the story of my character who I care about so much is complete.”