Christopher Briney Knows You Might Hate Conrad in “The Summer I Turned Pretty”
Image Source: Getty Images / Craig Barritt
In our Q&A series “POPSUGAR Crush,” we get to know some of our favourite celebs’ more intimate details – from their first celebrity crush to the best love advice they’ve ever received. This month, we’re crushing on “The Summer I Turned Pretty” star Christopher Briney.
Christopher Briney knows you might hate Conrad sometimes when you watch “The Summer I Turned Pretty.” He can relate.
“When I first read the book and when the script started coming in, I was like, ‘This dude kind of sucks,'” he tells POPSUGAR. Conrad is one of the love interests chasing the heart of Belly (Lola Tung) in the new Amazon Prime Video series, based on the series of novels by Jenny Han. Conrad is the older son of Belly’s mom’s best friend, and Belly’s had a crush on him for what feels like her whole life. But at the start of the series, Conrad can be withholding and distant from everyone around him.
“He’s really rude and he’s not telling people how he feels, and that’s why he’s in all this trouble,” Briney explains. But as the actor explored the character, his own feelings toward Conrad changed, and he realised he was more than the classic brooding-bad-boy archetype. “He’s just young and . . . just trying to keep it together for the people he loves,” he says. “Yes, he owes an apology to some people in the world, but he’s 17. He can make mistakes. He’s going to continue to make mistakes, and he’s just hurt.”
Briney was actually in Liverpool shooting the first project he’d ever booked, the upcoming “Dalíland,” during the audition process for “The Summer I Turned Pretty.” He did all his chemistry reads with Tung over Zoom. The day of the table read for the movie was the day he found out he was cast as Conrad. “That was one of the better days I’ve been lucky enough to have,” he says.
Just a few years ago, Briney was a college student in New York City, studying hard and working service jobs to pay the bills. He worked at Trader Joe’s on the Lower East Side. “I’m trying to go out to dinner once in a while, while going through school,” he jokes about his time in the service industry. “It’s not easy.”
“I’m Team Conrad. I have to be. It’s in my contract.”
Before the show went into production, most of the main cast arrived in North Carolina, where they filmed, a few weeks early to start to forge connections. “It was such a blessing to be able to make those actual friendships and to have time because they gave us time to get to know each other, spend time with each other, and actually go to the beach and get up to trouble with each other,” Briney says. “By the first day [of shooting], it felt like we’d known each other for years.” For Briney, that bonding time was essential to forging his relationships with Gavin Casalegno, who plays his brother, Jeremiah; with Sean Kauffman, who plays Belly’s brother, Steven; and with Tung.
One of Briney’s favourite days on set was when the cast filmed the volleyball tournament. He was a volleyball novice. “They gave us lessons every weekend leading up to shooting that episode, but I’d never played outside of gym class, but you don’t actually know what you’re doing in gym class,” he jokes. “It’s really hard.”
“The job was to just be better than the other teams,” he says. “They were all letting us be better than them. So it just felt like we were really good at volleyball for a good five hours.” He says Kauffman turned out to be the best volleyball player among the bunch.
All seven episodes of “The Summer I Turned Pretty” are now streaming on Prime Video. Check out the rest of Briney’s “POPSUGAR Crush” interview ahead.
Team Conrad, Jeremiah, or Cam?
I’m Team Conrad. I have to be. It’s in my contract. No, but I have such a soft spot for Cam and maybe it’s just because I love David [Iacono] so much, but I think he’s so sweet, and as much as it seems like he’s not the right one for Belly, he is so sweet and deserving of a good life.
Favourite pickup line:
“Hey, how are you?” Does that count?
Favourite flirtatious emoji:
I like the two eyes, like the side-eyes. 👀 I send that to Sean a lot.
Signature scent (go-to cologne/perfume):
I just wear deodorant, and it seems to do me well.
Favourite form of self-care:
Therapy, for sure.
Dogs or cats?
I grew up with cats and a dog, and I have trouble picking. It’s nice to have a dog who wants to be your friend, but the validation of a cat wanting to be your friend is pretty significant. I think I have to pick cat, but it’s not an easy decision to make.
What’s your coffee/tea order?
I’ve been doing a lot of oat-milk cappuccinos recently, but I think overall just a black cup of coffee.
Go-to movie night movie?
Best love advice?
Just be honest with the people you care about. Just tell people how you feel, when you feel something. Share that with people.
Best trip you’ve been on?
I took this really wonderful road trip with my dad and my sister after my freshman year of college. We just did a road trip. We drove all the way across into Arizona up into Canada, back down, across through Chicago, and I’m from Connecticut. So it took us two weeks, but it was great. It was a wonderful time, and we didn’t kill each other.
Getting dressed up or wearing comfy clothes?
It’s got to be comfy clothes. It’s fun to be dressed up, but then I’m like “I can’t spill. This has to go back to the owner.”
Favourite gift you’ve ever received?
I’ve had some very generous people in my life. . . . After I’d wrapped the very first project I ever shot . . . the production bought me a custom Zippo lighter, like old school because the character smoked, but he used a lot of lighters. It had the title of the movie engraved on the side, and I still have that back at my apartment.