Enemies to lovers with international political stakes is the theme of Casey McQuiston’s best-selling novel “Red, White, and Royal Blue.” The romantic comedy follows the President of the United States’ son, Alex Claremont-Diaz, and the prince of a fictionalized UK Royal Family, Henry. The two boys begin the story as political nemeses, which ultimately causes a media frenzy when they get into a public squabble. This leads to the two powerful families and governments constructing a publicity stunt to reconcile them in the public’s eye as best friends. The foe friendship forces them together time and time again until more starts to come from their P.R. stunt.
Earlier this year, Amazon Studios picked up the project with award-winning playwright and screenwriter Matthew Lopez set to direct as his debut feature. Lopez is best known for his play “The Inheritance” which premiered in London in 2018 and had a Broadway run a year later, which earned him a Tony Award.
At the start of June/Pride Month, Amazon Studios released the casting news for the anticipated film adaption of the beloved novel. Actor Taylor Zakhar Perez, best known for his role as Marco in “The Kissing Booth” movies, is set to play Alex. Prince Henry will be played by Nicholas Galitzine, who has appeared in several projects over the past few years, but most notably the 2021 “Cinderella” film where he already appeared as royalty. Alex’s mother and the President of the United States will be portrayed by renowned actress Uma Thurman. Additional members of the cast have been announced including Stephen Fry, Clifton Craig Collins Jr., Sarah Shahi, Ellie Bamber, Aneesh Sheth and more.
When the “Red, White, and Royal Blue” novel was initially released, it quickly went viral, becoming a New York Times bestseller and gaining a dedicated fanbase. Readers have been eager to see this story brought to the big screen ever since. The novel, written in a pre-Trumpian world, tells an idealist story of an alternate universe in America. The book can be seen by some as escapism and others as downright unrealistic. It was released in 2019 and takes place in the near future of 2020 when Alex’s mom is up for re-election, continuing to create an idealistic world absent of the intense political and social turmoil in which we all lived through. However, reading the book three years later can make some readers unable to connect with the world of the book because of the stark contrast between the book’s reality and our own. It will be interesting to see how the film deals with the timeline and if it will stay solely in the alternate universe, which is far from our reality or if it will bring more realism into it.
The book contains many iconic scenes that could translate well on film. Some fan favorites include a New Year’s Eve kiss, a slumber party with a turkey, sunsets and swimming in a Texas creek, karaoke with Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” and many more. The book is filled with quick, witty and charming dialogue that hopefully, the film will keep intact. However, most of the banter comes in the form of text messages or secretive emails throughout the novel, which may be challenging to translate to film. The novel sits in a place where, depending on how the reader perceives it, it can be very cheesy and implausible. This film adaptation will walk the same fine line of treading closely to something corny that might not be taken seriously. The story at its core is a powerful one that could be very impactful if the film is successful in bringing it to life.
Deadline announced that production on the film has begun in the UK. There is not yet a release date for the project, but will be available to stream on Amazon Prime Video upon its release.