Red, White & Royal Blue director brilliantly explains why he doesn’t want it called a ‘gay’ film

A still from the infamous cake scene in Red, White and Royal Blue.

Red, White & Royal Blue is set to be the queer romance film of the year, but its director, Matthew López, has explained why it shouldn’t be described as a gay love story.

Based on the cult queer novel of the same name by American author Casey McQuiston, Red, White & Royal Blue follows the enemies-to-lovers story of Alex Claremont-Diaz (The Kissing Booth 2‘s Taylor Zakhar Perez), and Henry Fox-Mountchristen-Windsor (Cinderella’s Nicholas Galitzine).

After originally hating each other’s guts, the pair fall madly and hotly in love.

There’s just one tiny problem: Alex is the son of the first female president of the US, who is up for re-election, while Henry is a British prince.

Their love is star-crossed in an almost Shakespearean way, as they try to work out whether they can be together without the world finding out.

While the tale is very much one of two men in love (and in lust), López does not want it seen as a “gay” romance story.

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Speaking exclusively to PinkNews ahead of the film’s release, López said that audiences shouldn’t forget that Alex is bisexual.

“I sometimes bristle when people say: ‘Oh, it’s two gay men’. Actually, no, it’s one gay man and one bisexual man,” he said.

“They are in love and they are a same-sex couple, yes. [But] as [is written] in the novel, and as in the movie, the B in LGBTQ is not a silent letter. That was really important to me, because it was important to Casey [McQuiston].”

Prince Henry and Alex Claremont Diaz hold hands in Red White & Royal Blue.
Henry (R), played by Nicholas Galitzine, and Alex (Taylor Zakhar Perez) in Red, White & Royal Blue. (Amazon Prime Video)

Bisexual people, who make up a large proportion of the LGBTQ+ community, often find themselves having to bat away tired stereotypes about sexuality, such as that they are “greedy” or simply haven’t yet admitted that they are gay.

While most of the novel focuses on Alex’s latest love, the character does go into detail about being bisexual and his previous relationship with Nora Holleran, the granddaughter of the vice-president.

“One of the thing I thought was really refreshing about the book, is the idea that room can be held for people who desire men and women and the journey that Alex takes,” López said. 

“I really appreciate that in the novel and we’ve kept it in the movie. There is space made for Alex as a bisexual character.”

López also revealed the story of how the character of Amy, a transgender secret service agent, played by trans actor Aneesh Sheth, got her name in the film.

“It was important that we make space for Amy as a character, and when we found Aneesh, I was like: ‘Well, this is who I want to play the role’,” he said.

Although Amy’s surname is “Chen” in the novel, López said that Sheth, who is of Indian descent, could choose her character’s name.

“Aneesh gave me a list of surnames. I picked the one I wanted, but I sent it to Casey who picked the one they wanted. We all agreed on the same one: Amy Gupta.”

Red, White & Royal Blue premieres on Amazon Prime Video on 11 August.