Twenty one year old actor David Iacono is New York City’s latest on-screen sweetheart. Although he’s had a wide range of guest roles on varying series – NCIS and The Good Doctor to name a few – as well as portraying Eli Brisco in The Flight Attendant, Iacono is really just getting started in his career. Last year, he made his debut as Cam, Belly’s love interest (played by Lola Tung) in The Summer I Turned Pretty, in which its already existing fanbase quickly expanded into a beloved streaming sensation.
In the series based on the Jenny Han book of the same name, Cam is the straight-laced, book smart, respectful aspiring marine biologist from Cousins that Belly (re)meets while spending her summer at the Fisher’s beach house. In the end, Belly doesn’t end up choosing a relationship with Cam, but audiences can’t help but to continue rooting for the hopeless romantic. Iacono, much like his character, is sweet, endearing and soft spoken, which translates so beautifully on screen. In the books, Cam’s story ends after the first book, but his story continues in season 2 of the Prime Video series. His storyline this season is one of transformation and change, while continuing to get caught up in the high jinks with the original crew.
David Iacono sits down with 1883 Magazine to chat about all things The Summer I Turned Pretty, the multi-generational topics the show covers, and what he hopes fans take away from this season.
First off, congratulations on the release of The Summer I Turned Pretty season 2! What initially made you want to audition for the role of Cam?
It was interesting– I was on a cross country road trip with one of my best friends. We were coming from LA to New York. I did the audition tape right before I left, and then I got the call back while we were on the trip. I had already known that Lola was cast in the show because we went to high school together and it was a big deal that it was announced that she was the lead. I loved the script. Initially when I read it, I felt like the character was kind of easy for me to slip into. It was kind of close to self and I kept updating Lola along my process with everything and then I did the chemistry read with her and I logged onto the Zoom and I saw her there. It was a very surreal moment. I was just very happy to be a part of it when we started.
Had you and Lola stayed in touch over the years?
Not as much as we did in high school. We were very much those friends that you have in school that you hang out with while you’re at school, and then sometimes you see them outside of school, but it’s like not that frequent of a thing. She went to college at CMU for the year and I was just taking a gap year trying to work and stuff. So we weren’t communicating that heavily, but as soon as I got the tape, I let her know and then we just picked right back up where we left off.
What was the audition process like for the show?
I think I actually auditioned for Conrad to begin with, which is interesting because I think that was months before – that was probably like January of 2021. I don’t remember the exact timeline but I auditioned for that, and I didn’t get it. And then I remember seeing that Lola was announced and then I got the tape for Cam. I think after the callback or after the first tape was the chemistry read with Lola and I think it was just those two steps that I had to take before I figured out that I booked it. So it was a pretty short process.
Had you read the books prior to auditioning?
Not before, but my sister actually read it when she was in ninth grade or eighth grade or something, and she was a pretty big fan. Once I booked the show, I read the first book. It was interesting because I was reading it through the lens of the fact that I was about to portray this character that people love so much. So it was a pretty fascinating perspective to read the story from.
Given the success of the book series, was it intimidating taking on a role that already had such success?
Yeah, I think it was a little bit. You’re kind of dead on. I mean, I had never been a part of something that was– I’ve been a part of things that were loose adaptations. I did the show called The Flight Attendant and that was based on a book, and then the show Grand Army was based on a series of plays. But The Summer I Turned Pretty, the fanbase of the books, like you’re saying, was so vast and so passionate about every character. It was interesting. It was kind of a different animal to approach that role just because you know people have expectations. I feel like I kind of got lucky with Cam. I don’t know how Lola, Chris, Gavin and Sean did it because there’s such a specific image that people have when reading those characters specifically. With Cam Cameron, I feel like I had a little more wiggle room, but yeah, it was definitely a different animal.
How did you approach that? Did you bring any aspects of yourself to your character?
Yeah, I mean we were mad lucky to have Jenny very involved with the creation of the show, which is not something that always happens. I mean, it was the most collaborative experience I’ve had with the actual creator of the source material. So she was very much there to steer us somewhat in the right direction and in terms of bringing myself to the character, I think I try and do that with every role that I portray. With Cam specifically, it was a little easier for whatever reason. I just think because we are very similar in nature, he can be awkward, everyone can be awkward, he can be goofy, everyone can be goofy and he’s very passionate about certain things that were easy to connect for me personally.
I feel like Cam is such a good role model for young people in relationships and exploring dating. Do you find that that is true and what sort of experiences do you have that helped you portray that on screen?
Yeah. I think he’s a very respectful person in his relationship, which is a very beautiful thing that you don’t always see in shows that exist in the young adult space just because it doesn’t always make for the best story. But I’d probably say that I learned more from him than I brought to his portrayal. He is very confident in his faults and any insecurity he has, he kind of uses it to his advantage with Belly and I think that’s what draws her to him initially is that he is very confident in the places where most people wouldn’t be. So I would say I kind of learned that from playing him, which is something that’s never happened to me before.
Well I do have to ask, are you a Belly and Cam-Cameron shipper? Are you rooting for them?
