Emma Pasarow And Belmont Cameli On Along For The Ride's Romance - Exclusive Interview

For decades, Hollywood has brought fans a plethora of teen movies that have fully ingrained themselves into pop culture and even shaped the zeitgeist of multiple generations. While plenty of these teen movies often hinge on toxic tropes, Netflix is flipping the script with "Along For the Ride." The film, adapted from Sarah Dessen's novel by the same name, allows Eli (Belmont Cameli) and Auden (Emma Pasarow) to work on themselves before diving deep into a relationship. This healthier coming-of-age movie tackles topics like supporting women, working through grief, and dealing with stressful family situations.


Both Cameli and Pasarow are starting off strong in their careers, with a number of credits to their name and even more on the way. Pasarow appeared in the shows "Touch" and "Super Pumped" along with the film "Am I OK?" Meanwhile, Cameli is well-known for his role as Jamie Spano in the "Saved By the Bell" reboot. He also appeared in an episode of "Empire," and the movies "Most Guys Are Losers " and "The Husband."

During an exclusive interview with The List, Belmont Cameli and Emma Pasarow dished on the cast, the film's positive messages, and what it was like working with BMX staples.

A powerhouse cast and BMX blunders

Emma, you worked a lot with powerhouse actresses like Kate Bosworth and Andie MacDowell? What was that like working with them? Did you learn anything from them about acting or life in general?

Emma Pasarow: Oh, yeah. It was truly a masterclass on acting, [and] also being an incredible human. The way they work, they're so friendly. They're so giving. They're so generous. They really were mentors to me. What I learned the most is how to be collaborative and ask for what you need and how to ask questions so that you're a part of the creative process as well, not just going in to do your job. It was really collaborative. It was a true dream come true to work with them.


Belmont, you did a lot of BMX work during the movie. What was that experience like, and how much of that was you versus a stunt double? Were there any notable wipeouts or funny outtakes from that experience?

Belmont Cameli: I wiped out plenty of times in the training that I did. Anytime you see Eli on a bike, and you're like, "Whoa," that's my stunt double, Rob Armour, who's a professional rider in North Carolina. The things he could do on a bike were unbelievable. I got to hang out with him and got to BMX [with] Ryan Nyquist. We went to his house, and we went to a number of different parks in the area that they would frequent. Hanging out with that community was super fulfilling for me. I grew up wanting to be a professional BMX rider, and that never materialized. I got to do it for three months in North Carolina, which was awesome.


Women supporting women

Are you both happy with "Along for the Ride" being a standalone movie, or would you like to see a sequel? Belmont, is there anyone from the "Saved by the Bell" cast you would like to see snag a potential role in a sequel, maybe as one of your parents?


Cameli: Oh, absolutely. The cast of "Saved by the Bell," I'm so close with all of them. I'd love to work with them in a separate capacity on another project. As a standalone film, "Along for the Ride" does a really good job of giving readers and viewers what they want out of it. If we were to do a sequel, that would be fantastic, but for now, we're happy with what we've made so far.

Emma, I love the idea of sisterhood and women having each other's back in this movie. None of the drama lasts for too long. Why do you think this is such an essential dynamic for a largely teen audience, and is that something that drew you to the role?

Pasarow: Absolutely. Auden's relationship [with] all of the women she meets in Colby, as well as her relationship [with] her mother, are really formative in her going from adolescence to adulthood, the summer between high school and college. She learns that we're all more than one thing, especially as women. She comes into Colby feeling like things are very binary. You're either a Victoria or you're a Heidi, but then when she comes, she meets these women who are incredibly smart, social, emotionally intuitive, are not afraid to make mistakes, and it's upon meeting them that she's able to grow as well.


Tackling trauma before starting a relationship

I love that both of your characters accept that they need to wave through their own trauma before even thinking about a relationship. Why do you think it was so important to have this positive mental health message in a film for teens when so often, they focus on toxic tropes a lot of times and those kinds of things that maybe aren't relationship goals?


Cameli: In the relationships that Eli has with Auden and all of the relationships that Auden has with the people of Colby, you're able to grow through these relationships. I thought that was really important. Even in Auden and Eli's relationship, there's resistance to grow because you're growing closer to somebody, and you may be actualizing a part of yourself that is good for you, [one] that you're not prepared to actualize. Having that community in Colby, everybody, especially over the course of the summer, [allowed them] to deal with those demons that they had, especially the two of us. Under the cloak of night that the two of them are able to work through their prior traumas in a healthy and exploratory way, and that was something that I really appreciated via [the] screenplay and novel.


Pasarow: What's so special is that these are two people who clumsily figure out how to think through their past, create new relationships, and they're not always right. It doesn't always come out right verbally, but through each other and making mistakes and checking each other when communications fail, they're able to figure out how to healthily work through life.

"Along For the Ride" releases on May 6 on Netflix.

This interview has been edited for clarity.