I recently binge-listened to the audiobook of Casey McQuiston’s new adult release Red, White and Royal Blue. I rarely use my audible account for fiction, but I couldn’t stand to press pause on this story thanks to the quippy dialogue, pitch-perfect narration and incredibly lovable characters.
Maybe it’s because I aurally experienced this adorable novel about the First Son of the United States falling in love with the Prince of Wales, but I couldn’t stop the fun mind game of casting the characters in my brain. So I decided to bring my headcanon to you lovely Frolic readers today!
A quick note before I begin: if this beautiful book were ever actually adapted for screen, I think it’s really important to try to find gay or bi actors for many of these roles, because there’s a troubled history with straight or cis actors playing LGBTQI characters that could have easily gone to actors who self-identify as part of the LGBTQI community. This article is purely about the “movie in my head” that I pictured as I experienced Alex and Henry’s swoony love story!
Alex: Noah Centineo
I’m unclear about Centineo’s ethnicity, but since he’s the heart throb du jour in many a Netflix comedy and played Jesus on The Fosters, I stopped about half way through the audiobook and said to my husband, “If some casting director doesn’t start pitching an adaptation of this cute-as-hell book with Noah Centineo as the lead, then what even is the point of anything?”
If this became an actual movie, I think Alex could be an amazing role to propel some new actor to Centineo-level status. But as I followed Alex’s antics, I couldn’t stop picturing Centineo knocking it out of the park!
Alex is a character who is headstrong, driven and even obnoxious at times, but he’s also incredibly charming, thoughtful and kind. It’s easy to imagine Centineo getting into heated arguments as Alex, and then flashing his dashing smile to remind us why we love him!
Henry: Jeremy Irvine
Honestly, this is the role I’m least sure about, even though it’s a pretty big one. Why is that? Well, it’s because in my mind Henry is a perfect, pure intellectual cinnamon roll of a prince who is just too good for this world! I’m convinced that there’s not a real-world Adonis who could match the Henry of my dreams. However, when I think of the type of person who would most frequently pop in my head, I would picture someone like Jeremy Irvine.
And yes, Jeremy Irvine is a bit older than Henry, Red, White and Royal Blue’s Prince of Wales. But his sweet turn as “Young Sam” in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again catapulted him to the front of my brain when imagining a real-world HRH Henry.
Irvine has the perfect Henry jawline and swoop-able hair that can look tousled or neat depending on the occasion. More importantly, he’s dashing and seems more than capable of pulling off the poetic, strong character of my new favorite fictional royal (sorry, but move over, Princess Mia of Genovia).
President Ellen Claremont: Connie Britton
I’ll be honest: for a moment–just ONE moment–I pictured Gillian Anderson putting on a Texas accent and dazzling us all as the fictional first woman president, Ellen Claremont. It would be pretty grand.
But then, I shook myself out of it and thought, “No, silly Erin…you know in your heart that Alex’s mom, leader of the free world is definitely Connie Britton.”
Isn’t it just perfect that the fictional first woman in the oval office with her precise political brain, big heart and Texas accent would be portrayed by the actress who won our hearts as Mrs. Coach Tami Taylor?
My imagination runs wild when I picture her sitting in the White House eating pizza with her family and giving Alex firm pep talks during difficult moments.
An added bonus of this fan casting? With Connie Britton in the role, we could rewrite her campaign slogan to “Clear eyes, Claremont, Can’t Lose!”
June: Cierra Ramirez
Okay, okay. This one is kind of an obvious brain connection that I made, because Cierra Ramirez played Mariana on The Fosters, and therefore has already played Noah Centineo’s sister.
Beyond that clear correlation in my brain, I do think Cierra Ramirez (who is now on Freeform’s The Fosters spinoff Good Trouble) has the potential to portray June beautifully. June is a character who knows herself and her needs well, and has a journalistic integrity and quick wit that make her an essential part of Red, White and Royal Blue beyond her role as Alex’s supportive sister. Cierra Ramirez could absolutely bring the balance of sisterly energy with a strong personality of her own that this headcanon of mine needs!
Nora: Hailee Steinfeld
The data nerd after my own heart, Nora is the final third of the White House Trio. She’s analytical and perceptive, and she maintains deep loyalty to her best friends, Alex and June.
In my brain, Nora was a Hailee Steinfeld type. She comes across as fun, sweet, competent and unconcerned with what others think of her. No wonder she became headcanon for me whenever Nora came up in the story!
There are tons of other unique and memorable characters in this book, so I could play the “who would I cast?” game for days. And while I have faith in my vision for what Red, White and Royal Blue would look like if real-world folks were acting it out, there are so many ways to imagine this story.
If you have real-world actors who you think would be the perfect fit for the roles in this book, tweet @onfrolic to let us know! There’s enough room for plenty of creative interpretations!
And if you haven’t yet, may I suggest checking out Red, White and Royal Blue? It quickly made its way to the top of my “faves of 2019 so far” list, and it provides a thoughtfully constructed HEA for the times we live in!