Why Jeremiah From The Summer I Turned Pretty Looks So Familiar

He may have shot to fame as Jeremiah in the Amazon Prime smash "The Summer I Turned Pretty," but Gavin Casalegno is not new to show business. The Texas-born actor with the mesmerizing blue eyes has been modeling and acting since the age of 4, which could explain why he looks so familiar. One of his earliest gigs was in an ad campaign for the premium athletic brand Starter with none other than football legend Tony Romo, who he says taught him to throw a football. From there, he appeared in countless commercials for national brands, including Sony, and it wasn't long before Hollywood took notice. "By age 11, I booked my first film and life was never the same after that. I had a thirst for film. It hasn't stopped," he told The Daily Front Row

For someone so young, Casalegno has an impressive body of work under his belt. He has held his own with some heavy hitters, acting alongside venerated stars like Sir Anthony Hopkins. Even with such a notable resume, it wasn't until he landed the breakout role of Jeremiah in the long-awaited television adaptation of the wildly popular Jenny Han books that Casalegno's star, along with his number of social media followers, shot sky high. To manage the sudden fame, Casalegno says he relies on his faith, family, and friends to keep him grounded.

At the start of his career, he was in I Am...Gabriel

With his angelic face, it's no wonder that Gavin Casalegno was cast in the title role of the faith-based film "I Am...Gabriel." Written and directed by Mike Norris, the story is set in the small town of Promise, Texas, and features an angel disguised as a young boy who guides a town toward salvation. The story was a good fit for Casalegno who was raised in the church. Looking back on the movie in a 2022 chat with Da Man, he said his part in the direct-to-DVD flick was his most "unique" and life-changing role to date. "I still get messages from people around the globe of how that film inspired them," he shared. "And I think that's what I actually want to do in life: To inspire people to be better versions of themselves and to learn something."

In addition to his choice of roles, Casalegno tries to be inspiring through his social media feed. In one Instagram post, he reminds his followers to "Keep your eyes set on things above," and he often mentions his faith in interviews. When talking with Shondaland about how he navigates the glare of the public eye, he said, "So, the quick fix for me is just deleting Instagram and all these apps to kind of check out, to be with my family and be with myself, to spend some time with the Lord — that's really where I thrive."

Gavin Casalegno acted along A-listers in Noah

When a teenaged Gavin Casalegno shared the screen with Sir Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly, and Russell Crowe in 2014's "Noah," he had no idea that less than a decade later, he would become a household name, too. Casalegno played the role of Young Shem in the Darren Aronofsky-helmed drama of biblical proportions that was flooded with great talent. What better place for a young, up-and-coming actor to learn his craft? Casalegno told Da Man that working with the film's cast was "a dream come true," and the movie itself was also meaningful. "I grew up going to church and learning about this biblical story," he said. "So, it was even more special to me."

One of Casalegno's favorite memories from "Noah" happened behind the scenes. In an interview with his former high school newspaper, the red ledger, he reflected on a day when he and Crowe were admiring the view of the mountains following a storm. "So after the rain stopped it got really foggy up on the mountains and it looked like the fog was dripping down the mountains in streams of fog. So, Russell Crowe grabbed the sides of my head and said 'Remember me with this,'" he shared. "I've always had that picture in my mind." 

The Vampire Diaries brought in Gavin Casalegno

When asked to name an actor he admired, Gavin Casalegno had an ex-Cullen-t answer for The Daily Front Row. "I think Robert Pattison [sic] is a fantastic actor," he shared. "I had the pleasure of meeting him in LA and was blown away by how humble he was." Kind of makes you wonder if he had everyone's favorite teen vampire in mind when he appeared in an episode of "The Vampire Diaries" in 2015. In it, he played a younger version of Ian Somerhalder's Damon Salvatore. The role is quite the departure from the eternally cheery, upbeat Jeremiah Fisher he went on to play on "The Summer I Turned Pretty." 

So which character is closer to Casalegno's off-camera personality? As far as he's concerned, it's Jeremiah. "It's crazy! I feel like [writer] Jenny [Han] wrote this character for me," he said to The Daily Front Row. "I'm a golden retriever happy-go-lucky kind of guy." And while you may think that would make playing the part easier, Casalegno dished to Da Man that Jeremiah has been his most challenging acting gig to date. "It's easy to play roles that are so drastically far apart from the person you are, but it can get confusing being someone just like you with subtle differences that change the entire way you think," he said. "You really need to be in tune with your thoughts and your heart posture to determine if it's actually you or the character you are playing."

He nabbed the lead in Nine Seconds

A movie about a young boy following his dreams is the subject of "Nine Seconds," and it feels like art imitating life for its star. Gavin Casalegno plays the lead role of Cole Jackson, a high school runner who, along with his coach, must overcome great personal losses in order to win a championship. It's a story of hope and encouragement, and that's a message that Casalegno can get behind. In a 2023 interview with WWD, he revealed that he wants his projects to make a difference. "I now have the ability to choose what I'm passionate about, and what I'm passionate about is putting out a good message," he said. 

Before Casalegno was even old enough to really understand what the business was all about, he had a strong support system — and clearly, that's stuck with him. While he was still a minor, his mother traveled to every audition and set with her son and even served as his manager for a few years. Looking back at those early years of her son's career, she told the red ledger, "Most people don't realize how much work the acting business requires. He juggles countless scripts and appointments as well as working on actual projects, all while maintaining school and social activities. So when we get to see him in a film, knowing the amount of work he put in, it's definitely a proud moment."

He was in the CW series Walker

Before there was Belly, there was Stella. In 2021, Gavin Casalegno landed his first recurring role on a series, playing Trevor Strand, a kid with a dangerous family and an eye for the title character's daughter on the CW series "Walker." Little did he know he was one step away from landing his career-making role as Jeremiah. At the time, he was just having fun and appreciating the path he'd chosen. He told Flaunt that it was on the last day of filming that he realized that he was exactly where he needed to be. "I was watching the sunset at base camp while waiting for a big scene, and something in me just knew I was made for this," he said. Hordes of fans would agree with him just over a year later when "The Summer I Turned Pretty" hit the small screen.

Though we still don't know if Season 3 of "The Summer I Turned Pretty" is still happening — keep those fingers crossed — Casalegno's fans can look forward to upcoming projects like "Queen of the Ring." In it, he's set to play the son of legendary professional wrestler Mildred Burke. Casalegno's staying busy, but rather than stress, he brings his carefree Jeremiah joy to every task he takes on. "It's just been really fun to see the fruit of your work come together and to have people enjoy it," he said. "At the end of the day, we're here to entertain people and to tell a story."