Listen: Noah Centineo Opens Up About Fame, a Year of Sobriety and Playing a Superhero

Marc Malkin

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Noah Centineo has 18.3 million followers on Instagram. That’s about 17 million more than he had when “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” was released just 18 months ago.

Even so, the 23-year-old Florida native insists fame hasn’t gotten in the way of his daily life. “It’s not like I have them following me around in daily life,” Centineo says of his fans on this week’s episode of the Variety and iHeart podcast “The Big Ticket.” “I can go out in public. I can go to Starbucks. I go to coffee places. I don’t think it quite has translated to the point of like if Michael B. Jordan goes out in public; I think he would cause a riot. It’s not quite there yet with me, which I’m thankful for.”

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Centineo first gained a following playing Jesus Adams Foster on the Jennifer Lopez-executive produced Freeform series “The Fosters.” In 2017, his heartthrob status really took off after appearing as Camila Cabello’s love interest in the music video for her hit single “Havana.”

And then Netflix came calling. His portrayal of Peter Kavinsky opposite Lana Condor in “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” propelled him to leading-man status.

Even so, Centineo insists he couldn’t have predicted the success of the young adult rom-com. “I had just signed with CAA because they had gotten a link to the film, and they were very excited,” he recalls. “And they told me that Netflix was going to put a big marketing budget behind it as a part of the Summer of Love campaign … my mentality has always been, I’m not going to count my chickens before they hatch. And even when they hatch, some of them will die. So I try to be prepared for everything and expect moderation.”

A month later, he co-starred in the streamer’s “Sierra Burgess Is a Loser” followed by “The Perfect Date.”

“Noah’s joy and charm may be what initially draws audiences in, but what you don’t see on screen is that his charismatic side is coupled with a strong work ethic, gratitude and deep generosity for others,” Netflix’s film boss Scott Stuber tells Variety. “It’s this rare combination that has made Noah just as popular within the halls of Netflix as he is with our audience around the world. The success of films like ‘To All the Boys,’ ‘Sierra Burgess Is a Loser’ and ‘The Perfect Date’ prove just how universally appealing Noah’s authenticity is.”

Centineo reprises his role as Peter in “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You,” which premiered on Feb. 13. A third installment of the franchise, inspired by Jenny Han’s book series, will hit Netflix later this year.

How about a fourth film? “If Jenny Han writes a fourth book, sign me up!” Centineo says.

While he still may be able to grab a venti latte at Starbucks unnoticed, Centineo also realizes he now has a platform. He recently launched Favored Nations, a nonprofit that will utilize his social media imprint to raise money for charity. Its motto: “We found a new way to help the world for those who give a s—.”

The idea was sparked after Centineo teamed up with Omaze on a contest, which ultimately raised $280,000 for charity, offering a fan a chance to go on a hike and share a meal with him. “Sixty-something percent of that came through my Instagram,” the actor says. “It’s not just with me. We want to partner with many different celebrities and artists to help create a new wave, man. We just want people to give a s—. It’s really simple.”

Centineo recently made headlines when he told Harper’s Bazaar that he was sober, but he wants to clear up any misconceptions — he’s not totally sober these days. While he did give up alcohol and drugs for a year just before he turned 21, he went back to drinking. As for drugs, “I left a lot in the past,” he explains. “There’s a lot that I don’t do anymore. … But when I have to work, I cut out everything.”

Work these days also includes “The Diary,” an upcoming WWII drama directed by Jackie Chan. There’s also his starring role as He-Man in “Masters of the Universe.” Shooting has been postponed and Sony recently removed the Mattel film from its release schedule. When I ask if the movie is still on, Centineo says, “We’ll see. We’ll see about that.”

He certainly wants to play a superhero. “I’d put on a leotard,” Centineo says. “Come on, I’ll do it. Of course, I would do it.”

And he’s already perfected his Batman voice. You can hear that and my full interview with Centineo below. You can also find “The Big Ticket” at iHeartRadio or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

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