Films featuring a young ensemble cast are few and far between. In Netflix’s The Last Summer, KJ Apa, Maia Mitchell, Jacob Latimore, Halston Sage, Sosie Bacon, Wolfgang Novogratz, and Tyler Posey star as young adults experiencing an unforgettable summer before moving on to the next chapter of their life — college. These actors are still young but they’re known for giving compelling performances in every project they do. “Barbara McCarthy was our casting director and couldn’t have done a better job,” said director William Bindley.
The Last Summer is a coming-of-age film that gives off all sorts of vibes and is reminiscent of other COA classics such as American Pie, Superbad, and somehow, even Girls. That’s not to say the film lacks originality — while the twists are not groundbreaking, the characters do encounter conflicts that are real and relatable. It’s a fun and lighthearted film about emerging from adolescence and setting out to find the meaning of adulthood, and it does this with quite the attractive cast.
Each of the characters spend their last summer as high school students with their own agendas — some struggle to get into college, others want to desperately get laid, and others prepare to face the challenges of long-distance dating. Here are the characters (and their dilemmas) ranked from best to worst:
- Sosie Bacon (plays Audrey, a struggling positive thinker)
We love Audrey’s storyline and unlikely bond with Lilah, a 9-year-old she ends up babysitting, played by Audrey Grace Marshall — an adorable and empowering combo.
The daughter of Hollywood heavyweight couple Keira Sedgewick and Kevin Bacon, Sosie inherited her parent’s passion for acting. She first started in showbiz at the age of 11, appearing on her father’s directorial debut Lover Boy. Prioritizing her studies first, Sosie pursued her career only after turning 18 at the request of her parents. She’s starred on hit TV shows like The Closer and 13 Reasons Why as Skye Miller. “I’d been following Sosie Bacon’s career, having seen her most recently in 13 Reasons Why, and we met for coffee to talk about the role of Audrey. It’s the only role in the movie who doesn’t have a romance and much of her screen time is played opposite a 9-year-old girl. It’s one of my favorite stories in the movie and she couldn’t have given a more moving performance,” Bindley shared.
2. Halston Sage (plays the sweet and smart Erin)
Erin looks like a total Regina George character, and it’s interesting how, in The Last Summer, she is the complete opposite. Intelligent, sweet and oftentimes vulnerable, Halston’s character is a breath of fresh air.
“Halston Sage is a friend. I think she may have been originally interested in playing Phoebe, but I always saw her in the Erin role,” director Bindley said. Erin, a smart and beautiful senior student, deals with boy problems during her last summer before going to college. Halston’s beauty and talent make her a perfect fit for the role. “I think what finally sold it for her was that Erin has two storylines and two boyfriends,” he added. At 25, the American actress has appeared on TV shows and big Hollywood movies such as Before I Fall, Paper Towns, Goosebumps, Neighbors, and The Bling Ring. Aside from acting, Halston loves writing and riding horses. She’s an award-winning equestrian.
3. KJ Apa (plays the romantic Griffin)
Riverdale‘s KJ Appa headlines the teen ensemble and playing a character that feels a tad too similar to Archie. A kid who wants to play music but instead is pressured into entering business school, Griffin lacked the personality and depth required of a lead character — thankfully the movie gave him something to deal with, making the plot more interesting.
This 21-year-old New Zealander proves he has range and depth, starring in a variety of projects. He’s acted in soaps (Shortland Street), comedy-dramas (A Dog’s Purpose), indies (Altar Rock), and sci-fi features (The Cul de Sac). KJ’s best known as Archie Andrews on the teen-drama series Riverdale on Netflix. “I started hearing a lot about KJ Apa from casting friends before Riverdale had premiered. I met with him and knew instantly that he was our Griffin,” shared Bindley. DYK? The actor is also sort of a hair chameleon. KJ, a natural brunette, has fun changing the color of his hair “on demand,” from black to red to pink—a wig he wore behind the scenes while shooting Riverdale.
4. Maia Mitchell (plays Phoebe, a passion-driven and budding filmmaker)
Mom’s drama was more interesting than Phoebe’s, and this is the only reason she didn’t rank higher despite being 100% adorable. Honestly, we want a movie that’s just about the mother-daughter relationship — we think there’s something there. Gilmore Girls 2, perhaps?
Acting since she was 12, Maia, 25, has been wowing audiences in film and on TV shows. The New South Wales native won acting awards for her breakout role as Callie in The Fosters. Director Bindley’s daughter suggested he cast Maia as the sweet but strong-minded movie buff Phoebe in The Last Summer. He was glad that he did. “I took a photo on my phone of KJ and Maia laughing on a couch between takes on the first day of shooting and the chemistry is so sweet and powerful that I knew right then that we had something special with them,” he said. The young co-stars share a passion for music. Maia’s a singer whose songs have been featured on original soundtracks of her shows. KJ’s a member of the band The Good Time Boys. Both actors play the guitar.
5. Tyler Posey (plays Ricky Santos, the charming baseball rookie)
How can one not love Tyler Posey? We still remember him as the cute little kid in Maid in Manhattan. He’s a goody-goody in many of his roles, but this changes in The Last Summer. Frankly we still love him, but he deserved a better character.
A multiple Teen Choice Awards winner, Tyler shot to stardom playing the lead character, Scott McCall, on Teen Wolf. Since then he’s starred in other popular shows like Jane the Virgin and MTV’s Scream: The TV Series. On the big screen, his acting credits include Scary Movie 5, Maid in Manhattan, and Collateral Damage. “Tyler Posey came in for a week at the end of the schedule to play the Chicago Cubs player Ricky, and he was so jazzed to put on the uniform and shoot at Wrigley Field,” director Bindley said. The young heartthrob loves skateboarding and riding his motorcycle.
Wolfgang Novogratz (plays the happy-go-lucky Foster) and Jacob Latimore (plays the hardworking Golden Boy Alec)
Foster is a terrible person and nothing should excuse him from that. Alec is great, but Jacob Latimore could have been given better things to work with.
Wolfgang’s model looks helped make his character, Foster, a lovable lothario in the Netflix movie. The 21-year-old is an indie darling, appearing in films like Assassination Nation; Yes, God, Yes (with Stranger Things’s Natalia Dyer); and Obvious Child. On TV, he played Drew on Sierra Burgess is a Loser. According to director Bindley, Wolfgang was a great discovery and addition to his ensemble cast.
No stranger to acting alongside A-listers, Jacob is one of the top talents of his generation. Variety, Los Angeles Times, and Forbes hailed the 22-year-old as a promising star. He’s acted opposite big names such as Mary J. Blige (Black Nativity), Kevin Hart (Ride Along), and Keira Knightley (Collateral Beauty). He’s also part of the young cast of The Maze Runner. “Jacob Latimore blew me away with his performance in Detroit and I knew he’d bring a different layer of depth and humor to ‘Alec.’ The first time we got on the phone we spoke for almost an hour and I couldn’t wait for him to get to set,” shared Bindley about casting Jacob as the charming Alec. Like his co-stars KJ and Maia, Jacob’s a musician. His hotly anticipated second album, Connection 2, dropped this April.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jacob McCarthy and Mario Revolori as Chad and Reese.
We enjoyed their scenes more than all others — it was the perfect tandem, and the perfect crime. It was a funny side story that didn’t belong in the film, but we liked it.
The Last Summer is now streaming on Netflix.