‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ Director Discusses The Film Love Scenes

“Red, White & Royal Blue” Takes the Stage

Audiences seeking a reprieve from the scorching summer heat can find solace in the delightful romance of “Red, White & Royal Blue,” set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video this Friday.

The cinematic adaptation of Casey McQuiston’s 2019 novel introduces us to a transcontinental love story between Alex Claremont-Diaz, portrayed by Taylor Zakhar Perez, and Henry, played by Nicholas Galitzine, a British prince. The film doesn’t shy away from steamy moments, as the dashing leads navigate their suppressed feelings for each other in opulent settings such as hotel suites and even the tack room at a polo match.

Embracing the Passion: A Queer Love Story

Writer-director Matthew López, who collaborated on the screenplay with Ted Malawer, ponders whether the film’s passionate sequences warranted its R-rating. However, López, in an interview with HuffPost, expressed his commitment to portraying Alex and Henry’s relationship authentically, which includes their sexual connection.

López emphasized, “Understanding Alex and Henry as a couple, including their sexual desires, is crucial. Overlooking this aspect would mean missing a significant part of what makes the story special and unapologetically queer.”

Furthermore, López articulated his intent, stating, “Having witnessed ambiguous portrayals of queer intimacy in movies throughout my life, I wanted to ensure that viewers unequivocally grasp the narrative.”

An Unlikely Beginning: From Rivals to Allies

The film’s narrative opens with Alex and Henry entrenched in rivalry. After an altercation at a royal wedding gains international attention, the two are compelled by their handlers to establish a truce.

As time unfolds, Alex and Henry’s initial rivalry transforms into an improbable friendship that eventually blossoms into a profound love affair. Nevertheless, the couple remains apprehensive about the potential political fallout that could affect their families if their relationship becomes public knowledge.

López’s Debut Directorial Venture

“Red, White & Royal Blue” marks López’s debut as a feature film director. This Florida native has endeared himself to Broadway audiences through his Tony-winning 2019 play, “The Inheritance,” which chronicled the lives of a group of gay men navigating love, life, and legacy in post-HIV/AIDS epidemic New York.

López expressed his attraction to stories of individuals whose voices have been overlooked, stating, “I gravitate toward characters whose narratives have been left untold.”

Meeting High Expectations

Given the widespread acclaim received by McQuiston’s novel, “Red, White & Royal Blue” enters the cinematic stage with high expectations. The book recently soared to the top of bestseller lists once more, buoyed by the early buzz surrounding the film.

López, an avid fan of the novel, eagerly embraced the opportunity to adapt it for the screen. However, he approached the task with a sense of autonomy, prioritizing his vision for the film over any external pressures.

He explained, “To honor the book’s fans, I had to momentarily set aside their presence. Watching these two talented, vibrant actors come together to portray beloved characters is truly remarkable.”

A Diverse and Inclusive Vision

“Red, White & Royal Blue” is the initial entry in a series of film and television projects López is developing in collaboration with Amazon Studios. His involvement also extends to a remake of the 1992 romantic drama “The Bodyguard,” originally starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston.

López’s theatrical journey has reached new heights. Teaming up with Amber Ruffin, he transformed the classic 1959 film “Some Like It Hot” into a Broadway musical. The adaptation introduced an array of diverse characters and enhanced a subtle queer subplot. The result was a resounding success, with the musical clinching four Tony Awards.

Unintentional Leadership in Inclusive Storytelling

López admitted to not having a master plan for his career and creative endeavors. He gravitates toward stories that have been overlooked, aiming to give voice to narratives that remain untold. His contributions to inclusive storytelling for both stage and screen have unexpectedly positioned him as a trailblazer.

“I never set out to be a leader in diverse, queer-inclusive storytelling, but I’ve embraced the role,” López reflected. “I’m driven by the desire to tell stories that have been absent from our cultural landscape.”

In a world hungry for diverse representation, López’s commitment to giving voice to marginalized narratives resonates deeply. His journey—from adapting cherished novels to reimagining classic films—serves as a testament to the transformative power of storytelling.

So, as “Red, White & Royal Blue” prepares to grace our screens, audiences can anticipate not only a passionate love story but also a reminder of the importance of sharing diverse and authentic narratives.

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Stevie Flavio
Film Writer

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