Adaptation Rules for Red, White & Royal Blue

Now that the adaptation of Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston is in motion, I’ve got concerns. Here’s some of my rules for book to movie adaptations.

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Let’s talk the book of the summer… from last year? We all know that Red, White, and Royal Blue hasn’t stopped making waves since it’s release in 2019. Personally, I didn’t hear about it until it got TikTok famous in the summer of 2021. The real tea is that right now, we just found out the casting for the leads of the Red, White, and Royal Blue adaptation. I’m here to talk about a few of the rules that I want filmmakers to follow when they do book to movie adaptations.

Red, White, and Royal Blue

Cover of "Red, White, & Royal Blue" a novel by Casey McQuiston.

Cover Comment: True love isn't always diplomatic

cr. Amazon

adaptation, casey mcquiston, red, white, and royal blue,
cr. Amazon

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston follows two diplomats as they find themselves thrown into a world that they were fully prepared for—just not like this. The golden boy of America, Alex falls in love with his supposed enemy, the actual Prince of Wales, Henry. The feeling is entirely mutual and now the two have to navigate the rocky political waters while also finding out how to love each other.

Look, lovers of the book don’t need a synopsis, and anyone who hasn’t read it yet absolutely needs to pick up a copy immediately. This is a gay romantic comedy that gets harder and harder to put down with each turning page. However, now that we have a confirmed cast for the adaptation, I have concerns. Not about the cast, they did a great job with that, but let’s discuss. Amazon has been holding onto these rights for a long time, so I’m excited to see what they do with it.

Adaptation Rules

Just like in Scream, there’s rules to surviving an adaptation in my opinion. Of course, if you break these rules it doesn’t end in death… it ends in something much, much worse. Angry. Book. Lovers. And trust me when I say, you don’t want to deal with us when we’re angry. Kind of like the Hulk, we’re always prepared for something to go wrong because the majority of us are introverts so we have like ten different escape routes at all times. But, when our favorite books are being adapted into movies, there’s nowhere for us to go. Onto the rules!

You can’t cut the good bits.

Okay, what do I mean by good bits? Let’s break it down. We all know that it’s next to impossible to include everything in the adaptations. And even though what we really want is just a six hour long movie that has absolutely everything from the book down to the final punctuation mark, we aren’t going to get that. So when I say, you can’t cut the good bits, I mean, you have to include the high points and the lows. The parts that we collectively fawned over. The parts we collectively died inside at. The parts where we wanted to throw the book across the room because of the second-hand embarrassment.

Casting is integral to viewers enjoyment.

This one may seem like a “duh” kind of point, but I feel it needs to be said. If there’s diversity in the book’s descriptions of characters, there better be diversity on that silver screen. However, if there isn’t any mention of race, ethnicity, or skin color in the book, I personally feel it’s fair game. The best example I can think of would be Hermione from Harry Potter. There was a whole discourse when a black actress was cast as Hermione in the play? I feel like just because the default is a white presenting person, that doesn’t need to be the default for on screen… but maybe that’s a hot take.

Spicy scenes…

I have to mention it, especially when in discussion about a gay romance, spicy scenes should be included. Do I think that they should adhere to the rating guidelines set ahead by the movie people? Obviously. But I also think that when it comes to spicy scenes, producers and writers often water these things down more than necessary. Sex is a normal human function, so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me when we make it a stigmatized subject (but we’re not going to get into that today).

I’m sure that there’s more adaptation rules that movie makers need to follow to be the best filmmakers they can be for us bookish people. Let’s be real about it, we all want the best so I’m hoping that the Red, White, and Royal Blue adaptation will live up to all the hype that I’ve put up in my head.

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