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'Red, White And Royal' Blue Director On Promoting 'Safe' Love Scenes

'Red, White And Royal' Blue Director On Promoting 'Safe' Love Scenes

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

Director Mathew López on how he decided Henry would use condoms and not PrEP.

While it may seem like a small detail to some viewers of the hit queer rom-com Red, White and Royal Blue, director Mathew López spent a lot of time thinking about the safe sex practices of his main characters.

The enemies-to-lovers film, which premiered last week, has been a massive hit for Prime Video, even reaching No.1 on the streaming service and causing a huge influx of new subscribers.

The LGBTQ+ film is based on a wildly popular novel of the same name by Casey McQuiston’s and follows Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the US President, who is forced to pretend to be friends with Britain's Prince Henry after the two get into a very public spat that nearly leads to an international incident.

Of course the two don’t stay enemies long and soon Alex (Taylor Zakhar Perez) and Henry (Nicholas Galitzine) are sneaking off for steamy rendezvouses. These sexy scenes are integral to the plot of this gay romantic comedy and a large part of why fans are loving the film.

On the heels of the movie’s success, López has revealed in an interview with Variety that he put a lot of thought into these scenes — including what kind of protection the pair would use.

For López, an out gay man who grew up in the 80’s and 90s when there was a severe lack of queer representation in film, making the one full sex scene in the movie as authentic as possible was important.

“We need to make sure that it is unambiguous to anyone watching this scene what precisely is happening,” he told the outlet. “We’re going to be accurate to the body positioning, to the breath, to the moment of insertion.”

Taylor Zakhar Perez and Nicholas Galitzine in bed together in 'Red, White and Royal Blue'

Courtesy of Prime Video

The director worked closely with intimacy coordinator Robbie Taylor Hunt to map out exactly what would happen, down to the smallest detail. “We talked about, ‘Does the prince douche before they go in? Do we need to tell the audience that? Does the audience just assume that that’s going on?’”

After much discussion the two even decided that Prince Henry wouldn’t be on PrEP — a prescription medication taken to prevent HIV — because he would be concerned that it would make it too easy for someone to find out about his sexuality, a fact the royal was trying to keep secret.

“Robbie and I decided together that the prince is probably not on PrEP, because it would be too dangerous for him to ask for prescription,” López said. “So the prince absolutely uses condoms. And because we couldn’t really effectively answer the PrEP question narratively, we wanted to also just tell the story that the prince engages in safe sex practices and takes his sexual health seriously.”

This may seem like overkill, but even princes have to worry about STIs!

These small details weren’t overlooked by fans of Red, White and Royal Blue who noticed that during the sex scene there are condom wrappers and lube on the bedside table.

“Once we had passed a certain part in the story, I was like, OK, let’s empty out some of the lube,’” López said of setting the scene. “Robbie and I were looking at it, like, ‘How much would they use? Like, well, let’s take it down about this much. OK, that makes sense to me.’”

The director also had an ulterior motive for shooting a detailed gay sex scene, saying, “I’d be a liar if I told you there wasn’t strategy to the scene, that I didn’t want to cause a conversation about why they’ve never seen this scene in a studio film.”

Having a movie centered on queer characters — that doesn’t shy aways from showing gay sex — become a huge financial success is a giant milestone in LGBTQ+ representation on screen. Not only is the movie No.1 on Amazon, but it’s bringing in dollars in the form of new subscribers, and has already become the most watched romantic comedy on the site.

“The fact that the film is already the streamer's third most watched romantic comedy ever and that memberships to the platform have spiked related to its premiere also prove that the fringe anti-LGBTQ activists who are attacking inclusive entertainment are both wrong from a moral sense, and from a business sense,” GLAAD said in a statement.

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