Red, White and Royal Blue leads had "instantaneous" chemistry in audition
Director Matthew Lopez says it took only five minutes on Zoom to realise Taylor Zakhar Perez and Nicholas Galitzine were compatible on-screen partners.
The film adaptation of Red, White and Royal Blue has finally arrived on Prime Video – much to the delight of fans of Casey McQuinton's best-selling romance novel.
As with the book, the movie charts the burgeoning romance between former rivals Alex Claremont-Diaz – the son of the first female President of the United States – and Prince Henry, a member of the British Royal family.
Of course with any romance film, the chemistry between the two leads is of utmost importance, and this is perhaps even more essential when it comes to playing characters who are already so beloved to book readers.
Luckily, fans needn't worry about a lack of chemistry between stars Taylor Zakhar Perez and Nicholas Galitzine in the new film – as director Matthew Lopez has revealed that there was an "instantaneous" connection between the actors when they first met.
“There was a lot of keeping them apart from each other while I looked for my Alex and I looked for my Henry," Lopez said of the casting process during an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com.
"I knew that casting this thing would be crucial and difficult and potentially impossible, and I told my producers that if I didn't find the right actors for it, I wasn't going to make the movie. And then I found Nick. And then I found Taylor. And they were both so perfect for the roles in very different ways."
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But having found his two leads separately, Lopez said that the main test was the chemistry read – and thankfully it didn't take him too long to work out that the pair were going to be compatible screen partners.
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"It very quickly became Taylor and Nick," he said. "Once we got them on a Zoom together – that was the only downside of it, we had to do it on Zoom because we were all in different [places] – within five minutes of the beginning of that chemistry read, we all knew that we had found our Henry and our Alex.
"It was instantaneous. It was really just... quite literal chemistry. I think you could feel the atoms swirling between them. Even though one of them was in New Orleans, and one of them was in LA!”
The fact that they were apart from each other was actually quite fitting – given that in the film much of Alex and Henry's relationship develops over text messages while the pair are in the US and UK respectively.
And Lopez revealed that working out how to stage these texting scenes was one of his biggest challenges as director – and meant he had to count on his extensive experience in the theatre.
"There's nothing more boring than watching two people text on screen," he said. "And I said that we need to figure out how to do this in a way that's interesting.
"And I really relied on my theatre training – in a contemporary play, the audience doesn't ever have any trouble understanding that two people on stage together having a conversation are actually talking on the phone, or actually texting with one another. Theatre has figured out very early on how to deal with technology.
"And I thought to myself, 'Well, why don't we just take that and apply it to film?" The audience is gonna know they're not in the scene together. Even though they're on screen simultaneously and even though they're speaking what should be a text message, the audience is going to understand it.
"And so we built this sequence of them texting and speaking their text messages, and then we had a lot of fun adding a lot of the graphics to it and everything. So it was a big challenge, it was one of the hardest things to figure out and then it became one of the most fun things to pull off in the movie!"
Red, White & Royal Blue is now available to stream on Prime Video. Check out more of our Film coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.
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