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The Summer I Turned Pretty's Sean Kaufman and Rain Spencer Break Down Steven and Taylor's Dance Scene

'It's about his past'

Kat Moon

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2 Episode 5, "Love Fool." Read at your own risk!]

Editor's note: This interview was conducted prior to the actors strike. 

The Summer I Turned Pretty may center the love the triangle between Belly (Lola Tung), Conrad (Christopher Briney), and Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno), but romantic tension has been brewing between two other characters for quite a while. Yes, we're obviously talking about Steven (Sean Kaufman) and Taylor (Rain Spencer). Belly's best friend has long had feelings for Steven, though Taylor is currently in a relationship with musician Milo (Will Spencer). But Milo seems like second thought once Taylor and Steven have arrived in Cousins Beach. In Friday's episode of The Summer I Turned Pretty, the pair's connection is clearer than ever. And one scene in particular captures their chemistry: In the empty country club's ballroom, Steven asks Taylor to dance. The two gently hold each other as they sway to Frank Ocean's "Moon River."

The question of why Steven chose this moment for the romantic gesture crossed Kaufman's mind repeatedly. "I was like, 'Why? Why now?' And it's about his past," the actor told TV Guide. "It's in the exact spot where he was in a year ago, in this kind of fairy tale setting. And the exact spot where that fairy tale setting came to a crash, where everybody became aware all of a sudden of Susannah's (Rachel Blanchard) cancer." The location carries special weight for Steven, making his return more meaningful. "I think it was really important for him to be able to go back to this place that he once had an idea of, but now he can be with somebody who he knows is there with him for a long while," Kaufman said. "Because Taylor has been with Steven for a very long while throughout his entire life."

Sean Kaufman and Rain Spencer, The Summer I Turned Pretty

Sean Kaufman and Rain Spencer, The Summer I Turned Pretty

Prime Video

Taylor initially scoffs at Steven's invitation to dance, but she eventually accepts. "Taylor is really scared to be hurt. She has a bunch of defense mechanisms that she's built up over the years," Rain Spencer told TV Guide. "He hurt her feelings a lot in Season 1. She's being super cautious and weary with her heart." 

Spencer also offered insight into Taylor's relationship with Milo. "From my perspective, she will date people that she's not fully in love with because if it ends, she won't care as much," she said. But with her character's forever crush, it's different: "Taylor has been in love with Steven her whole life, so the stakes are really, really high for her."

And of course, we can't forget about Taylor and Steven's kiss in Season 1. Though Steven was seeing Shayla (Minnie Mills) at the time, he made out with Taylor at a party. "Last summer we got into a little shebang shebang. I still don't think even then, he saw her in that way," Kaufman said. "Steven was going through some bleeped up bleep, and he just dragged Taylor along for the ride." 

So when did Steven begin to see Taylor differently? "I really think it's in between Season 1 and 2, and especially at the start of Season 2," Kaufman explained. "Especially those phone calls that he makes to her where he's like, 'It would suck to drive alone, oh, someone should come with me.' He wants to spend time with her, and he wants her by his side." This feeling only became stronger when Steven and Taylor arrived at the beach house. "I think it takes a little bit for him to realize, I want her by my side — oh, I want her by my side in that way," Kaufman said. "That's actually one of the progressions he goes through in Season 2, especially once we get to Cousins."

In the ballroom, their eyes are only fixed on each other. "This scene is so beautiful to me is because you really find it in her silence when they're dancing that she's starting to feel OK being vulnerable around him," Spencer said. "Because I think that he really sees her for who she is."

New episodes of The Summer I Turned Pretty Season 2 stream Fridays on Prime Video.