Exclusive: Emma Pasarow and Belmont Cameli Take Us "Along For the Ride" in Netflix Adaptation

Netflix is adapting Sarah Dessen's New York Times bestseller "Along For the Ride." Starring Emma Pasarow and Belmont Cameli, the Sofia Alvarez-directed film centers around Pasarow's character, Auden, who meets the mysterious Eli (Cameli) the summer before going off to college. The two quickly form a bond through their shared insomnia, exploring the town of Colby under the cover of night.

"The book is a story about love; it's about friendship; it's about family; it's about discovering yourself at the beach; it's about trying new things and going on a quest," Pasarow tells POPSUGAR. "The movie is all of those things plus the most incredible soundtrack ever and score by Beach House."

Both Pasarow and Cameli instantly felt a connection to their respective characters when they first read their scripts. "Auden is extremely smart. She's independent, she's strong, she has a big heart, and most importantly, she's very imperfect and she's insecure as we all were at that age," Pasarow explains. "What I loved about Auden and specifically the way that they adapted her is that she is given permission to be all of those things at once. She's both strong and sensitive. She is trying her best but fails. I think it's just the fact that she embodies all those things at once that made me really connect to her."

Similarly, Cameli saw a lot of parallels between his own life experiences and Eli's. "I immediately kind of felt parts of myself in his shoes," he notes. "But it was Sofia [Alvarez]'s screenplay that really attached me to it. I, of course, have since read the book, but in my preparation for the role, I really relied on my collaboration with Sofia and my personal life experiences that I kind of pulled on through my work on Eli."

ALONG FOR THE RIDE (2022), Emma Pasarow as Auden. Cr. Emily V. Aragones / Netflix

According to Pasarow and Cameli, the Netflix adaptation doesn't stray very far from the original story. The characters and the relationships are pretty true to the book. "I think that readers of the novel are going to have a lot to look forward to in this movie. And there's going to be some Easter eggs in there for them," Cameli teases. "They'll see the characters that they read on screen, which is always kind of what you want when dealing with adaptations. So it's not a perfect word-for-word adaptation, but it is an overall wonderful appreciation of Sarah Dessen's work."

Through Auden and Eli's story, Pasarow hopes the film gives viewers "permission to try things and fail out loud." She explains, "At the beginning of the movie, Auden is a straight A, highly focused student, and she would rather keep to herself and not put herself out there than fail. So she holds back in her personal life, but by the end, with the quest, with finding love, making new friends, and working out the complications in her family, she finds space to open up and has the courage to try new things."

On the same note, Cameli wants viewers to see themselves and their friends on screen and just enjoy the film. "It's a good-feeling movie. But more than that, it's a story of second chances," he notes. "In Eli's case, he, over the course of the film, will rediscover a piece of himself that is missing. And I think viewers can put themselves in either of those sets of shoes. And it's a movie about leaning on the people in your life, using the relationships you have to grow and not be afraid to grow. There's something in there for everybody."

"Along For the Ride" also stars Kate Bosworth, Dermot Mulroney, and Andie MacDowell. Check out the exclusive trailer ahead before it hits Netflix on May 6.

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