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Red,White & Royal Blue Director On Representation & The R Rating

'Red, White & Royal Blue' Director On Representation & That R Rating

Nicholas Galitzine and Zakhar Perez covered in cake in 'Red, White and Royal Blue.'
Courtesy of Prime Video

Did the film get an R rating because the main characters are fam?

Before agreeing to helm the film adaptation of Red, White & Royal Blue, director Mathew López read the 400 page book in just two days because he couldn’t put it down.

“By page 50, I knew I wanted to make the movie,” he said in an interview with The Pink News.

The film based on Casey McQuiston’s queer, enemies-to-lovers YA novel, stars Nicholas Galitzine as the British prince Henry and Zakhar Perez as Alex Claremont Diaz, the son of the first female president of the U.S.

Henry and Alex hate each other, but after creating a scene at a wedding, the two are forced to pretend to be friends in order to avoid an international incident. And of course this eventually leads to love.

“There are levels of passion for things, and this hit a 10 for me,” López said of the chemistry between the two main characters in the original 2019 book.

During his marathon reading session, the director said he immediately felt a kinship with the character Alex because he saw his own lived experience reflected on the pages. Alex’s mother is white and from Texas, but his father Oscar is of Mexican descent.

“I’m a queer Puerto Rican, and I think if I had had access to Alex Claremont-Diaz as a younger man, I might have had an easier path in life,” he explained.


The ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike means that neither actor is discussing or promoting the film, but López called Galitzine more “robust, less fragile” than Henry and said that Perez is “a lot less rambunctious” than the character he portrays on screen. Regardless of the actor’s personalities he said they were able to embody their characters.

“I couldn’t have asked for better or more different actors than the ones that I got,” López gushed. “I felt Henry was this very fragile thing, and I placed him inside Nick’s hands, and Nick cared for him throughout the process. Taylor really turned himself into a human cannonball in order to become Alex.”

McQuiston’s book quickly gained a queer cult following and became a BookTok hit because of the loveable characters and steamy romance. Once Alex and Henry move from enemies to lovers, they take every opportunity to sneak off to have sex in hidden places like a clubhouse at Wimbledon or a track room at Henry’s polo game.

“I don’t think you can tell the story of Alex and Henry without talking about their very enjoyable sex life,” López said of his adaptation, which got an R rating because of the nudity and sex scenes.

The director recently told People that he was caught off guard by the rating and wondered if it was because his movie features a gay romance, “I do question whether, if it had been a man and a woman, we’d still have gotten an R.”

Whether or not there was homophobia at play in the rating decision, all we know is that an R rating is going to ensure we watch the sexy movie right away!

Red, White and Royal Blue premieres on Prime Video on Friday Aug. 11.

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.