To All the Boys: Always and Forever

To All the Boys Heart-Throb Ross Butler Loves His Roti Canai

Dept. of Chats and Confabs


You’ve already seen Ross Butler in a lot of things. Over the last few years, the 6’3″ actor has built a rather successful Hollywood career playing the perennial jock – in Riverdale, in Teen Wolf, and in 13 Reasons Why. In To all the Boys: Always and Forever, the final instalment of the To All the Boys trilogy, Butler is back as Peter’s (Noah Centineo) best friend, Trevor, and gets to expand his role beyond playing yet another typical jock. We caught up with Ross Butler over Zoom to talk to him about about playing Trevor, as well as find out what his favourite Malaysian foods are. (His mum is originally from Penang!)

Umapagan Ampikaipakan: Watching To All the Boys: Always and Forever felt a little surreal, especially at this moment, because the parties, the graduation, the campus visits where everyone is kind of touching each other felt like a pre-pandemic relic, right? This movie comes out at a time when high schoolers can’t experience any of that. Do you think kids are going to respond differently to the movie because of that?

Ross Butler: Yeah, absolutely. Because we did shoot this before COVID, obviously, and a lot of kids, unfortunately, they weren’t able to go to high school, and they weren’t able to experience prom, and go to their homecoming dances…

UA: … or go to New York.

RB: Exactly! No one can go to New York. No one can just walk down the street without a mask. But I absolutely think that this is a nice break. It’s a nice reminder of what life was like before, and hopefully what we will get to in a few months, judging by the status of the world. But that’s just what makes it special. 

It’s a weird, melancholic feeling watching this and knowing that there are some kids that aren’t going to be able to experience it. Hopefully they can live vicariously through this film. 

To All the Boys: Always and Forever

UA: There is an interesting arc to all of the male characters in these newer teen movies in that no one seems to conform to a typical, or specific, idea of what masculinity is. And Trevor, for example, isn’t a “typical jock.” God knows we’ve see the “typical jock” in a hundred different movies. In fact, you play a lot of jocks, but you never play the “typical jock.” Talk to me about breaking that image we have seen in so many American movies.

RB: I love that question. Because it’s something that I set out to do from the beginning of my career. Not just to break the Asian-American stereotype, or the Asian stereotype, but also the jock stereotype. Playing an Asian jock by itself is already breaking the stereotype. So now that we’ve introduced this new archetypal character, we have to ask what the Asian jock is like? What goes into that? What part of our culture can we infuse? And that’s like just respect. And that is still excelling in academics while also being good at sports. 

What’s more, with this new Gen Z coming up, they are a lot more aware of other people’s identity. They are a lot of more aware of other people’s feelings. They are very inward looking as far as trying to understand themselves rather than trying to adhere to an image that has been created. 

Athletes, you know, they’re not just meatheads.

So you have the 80s jock, which is the white guy, letterman jacket, douche bag. He doesn’t care about anyone. And then you fast forward to now and we have jocks that have feelings, because in reality, jocks do have feelings. Athletes, you know, they’re not just meatheads. There are some. But I think the less and less we try to define a group of people with as few words as possible, the more injustice we are doing to them.

I’m just doing my job. Which is just living cool characters and making them more interesting. 

To All the Boys: Always and Forever

UA: Ross, because I’m shameless and want the Internet clicks, I’ve got to know, what your favourite Malaysian dish is. What does your mum cook that you absolutely love?

RB: Oh, man! So my mom is from Penang and she makes a Penang curry that she taught me how to make. And it’s just chicken and green beans, and it’s delicious.

Also, roti canai. I could eat that all day. All day. When I went to Malaysia, to visit, they would have guys doing it on the side of the road. And it’s just amazing. But what makes the best roti, besides just the texture of the roti, is the chicken curry that you dip it in. I could eat that just by itself. It’s amazing.

To All the Boys: Always and Forever is now streaming on Netflix. You can listen to our review of the movie on The Goggler Podcast.

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