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With a sequel in the works, ‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ stars reflect on its success – and R rating

With a sequel in the works, 'Red, White & Royal Blue' stars reflect on its success - and R rating

Nicholas Galitzine, left, and Taylor Zakhar Perez, cast members in the film “Red, White & Royal Blue,” pose for a portrait, Wednesday, May 8, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)



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By Krysta Fauria The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When “Red, White & Royal Blue” debuted last summer, it did so without fanfare or spectacle, landing squarely amid historic Hollywood strikes that precluded its stars from lending their press-friendly faces to promote the movie.

But the lack of publicity surrounding the Amazon Studios rom-com’s premiere didn’t deter it from becoming a hit with audiences. The streaming service said it was the top watched film on its platform for weeks, and that it brought in a surge of subscribers.

As a further testament to the movie’s success, the studio recently announced — amid a determined Emmy campaign — that a sequel was in the works, which is no small feat given the slowed production that has followed the resolution of the strikes.

For stars Nicholas Galitzine and Taylor Zakhar Perez, watching the film gain that kind of organic fanbase was particularly meaningful because of the role “Red, White & Royal Blue” plays in queer storytelling.

“After filming and kind of getting some space from it is when I really realized what this was going to do for the community. And people outside of the community,” Perez said. “It just provides empathy, you know?”

The film is reminiscent of the kind of fairytale flick that was seemingly ubiquitous two decades ago, familiar in every way except for the fact that its lovers are both men.

The movie, directed by Matthew López, the Tony-winning playwright of “The Inheritance” who co-wrote the script with Ted Malawer, is based on the bestselling novel by Casey McQuiston. It’s a hate-turns-to-love story about a British prince who begins a secret romantic affair with the son of the American president (played in the movie by a drawling Uma Thurman).

Galitzine is fresh off a press tour for another Amazon rom-com — “The Idea of You” — where he plays a 24-year-old pop star who begins a relationship with a single 40-year-old mom (Anne Hathaway).

While its backdrops of Los Angeles and Coachella are miles and worlds away from the scenes of Washington and Buckingham Palace that adorn “Red, White & Royal Blue,” Galitzine says both films contain similar themes to which the actor is often drawn.

“I find people who are trapped by circumstance really interesting,” he said. “People may be thinking they’re one way, but not really sort of knowing their inner qualities and thoughts. I think that’s kind of been a recurring thing I’ve found quite interesting over the years.”

“Red, White & Royal Blue” contains fewer sex scenes than the novel upon which it is based, but that didn’t stop the film from getting an R rating from the Motion Picture Association, frustrating some fans following its release.

Both Galitzine and Perez said they were surprised when they found out about the rating and agreed with critics who said it wasn’t warranted.

“You Americans are very sensitive,” Galitzine observed before his co-star interjected, musing about what he perceives to be a double standard.

“You can point-blank shoot someone and it’s PG-13,” Perez said. “If you have queer romance on screen, it’s rated R.”

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