I’d say initially I was, while we were shooting the first season. But at this point I feel like my man deserves something a little more his speed. I think he’s ahead of his time. He’s like an old soul. I think he’s slightly more mature than Belly. That might be a hot take but yeah, I think I’m very excited to see if he finds his person or not.
I would agree. He deserves it. He’s been beat up a little bit.
You know what I’m saying? Yeah, I think he’s been put to the ringer a little bit.
I love that this show touches on so many relatable topics – mental health, loss, young love and heartbreak, etc. I feel like a lot of shows meant for a YA audience don’t really have the depth that The Summer I Turned Pretty does. What is it like to be a part of a show like this?
I mean, it’s kind of like a dream to be honest. There are young adult shows in the same genre that whether it’s intentional or not can kind of exploit or glorify some of the themes that The Summer I Turned Pretty covers in a really honest and down to earth way when it comes to grief or mental health. And I know that a reason that I enjoy acting so much and being able to be a tool used to tell stories is the fact that, I don’t know, I feel like so many shows that I grew up watching and so many movies I grew up watching very much guided me in the right direction when it comes to stuff like mental health or grief or like dealing with loss or just change in general. So to be a part of a story that could possibly do the same thing for so many people on such a large scale, I think it’s a big reason why I’m even an actor, which sounds kind of crazy, but yeah.
The Summer I Turned Pretty obviously gained a lot of traction really fast, even for people that weren’t fans of the books. But what have you seen online that has been like the biggest compliment to you as an actor and as a part of this show?
That’s a good one. I mean, it’s honestly overwhelming the amount of positive reinforcement that we get from the fans. I will say, I think that the genre inherently doesn’t lend itself to everyone, just like most genres. Like, I don’t know, comedy isn’t for everyone or dark comedy isn’t for everyone, heavy intense dramas are not for everyone, young adult themed things are not for everyone. But I will say I think our show does a really good job of catering to a very, very wide range of audiences just by demographic. And I think what’s very, I don’t know, like cathartic is when someone comes up to me that’s, you know, I don’t know, 30, 40, and they’re like, dude, we really, really enjoyed your performance. We felt like it was nostalgic, but it also felt like there was a lot for us. I think that’s just a testament to the writing and the performances in this show.
Without revealing any spoilers, what can you tell us about Cam’s storyline in season 2?
Yeah, I think season two in general is very much about change, and a big motif throughout the season is dealing with change and trying to hang on to your own identity while dealing with change. I think in the first season there are a bunch of changes going on for sure. I think the vibe of the first season is nostalgia when you’re in your teenage years– like love, romance, even though it gets very complicated, and then towards the end of the first season, it starts to get revealed that Susanna is going through everything she’s going through. But the second season I think takes it to a whole other level of dealing with the real stuff that you have to start dealing with once you age out of being a teen or you come to be in your later teenage years. And I think Cam’s going through that in his own sense. He’s dealing with a lot of change, he’s trying to still understand who he is, but to hold onto it while going through all these transformative years. And he just ends up getting wrapped up in all the antics when the group returns to Cousins. So of course he’s gonna end up getting wrapped up in the high jinx as you might say.
Again, without revealing spoilers, can you describe season 2 in just a few words?
I really do think a motif has changed. It’s learning how to transform into the person that you want to be versus who you think you should be while still holding on to what you value most, which to Belly is family and where you came from.
What does a day of filming look like for you?
I think sometimes just with the nature of the job, I think there’s a lack of consistency because on one day, call time could be 10:00 AM you’re there till 10:00 PM and then sometimes you can have a night shoot like the next day so call time could be like 7:00 PM and you’re there till like 6:00 AM, 7:00 AM, so that’s something that you definitely have to get used to. But yeah, you show up to set, you’re ready to work, the PAs are wonderful, they have breakfast ready for you, you go to hair and makeup and then sometimes it’s a lot of waiting sometimes to like get into the nitty gritty of everything. But once you’re on set in front of the camera, the environment is a very supportive, positive place.
What do you hope fans take away from season 2?
I think that it’s actually a really beautiful thing – I love the fact that people and fans of the show will be able to grow up while watching and grow up with the characters growing up in this show. I think that’s a really gorgeous thing. So I think it’s a very subjective thing– you get what you need from it. I think a very big theme in the second season is, you know, dealing with the more serious matters of life when like you’re still a teen and you’re trying to still be a kid, but this idea of adulthood is rushing towards you so quickly through whatever lens, through like trying to figure out what your future will be or just figuring out where you fall in your family roles and that type of thing.
I’m just really excited to see what people get from it for their own lives because while I was reading the script before we even started shooting, you know, you go through stuff and I was getting a lot of like catharsis and support from what I was reading and who knows what the next person will get. I just think it’s a very subjective thing and I’m very excited to see how it helps people and how people enjoy it.
Season 2 of The Summer I Turned Pretty streams every Friday on Prime Video.
Interview Rachel Martin
Photography + Styling Benjamin Holtrop
Grooming Jennifer Brent
David wears Tanner Fletcher and jewelry by Vivienne Westwood.