Spilling details about playing Landon Carter in the 2002 flick during a recent interview with Vulture, West, 43, admitted that the pair had an instant connection.
"I think we both had a little bit of a crush, but then we were just there for each other in the most honest and purest of ways," he said. "That sounds incredibly corny but is true and rare."
He and Moore weren't the only two who clicked on set, West added.
"We all had chemistry offscreen, in the sense of bonding and in friendship, including [Mandy], which is the funniest thing because all the other characters had been bullying her," he said. "Everyone liked each other. It was the opposite of the movie. Everyone got along and had a great time."
Adam Shankman/Warner Bros
After nearly two decades, West also reminisced about shooting some of the film's most memorable scenes - including the moment that Landon bestows Moore's Jamie with a temporary butterfly tattoo.
"We were just pulled over near the alleyway. Then [director Adam Shankman] put a camera inside of the car," he remembered. "It was fun to do. It's hard to not smile when you're looking at Mandy's cute, adorable face - to react to that. And it made it easy."
Though the moment will be remembered as a sensual, private moment between the two main characters, behind the scenes things didn't run as smoothly.
"I couldn't get that tattoo right. I was screwing it up constantly," West said. "There should be outtakes. I don't think there are - where I peel it off and it's like a third of a butterfly, or half a butterfly, or it didn't work at all. Then she starts laughing and then it's all worthless. So I think the combination of us joking around made the ultimate reveal more of a success."
Mandy Moore and Shane West
While there's been a wave of sequels and reboots for many beloved films, West said he doesn't think that this story is one that holds more to be told. However, he did give some insight into where he thinks Landon would be today.
"I think he continued doing what he was going to do. She was his inspiration. I think he lived his life to the fullest. It's hard to say if he would remarry, because you could really go two different ways with that," he said. "You can say that this is the love of his life, and having her near him in his heart keeps him going with his life and his career. But you could also say the same thing would set him up for happiness with someone else, just with all respect to the past."
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His personal hope for the character that launched his career? "Let's be honest: They were so young, for God's sake. I would hope that he would have another wonderful relationship later in life."
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Over the years, West and Moore have often spoken about how important the experience of making the film still is to them. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly for the movie's 15th anniversary in 2017, Moore expressed how incredible her time on the movie and working with West had been.
"It was such an overwhelmingly positive, memorable experience," she said. "Shane was so wonderful… I felt incredibly lucky right off the bat that I had someone who was as willing to work with me and who was patient and understanding. He was just the perfect partner for that."
West shared similar sentiments. "It genuinely was a phenomenal experience," he said. "From start to finish, it really was a wonderful experience and that was because of Adam Shankman, the director…It was a lot of fun, everyone bonded on set and off, and it happened to turn out to be a success. You couldn't ask for anything more."