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“There are a lot of people who need to see joyful queer stories,” says author Casey McQuiston

Since the film adaptation of Red, white and royal blue started streaming on Prime Video in August 2023, life has been a whirlwind for the author of the original novel Casey McQuiston and director of the film Matthew López. The film was popular with audiences and now a sequel has been announced.

LGBTQ films in general — especially those that center queer joy — haven’t always had an easy time breaking into the cultural zeitgeist, let alone becoming beloved franchises that fans are loudly and unabashedly proud of.

“I still remember stealing Brokeback Mountain from my local Blockbuster and hide it in the bottom drawer of my desk in my childhood bedroom,” McQuiston, who uses these pronouns, told Yahoo Entertainment. “We are lucky that we can tell it to the joyful people [queer stories] because there are a lot of people who need to see that.

López explained that their film’s success came in a year when six of the Oscars nominees were people playing LGBTQ characters, and he appreciates their performances — and Red, white and royal blue calling on all those films that simultaneously show different strange characters from all walks of life.

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“What we’re adding to that is specificity,” he told Yahoo. “There is only one movie in which the Prince of England falls in love with the biracial, bisexual son of the American president. At least I do heap there is only one movie with that story.

Given all the ongoing buzz surrounding the film, it can be difficult to manage the expectations of eager fans, both online and in real life. How do López and McQuiston handle the constant pressure to deliver what readers want, especially in the age of constant social media feedback?

“It’s very simple: I live in London, I’m asleep by the time everyone has had their afternoon coffee, and I’m really good at deleting Instagram from my phone,” López joked. “Everyone should feel lucky that people are clamoring for sequels and that your first film gets a real sense of ownership from the audience. But when it gets to the point where I read articles about my projects far too often, Instagram puts the phone down and I take the dog for a walk, whether he wants to or not.”

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McQuiston has been dealing with non-stop chatter since their novel first came out in 2019.

“It’s so rare to bring a character into the world and see your love for that character reflected,” McQuiston explained of the love readers have shown for Alex Claremont-Diaz and Prince Henry. “I never want the fear of living up to expectations to outweigh my gratitude for it.”

However, the pair will continue to hear fans’ opinions on the franchise for the foreseeable future, as Prime Video announced on May 9 that a Red, white and royal blue The sequel is in the works and McQuiston and López will write it. Taylor Zakhar Perez and Nicholas Galitzine will also reprise their roles as romantic leads Alex and Henry.

McQuiston and López have not revealed plot details, but the author wrote a lengthy bonus chapter for the novel’s collector’s edition in 2022, which serves as an extended epilogue. It could potentially provide source material for the new film.

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McQuiston also said that being involved in the production of the first film certainly changed their work as writers going forward – for the better.

“Sometimes I write something and I think, ‘I’m really upping the budget for whatever movie they’re making.’ And I have to do fewer locations. No more nighttime recordings!’ they joked. “But more seriously, I actually think it’s been really good for me creatively. It has made me a better editor of my own books. It has made me less precious.”

No production or release schedule has been set for the sequel, meaning fans will have to settle for rewatching the original film for now.

As for a scene you should pay more attention to on a rewatch? McQuiston is in favor of anything that benefits the score.

“I have to shout out the bagpipes in the polo scene,” they said. “That piece of music should get more recognition.”

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